2022 festival plans, Both Sides Now Leaders Network, IBMA Awards

Hey friends,

I wanted to share a quick update with you as things have been a little quiet on the website since our July online festival.  I remain cautious in my approach to the pandemic, and spring/ summer 2022 is my target date for reviving True North Music’s real-life gigs and artist tours. I’m planning to host a one-day real-life Americana & Bluegrass festival (after we sadly had to cancel plans in 2020) and I’m putting together a funding application to help us make it a big success next summer. At the moment we’re planning for Saturday 25th June 2022 in Meltham, with several excellent bands and some fun participatory workshops. Please save the date, and stay tuned for more news in the coming months! I’ve also been talking to the team at Kirklees Year of Music 2023 and attended the launch event in September. I’m looking forward to getting involved with that initiative both in 2023 and in the build-up….exciting times ahead!

Some of you may have seen in my last blog that I was a 2021 finalist nominee for the International Bluegrass Music Association‘s Industry Involvement Momentum Award. In the end it was won by Kara Kundert, who does amazing work on inclusivity and diversity in roots music with Bluegrass Pride. Kara also writes for No Depression magazine, and has just taken up a new role at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She’s an incredibly impressive person and a worthy winner, so I was very happy just to get to the final shortlist in that company! One of the bands I’m working with, the brilliant Stillhouse Junkies from Colorado, won the IBMA Momentum Band of the Year Award, so there was much excitement in our house as we watched the ceremony online.

I was also thrilled to recently be awarded a place on the 2021-22 Both Sides Now Leaders Network programme, organised by Manchester music charity Brighter Sound and funded by Arts Council England. This year’s leadership development programme brings together 12 women working in music (of all genres) across the north of England (artists, music educators, event organisers, a DJ, a sound engineer, a journalist, festival directors etc). Most of the programme will take place online over the next six months, after an initial in-person session in Manchester in September. I’m really looking forward to learning more from my fellow Leaders Network members and the excellent coaches.

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Cheers for now, Maria