Cat is a singer and fiddle player, but is best known on the folk scene as being a ceilidh caller (under her maiden name Cat Kelly) and organiser of Oxford’s community folk festival. (folkweekendoxford.co.uk)
Cat has been working behind the scenes at festivals since 2007, organising volunteers and youth outreach projects for Oxford Folk Festival, before going on to take charge of the new venture ‘Folk Weekend: Oxford’ in 2012, after Oxford Folk Festival folded.
Cat has been running Folk Weekend: Oxford for the last eight years, including taking the whole festival online with four weeks notice in 2020 when lockdown was announced, and producing 49 live online shows over 4 days. This was so well received by audience members and artists alike that Cat decided to continue running online concerts for as long as there was a demand for them. Since the beginning of lockdown the concerts have paid out around £60k to our performers (most of whom have no other gigs this year), plus more to sound engineers, freelance arts administrators and so on.
Cat has published two books: Me, the Boy, and The Monster: Exploring the psychology of adoption and trauma and Adopting a Musical Approach, along with an album of the same name containing fourteen songs written especially to help families with children who have experienced the care system. Cat is in the process of applying for a PhD to start in 2021 which will continue this work.
Before covid Cat worked as a community musician, specialising in working with children with special needs and disabilities. Cat has run a number of Arts Council funded projects in Oxfordshire, as well as working for the charity Music for Autism in special schools up and down the country. Cat has presented at conferences including the English Folk Dance and Song Society’s ‘Inclusive Folk’ conference, and twice for Oxford Brookes’ PGCE cohort at their annual inclusion conference.
Cat was diagnosed autistic at the age of 37 and is passionate about raising awareness for other women who may have gone undiagnosed for most of their lives.