After an extensive recruitment process, English Folk Expo is delighted to welcome three new Trustees to the charity.
EFEx Chief Executive, Tom Besford said, ‘we were humbled and overwhelmed by the number of fantastic applicants keen to join our growing charity. The appointments of Katy, Louisa and Jo bring valuable additional networks and experiences to the Board of Trustees as well as furthering our commitment to diversify the charity’s organisational leadership.’
Katy Rose Bennett
Katy Rose Bennett is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer and arranger. She has been creating her earthy, intimate folk music for over 20 years, telling stories of love, despair, connection and community. She empowers audiences to be emotionally open by sharing the strength in vulnerability, through the vessel of song. She has released seven albums of original songs in her career to date – her most recent described on BBC Radio 2 as “Fascinating stuff…a sort of folk-meets-Laurie Anderson”. She has toured the UK and beyond as a soloist and in numerous ensembles.
Katy was born in Oxfordshire but has been based in Birmingham for 20 years. As well as gigging regularly, she leads community choirs and songwriting workshops, she composes for others including cross-artform collaborations and she is a trained music therapist. She has experience of working as a musician in schools, prisons, hospitals and community settings and especially loves bringing people together through simging. In 2019, she co-founded In Her Shoes, a community interest company supporting women and girls across the Midlands. Spurred on by her own lived experiences, she is an active advocate of LGBTQ and disability rights.
Louisa Davies is an arts professional of over 20 years’ experience, currently in the role of Senior Producer for the Birmingham 2022 Festival, contributing to the curatorial vision for this six-month regional arts festival taking place alongside the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Prior to this role, Louisa worked in Stratford-upon-Avon for five years in two roles, firstly as Events Manager at the Royal Shakespeare Company, where she was responsible for a public and off-stage programme that incorporated everything from family activities, workshops, debates through to large-scale outdoor commissions and town-wide collaborations. She also programmed music, with a focus on contemporary songwriting, into the company’s theatre spaces from 200 – 1,000 seats. Latterly she was Head of Creative Programme at Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, where amongst other things she commissioned Nancy Kerr to write a set of new songs to celebrate and mark a key anniversary for the town.
Louisa has also worked as an independent creative producer on a range of projects incorporating theatre, digital, spoken word, outdoor arts and folk music, working with Will Pound, Benji Kirkpatrick and Warwick Folk Festival.
In her spare time, she is a semi-professional folk musician, often playing for ceilidhs and is an MC at Shrewsbury and Sidmouth Folk Festivals. She is also a board member of Birmingham-based theatre company The Bone Ensemble.
Jo Frost has over 30 years experience in the music industry working as a music journalist, consultant and curator. Formerly editor of Songlines magazine, Jo has a passion for music’s power to connect people from around the world. Over the years she has built an extensive network of contacts worldwide and participated at numerous international festivals, conferences and showcase events including WOMEX, Showcase Scotland, Babel Med, Mundial Montréal, Folkelarm, Atlantic Music Expo and the Dakar Music Expo in Senegal.
An internationally respected authority on music from around the world, Jo spent almost two decades working at Songlines and was instrumental in establishing the magazine’s global reputation. In September 2021 Jo decided to pursue new projects and interests and is now working as a freelance journalist and consultant.