Underneath the Stars cleaned up at the National Outdoor Events Association’s (NOEA) – the UKs leading outdoor events and trade association – glittering awards ceremony at the Roman Bath Pump Rooms, Bath. Winning both the Small Festival of the Year category and the Judges Award, Underneath the Stars were praised for their community focus and spirit.
It’s great recognition for the family-run festival and production team behind folk artist Kate Rusby, in a hotly contested category. This small but perfectly formed festival broke all records this summer when over 4,000 festival goers each day enjoyed a packed line-up of 53 music and performance artists. Headliners the Proclaimers, Billy Bragg, Kate Rusby, The Unthanks, Hope & Social, and Le Vent du Nord and, fresh from filming the Christmas episode of Gavin & Stacey¸ Ruth Jones in Conversation, wowed the crowds in a cosy corner of Cinderhill Farm, Cawthorne, Barnsley.
Tom Clements, President of NOEA said: “Once again, the awards have picked out some of the biggest names, and some of the hidden gems, that this great industry seems to bring up every single year. It was a brilliant night, and every winner should be justly proud of their achievements.”
Underneath the Stars Festival is a not-for-profit community interest venture with inclusivity and community at its heart. The team enjoyed a third celebration this week when the festival gained an Attitude is Everything Silver Charter Award.
Attitudes is Everything is a disability-led charity supporting non-profit and commercial organisations to make what they do more accessible and inclusive for Deaf and disabled people. Its Charter improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry.
Festival director Emma Holling said: “What a great week we’ve had for Underneath the Stars Festival winning the NOEA small festival category, receiving the NOEA Judges Award and achieving the Silver standard for the Attitude is Everything Charter. As a family of musicians and involved in the music industry, we are true believers in the power of live music. It is really important that we can share this experience, with as many people as possible, regardless of age, gender or ability.
“Achieving Silver status is fantastic recognition of our commitment to this. Gaining the Small Festival of the Year award is testament to the hard work, commitment and sheer joy that we have bringing this hugely inclusive Festival together. We are well on the way with our planning for an even bigger and 2020 Underneath the Stars festival and we’ll be announcing details of the line up very soon.”
All profits from UTSf are fed-back back into the next event and invested in the programming, making the site more accessible for those who identify as Deaf or disabled, inviting families who could not otherwise afford to attend and hosting training workshops. It works in partnership with a range of local businesses, community and social enterprises and is celebrated for its welcoming atmosphere and prides itself on providing a warm, inclusive and unique experience for festival goers of all ages, putting particular emphasis on ensuring a world-class experience for families and people with access needs.
Paul Hawkins, Festival and Volunteering Manager, Attitude is Everything, said: “We are delighted to welcome Underneath the Stars onto the Charter of Best Practice at silver. The festival has shown a clear commitment to welcoming Deaf and disabled customers including providing an accessible campsite with accessible showers, toilet and water points, a mobile Changing Places™ Unit for customers who cannot use standard accessible toilets and clear and comprehensive web information and signage onsite. We are really impressed by the work Underneath the Stars has done to date and look forward to them pushing for gold on the Charter.”
For audiences who identify as Deaf and disabled, access provision includes a seated main stage tent, access campsite and parking. Personal assistant passes are available and a dedicated access and safeguarding officer who is on site and in advance of the festival to oversee requirements. Mobiloos, complete with accessible toilet, hoist, full-size changing tables, and shower facility make the festival accessible for people with disabilities. Young festival goers are fully catered for with initiatives including under sevens attending the festival for free, a wide range of family entertainment including arts, crafts, circus and storytelling workshops, and facilities including a boobs and bums tent for feeding and changing babies.