More Than Just Music

The Grey Dog Festival is about more than just music it is about sampling and taking part in workshops and activities that promote coping skill and strategies to develop good mental health


Poetry Prescibed (Poetry Writing Workshop)

Poetry Prescribed deliver therapeutic workshops promoting poetry as a self healing tool, and an effective way to manage mental health and wellbeing. 

Poetry has the ability to inspire thought, expression and creativity. We believe that through poetry we can connect to self, others, and our communities. 

The only requirements for attending this workshop is an open mind, and a willingness to explore your own creativity. 

We look forward to prescribing you poetry!

'How to Bounce Back from Anything - Your Resilience Superpower'

This workshop will be available for young people and again as a later (slightly adapted) session for adults and carers

There is a simple way to get back to our innate resilience, one which takes a lot less ‘doing’ and therefore is less energetic than trying to change our thinking state. 

In this workshop, Damian will show you how you already have what you need to get back to your default state and the simple and profound way to access this 'superpower'.  

Damian is the author of the best-selling and highly acclaimed book: Do Nothing! Stop Looking, Start Living - and helps anyone who feels stuck in their life to break free of their own thinking by understanding the nature of thought and how we can go beyond this thinking to the innate resilience and infinite potential which lies within us all. 

He delivers this workshop for a wide range of audiences, from school children to CEOs of multi-million-pound companies. 

Damian has featured on the BBC, delivered a TEDx talk, spoken at Alternatives and shared the stage with the likes of Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak.

Nutrition for Good Mental Health

There is an incredibly strong link between how we feel and the food we eat.  Yes, it’s about ensuring that we eat in a well balanced way, but did you realise that certain foods can actually boost mood?  Yet, on the other hand there are also foods that can contribute to low mood.

How do we know which are helpful and supportive to our mental health and which are detrimental?  

Come along to my talk and find out more.  I will also be exploring the link between when we eat and how we eat and the role that this has on our feelings of well-being. 

 I will be around after the talk for questions or if you want to know more.

Gayle Merchant Registered Nutritional Therapist

Mindfulness Taster Session

It can be easy to rush through life without stopping to notice much. Paying more attention to the present moment – to your own thoughts and feelings, and to the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. Some people call this awareness "mindfulness". 

Mindfulness can help us enjoy life more and understand ourselves better. You can take steps to develop it in your own life. 

What is mindfulness? 

Mindfulness means knowing directly what is going on inside and outside ourselves, moment by moment. It's easy to lose touch with the way our bodies are feeling and to end up living 'in our heads' – caught up in our thoughts without stopping to notice how those thoughts are driving our emotions and behaviour. Mindfulness is reconnecting with our bodies and the sensations they experience, waking up to the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the present moment. That might be something as simple as the feel of a banister as we walk upstairs. 

Another important part of mindfulness is an awareness of our thoughts and feelings as they happen moment to moment.  It's about allowing ourselves to see the present moment clearly. When we do that, it can positively change the way we see ourselves and our lives. 

How mindfulness helps mental wellbeing.

Becoming more aware of the present moment can help us enjoy the world around us more and understand ourselves better. When we become more aware of the present moment, we begin to experience afresh things that we have been taking for granted.  Mindfulness allows us to become more aware of the stream of thoughts and feelings that we experienceand to see how we can become entangled in that stream in ways that are not helpful. This allows us stand back from our thoughts and start to see their patterns. Gradually, we can train ourselves to notice when our thoughts are taking over and realise that thoughts are simply 'mental events' that do not have to control us.  Awareness of this kind also helps us notice signs of stress or anxiety earlier and helps us deal with them better. 

Tai Chi

So What is Tai Chi?  

Tai Chi is a complete whole-body exercise which can be practiced anywhere, anytime, with no need for special equipment or a change of clothing. Tai Chi has been practiced by millions of people over the centuries and scientific research has proven it to be helpful to the health of the body. 

 During Tai Chi practice, the muscles and tendons are alternately stretching and relaxing. That makes them flexible and the joints become looser. The looser joints allow blood to flow around the body more easily and improve blood circulation. With good circulation, the body will heal and rejuvenate itself naturally. More than blood circulation is improved: the lymphatic, nervous and digestive systems run better as well.   

Regular Tai Chi practice has been found to help reverse the physical effects of stress as well as restore harmony both physically and mentally.   

Physical benefits:   Improved flexibility, balance, immune function, cardiovascular function and motor coordination.         Reduction in pain and tension.  Better sleep patterns and increased energy.

     Mental benefits:  Reduced stress and anxiety, increased ability to relax, better concentration and focus, and an enhanced sense of well-being.    

One of the reasons that people feel so good when they are doing Tai Chi is that the movements are relaxing, even at the beginner level. This is because the nature of the movements tends to naturally stretch the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in a gentle manner.  

  Many other activities give the benefits of stretching, but in Tai Chi stretching involves the entire body, not just arms or limbs or other segments. The more a practitioner can connect the whole body in his or her practice, the more relaxation can be implemented.    

Tai Chi exercise allows the body to rejuvenate itself naturally.

Egyptian Yoga

Egyptian Smai Tawi Yoga. A moving meditation  creating a state of relaxed alertness,  physical wellbeing and inner strength

The will be a screening of the film "1 in 4"

1 in 4 is a film project produced by Picture the Difference an organisation working with people with additional needs.   In addition to the film screening there will be an introductoey talk about the films and the organisation and a 10 minute beghnd the scenes documentary about the making of the film.

This is a Festival For All Young People

Mental illness does not discriminate and neither do we.  We want the festival to cater for all ages from toddler to university graduate.  Therefore we have a range of activities for the youngest members of your family too.

Children's Activities

Balloon Modelling

Just-Party will be providing experienced balloon modellers that can create amazing things with balloons - Dogs, giraffes, swords, crowns, flowers and more.

Face Painting

artistic face painters will transform the faces into  - tigers, princesses, superheros, and more. 

Just-Party only use face paints that been designed for professional use and comply with FDA/EU cosmetic regulations

Character Visits

We have two visitors coming along to help entertain and amuse the kids.

Rapunzel will be showing of her skills at balloon modelling (who knew?  That wasn't in the book!)   Our main guest who will be joining in all the fun and enjoying having his photo taken is one of the Minions!!!

Kid's Song Sing a Long

Adam Harilaou will be singing some of your favourite kids movie classics.  He will be encouraging our younger visitors (and their grown ups) to dance and sing along.   Who knows maybe a minion might turn up and join in!!!