Fringe benefits

3rd January 2017

News, Student news, Alumni news

After winning the 'Best Acapella Group’ award at the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe festival, Oxford Belles Vice President Lea Kambskard-Bennett (French and Linguistics, 2014) reports on her experience.

  • The Oxford Belles with Lea, front row, second from the right

    The Oxford Belles with Lea, front row, second from the right

  • With their award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

    With their award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

  • The Oxford Belles Edinburgh flyer

    The Oxford Belles Edinburgh flyer

“I was lucky enough to be awarded the Vicky Philo Travel grant, which I used to go towards funding my acapella group, The Oxford Belles, performing at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2016.

The Oxford Belles is Oxford's original all-female acapella group. I joined in my first year (October 2015), and became vice-president last year. I love singing in the Belles, and what better way to end the year than performing at the biggest arts festival in the world.

The start of the academic year saw a big changeover in the group, a lot of new faces, and a lot of work ahead of us. After hundreds of hours of rehearsals, countless gigs in Oxford (plus featuring on BBC South News!), and an awful lot of fundraising, promotion and admin later, we had got the group up to a really impressive standard and we were ready for the Fringe.

Every morning was spent eagerly ‘flyering’, busking and frantically promoting ourselves around Edinburgh. Our show, Blame it on the Belles, was a 45 minute fabulous mix of musical numbers based on a theme of female empowerment, be that girl power anthems or taking a song from a top male artist and making it infinitely better.

After a knackering twelve days of singing and promotion we must surely have come close to how Beyonce herself feels after a world tour. And if performing at the festival itself wasn't enough of a privilege, we even won an award for 'Best Acapella Group' at the Fringe 2016, the cherry on top of a fantastic few weeks. We'd worked so hard over the year to make the Fringe trip happen (thank you so much for the Vicky Philo grant!), to have our achievements recognised on an international stage is something I am very proud of."

Play The Belles in action