Kirklees music festivals: response to COVID-19 and plans for the future

Ukulele Festival

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As more and more events and festivals are cancelled due to COVID-19, the Music Festivals Group is focusing on ways to safeguard the sector and find ways to keep audiences engaged, while looking ahead to 2021.

As of early May, all the music festivals represented on the Music Festivals Group have reluctantly been cancelled or postponed for 2020. The exception to date is the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival which runs in November; they will review their position in the summer.

The festivals contribute significantly to the economic and cultural life of their local communities and the Kirklees district. The festival organisers are determined to ensure that the vital local impact of music festivals continues to flourish in spite of the current situation, and that they are able to return and provide live music in 2021.

Marsden Jazz Festival

“We are working to maintain the operation of music festivals and to ensure their future resilience”, said Chair Kathy Aveyard for the Music Festivals Group.

“The Festivals Group is looking forward to 2021 and beyond, and to providing the best festival experience to our audiences.  We are strengthening our partnership by creating plans that will help our festivals thrive and become more sustainable. Whilst we have already started to collaborate on recycling and waste minimisation initiatives, other areas currently being developed include marketing, audience development, traffic management, and delivering a bold and vibrant programme for the Kirklees Year of Music initiative planned for 2023.

Cllr Rob Walker (Kirklees Council Cabinet Member for Culture and Environment) said “Music festivals have been part of the fabric of Kirklees’ cultural and music offer as far back as the establishment of the Mrs Sunderland Festival in 1889. They bring a diversity of music genres and national and international artists to the district as well as providing opportunities for local musicians to perform and contributing to the wellbeing of the community by enabling the enjoyment, participation and sharing of live music with others. These important cultural events help to promote the district regionally, nationally, and internationally”

Kathy also said “The Festivals Group is committed to continuing to do what we can to support artists and freelance workers in the cultural and creative industries at this difficult time – from looking at how we can curate and deliver events online to the launch of new commissioning schemes. Please see individual festival websites for further information”.

Shepley Spring Festival (May)

Holmfirth Folk Festival (May)

Sun Up Festival (May)

Huddersfield Carnival (June)

Cleckheaton Folk Festival (July)

Grand Northern Ukulele Festival (June)

Marsden Jazz Festival (October)

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (November)

University of Huddersfield Students Union


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