The Northern Festivals Network, a group of seven greenfield music festivals who work together to promote high quality family arts, have come to the end of a three year period of Arts Council Funding. During this period they have worked with 35 different artistic companies and offered over 626 days of employment for artists.
The seven festivals that make up the network — Just So, Bluedot, Kendal Calling, Head For The Hills, Festival Number 6, Underneath The Stars and Cloudspotting — came together five years ago. With the help of Arts Council England strategic funding, they have worked to create an environment where a wide range of high quality outdoor family arts can thrive. Specific areas of focus for the network were the co-commissioning of work, improving accessibility and sustainability at the festivals, and creating opportunities for knowledge sharing.
Over the last three years the network has run several innovative programs. They collaborated with Creative Tourist, a leading listing website, to create an online platform for promoting family arts in the North. They commissioned two £10,000 artworks by D/deaf and disabled artists which, between them, had seven touring dates with an equivalent cost of £14,000. They have also represented northern festivals at industry events, including international events like the Weiwuyang Festival in Taiwan.
Sarah Bird, joint founder of Just So Festival and spokesperson for the Northern Festivals Network, said “Collaborating like this has been revolutionary. Beyond the financial and logistical benefits that come from pooling opportunities and resources, being part of the Northern Festivals Network has strengthened the relationships between different Northern events. We’ve been able to make bold choices that have impacted the festival arts sector across the whole region. Our collective success have improved every individual festival, creating better, more accessible, more meaningful experiences for our entire audience. We’ve done brilliant work, and we’re excited to continue this fruitful collaboration in the coming years.”
More information about the Northern Festival Network can be found here.