Summer fun for The Rig

We have had the most incredible summer! Here’s what we’ve been up to…

Festivals and Family Days

The summer kicked off with two brilliant family days- the Crawley Festival on 28th June and the Village Green Festival on 13th July.

We then went to WOMAD at the end of July – which has been a firm fixture in The Rig calendar for the last 5 years – and set up camp in the kids field. As usual there were some amazing outfits – check out the octopus playing the Pixie Rig!

We were also at the Smithfield Street Party on August bank holiday and finished our summer festival season of at the End of the Road festival at Larmer Tree Gardens.

Rig Makeover

We were very thankful to get funding from Arts Council England for some of our projects this summer which has included giving the Rig a little makeover! Amy and Marianne took a couple of days in August to add some additions to the Rig and make it look sparkly again!

Great Ormond Street Hospital

A summer highlight was spending the day with the patients and families at Great Ormond Street Hospital. We made shakers and explored the Rig… and a very cute family of mice was even made!

What’s next?

Keep your eyes peeled for our next Rig adventures. Our next event is 5th and 6th October 2019 at English Heritage site Wrest Park where we will be set up alongside a food festival!

You can keep up to date via the events listing on our website and via our various social media platforms.

The Rig at BBC Music Day

We went to St Austell in Cornwall for 36 glorious sun filled hours to be part of the epicentre for the national event, BBC Music Day.

Here we are talking on the local news

Here we are in the Cornish Guardian

We totally fell in love with Cornwall and the Cornish people and did not want to come back. We are making plans for visiting again, perhaps a summer retreat…. ;0)

As well as having a wonderful time for BBC Music Day and jamming with lots of lovely people in St Austell, we also managed Cornish bingo: Cornish pasty, cream tea (jam on first), cider and local fish pie. Yum!


BBC Ten Pieces tour at Stephen Hawking School

As part of our schools tours we always make sure we work with some non mainstream pupils. In the past we have been to Great Ormond Street Hospital and Willow Dene and this time we were lucky enough to visit The Stephen Hawking School in East London. This school was suggested to us by our friend Hannah who used to work there, thanks Hannah! This school caters for primary school children with severe learning difficulties and well, needless to say, the work they do there is amazing. We were blown away by the care that goes on there. Each child is lovingly nurtured and encouraged in their own development. For the day we were there we did open play sessions with the children and played them some of the Ten Pieces by singing the pieces down the telephone rig or playing tunes on the bells.

the_rig_workshop_240415_003 the_rig_workshop_240415_036 the_rig_workshop_240415_055

The children loved playing with the different aspects of The Rig, I think the cutlery windchime was the most popular, even being played with feet by children that couldn’t use their arms. There were some great samba grooves going on and we all got dancing at one point, loads of fun!

the_rig_workshop_240415_068 the_rig_workshop_240415_082 the_rig_workshop_240415_092

We loved working with the children and very much hope we can go back there! It’s an amazing school with wonderful staff. If you would like to know anything else about the school, please visit their website here:

the_rig_workshop_240415_105 the_rig_workshop_240415_132 the_rig_workshop_240415_153

Photos taken by Steve Foster at Stephen Hawking School and with grateful thanks to the parents and carers that let us use these photos.

Launch of the new Mini Rigs – The Mini Rigs Collection

The Mini Rigs Collection: what every Rig should be wearing this season.

May we present our four new Mini Rigs!
1. The Water Gong and Victorian Tin Bath Mini Rig
2. The Rhythm Mini Rig
3. The Telephone Mini Rig
4. The Bells, The Bells!!!
These 4 new Mini Rigs were generously funded by the fabulous people at Arts Council England to help us develop The Rig to be accessible to all.  We designed the Mini Rigs so they can be played by wheelchair users and small children and have tried to cater for people with differing disabilities, for example creating booklets with large print, braille, and pictures with describing words. We have created drum beaters that have foam handles and have one Mini Rig (The Bells, The Bells!!!) which can be played with your hands for those with limited motor co-ordination. We have a small metal bucket version of the Victorian Tin Bath which can be lifted into the lap, and we can unscrew the blue buckets from the side of The Rhythm Rig to be placed on the laps of those in wheelchairs.
On our Bells Mini Rig, the notes on the sheet music matches the colour of each bell so you can just play your ‘colour’ if you don’t read music. We have also numbered the coloured bells to help those with colour blindness.
The Rhythm Rig
We have once again tried to get some sciency bits in, ‘sneaky education’ styleee as Becky likes to call it, by having booklets about sound waves and the science behind how we hear, as factoids for people to tell each other through the Telephone Mini Rig. Our new Water Gong Mini Rig shows how sound waves travel in water and our Victorian Tin Bath shows how sound travels and amplifies in metal.
Last but definitely not least we have The Rhythm Mini Rig as a good ‘ole bang along bit, cos every Rig should have a blue drum!
We dare you not to learn something from this!!
Many thanks to Marie-Cecile Embleton for superb photos as always and exceptionally quick editing. To Stefan Cuthbert Baker and Clare Louise Greenaway for the loan of the studio lights. A big shout out to Mick Simmons for helping us with this project and for being on the receiving end of many a phone call that goes something like, “Can we use yacht varnish on stainless steel to make it scratch proof” at 8.30am in the morning. Suzanne Bull and Gideon from disability charity Attitude is Everything for all their friendly help, advice and education. Our Occupational Therapist friend, Tai Frater for her help and advice. Ray at Sunshine International Arts for being so lovely and hiring out his studio for the photoshoot. Our flatmates for putting up with us turning our houses into Rig workshops over the last three weeks and all our other amazing friends and family for all their help and encouragement. We hope you all get to come and play on the Mini Rigs very soon!
The Bells, The Bells!!!
Lastly, people have asked us if making The Rig suitable for wheelchair users and those with disabilities is the way we are going forward with this project i.e turn it exclusively into a music disability project and the short answer is no.
We believe that music (and life) should be accessible for all and it is society that needs to change to allow those with disabilities to interact as easily as those without disabilities do. This is called the Social Model of Disability and we suggest you have a quick Google of this concept. This is something we have learnt about during our journey and by making our Mini Rigs accessible for all, we are taking our own small steps in improving our social world. We welcome any suggestions on how we can improve what we have already done.

If you would like any information on The Rig or how you can go about making your own unique projects suitable for those with disabilities etc, please do get in touch, we are much more ‘copyleft’ than ‘copyright’ type people, so please, do contact us and we’d be very happy to chat to you and share our learning.

Ducks in water







Becky’s cat, Tane, helping in the making of The Rig

Helping is quite a strong term, but Becky’s fluffy Siberian Winter Cat, called Tane, kept playing hide and seek under the bed frame of The Rig which we spray painted black last summer. When you don’t realise a cat is under the dust sheets and then it suddenly starts moving and meowing, it takes you by surprise!

It goes without saying that Becky is a bit embarrassed about her ‘cat conversations’ but the cute factor overrode her pride, so please enjoy it at her expense.