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Freedom of Mind Festival 2018 is HERE! But day seven marks the end to the festivities! We celebrated with a Music and Dance Taster Session and Boxing for Wellbeing with Empire Fighting Chance.

Missed the events?

Check out our thoughts on how they went…

Evan’s Experience at Boxing for Wellbeing

I was particularly excited for the boxing taster session at Empire Fighting Chance as I have always wanted to try out boxing but felt like it was a daunting hobby to take up on my own. By the end of the session I was feeling extremely motivated, energised and wanting to take another class (if not ever so slightly sweaty too)!

The session started with Martin and Courtney from Empire Fighting Chance telling us a bit about the history of the organisation, their roles within it and their current day-to-day activities. Their man goal is to fight the impact of deprivation on young people’s lives through non-contact boxing. They provide support- both on and off the gym for young people to realise their unique potential. I found their work and story truly admirable and powerful. They also recognised the benefits of boxing to these children’s mental health as well as behaviour in school.

After the introduction, it was time to put the gloves on.

Well, not till we warmed up first of course!

We started with a set of skipping exercises with minute intervals for rest. During this, Courtney told us how they would train the young people with these warm up exercises by setting themselves motivational goals with the number of skips they could do. This is meant to help them push themselves- preventing them from being discouraged and giving them a sense of achievement.

Last but not least, we got to put the gloves on! They taught us the proper starting position and gave us tips on how we should execute our punches. We put these tips into practice by doing some circuit training with the boxing bags.

It was exhausting but extremely fun and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a fun way to get fit!

Anna’s Experience at The Music and Dance Tasters

On Friday evening we bid farewell to Freedom of Mind festival for another year, and we decided to go out with a bang-literally!

Our music and dance taster event was an opportunity for our guests to release their inhibitions, shake off the cobwebs and connect through invigorating activities. As we began the evening in a cosy room in Hamilton House, we were treated to an exciting, pumping drum performance by Ilu Axé, an Afro-Brazilian percussion, song and dance group based in Bristol.

We then descended into what Mark Allen aptly described as ‘organised chaos’, with half of the group trying their hand at playing some funky samba rhythms on the drums and the other half blending some beautiful vocal harmonies in ‘When I’m Sixty Four’ with Riff Raff choir. I chose drumming, and while I can’t say I have the sharpest sense of rhythm, I did have a lot of fun whacking the drum and listening to the different layers weaving together. The groups then switched with singers drumming, and drummers dancing- learning a fast paced, energetic samba dance routine with Adele from Sambazinhas.

Once both groups had perfected their routines, we all came together for a dazzling shared performance!

It was wonderful to be performing alongside everyone, moving as one to the beat. It was a magical way to close the festival, and embodied the essence of Freedom of Mind – community, expression, wellbeing and fun.

And so wraps up Freedom of Mind Festival 2018! Look out for our final wrap up on the whole festival, and keep your eyes peeled for exciting things over the next year or so.

But for now…

See you next time!


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