Town has a WOW! moment

THE co-host of Rotherham’s first Women of the World Festival said she had so many favourite moments to remember that it was hard to choose just one.

The WOW Festival at Clifton Park last weekend aimed to inspire women, girls and non-binary people through workshops, debates, performances and speakers.

Helen Jones, director of Flux Rotherham which co-hosted the event, said: “There are so many amazing moments from the WOW Festival it is really hard to pick one, so I’m going for a few — from women and girls of all ages dancing together in a silent disco in a beautiful tipi, to Hazel, who is 80, giving three drag queens a dance-off at the end party, to tears shared at serious subjects and calls to action in the main tent and, most of all, the connections made and conversations shared.

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“WOW Rotherham is the first outdoor WOW festival and Clifton Park really gave us all the feels this weekend — what a gorgeous setting.

“I absolutely loved seeing women arrive in their handmade capes and look for their portraits created with artist Emma Wilson on the stunning flags which adorned the site.”

Natalie Walton, director of event management company HATCH, said: “I was brought in to WOW Rotherham to support the community producers to develop WOW Rotherham.

“This was my first experience of working in the area, and I was blown away by the dedication and commitment the team have given to making this happen.

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“The producers were adamant there should be something for everyone and I think they achieved it.

“My highlight was the diversity of speakers on the main stage, from international theatre producers to local activists and community workers.”

Sithule Mguni, a producer for the festival, said she had been amazed by all the positive feedback and especially enjoyed a speed mentoring session and “when everyone was dancing at the final event”.

Community producer Noor Salih said a performance by the band Skint Knees had impressed her, while colleague Amy Winder called it “the best introduction in the world” to Rotherham.

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“I think my favourite moment was hosting one of the local conversations events in the tipi,” she said.

“It was an amazing chance to hear the experiences of a group of amazing women of colour, and to learn about how I can do better about being actively anti-racist.

“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet and spend time so many different people who are doing incredible things for their communities.”

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