Northern Festivals Network awarded £179,500 to deliver family entertainment

UK: The Northern Festivals Network has been awarded precisely £179,500 in the latest round of the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund to deliver spellbinding arts programming for family audiences and build a resilient sector with increased collaboration between artists, venues and festivals until 2018.

The Northern Festivals Network is led by Wild Rumpus, award-winning producers of the Just So Festival and includes some of the most exciting and varied festivals in the UK today (Cloudspotting, Festival Number 6, Fire In The Mountain, Just So, Kendal Calling, Ramsbottom Festival and Underneath The Stars). The consortium was founded by Just So, Kendal Calling and Ramsbottom Festivals in 2014 with a joint determination to raise the bar of family programming at greenfield festivals. It will build on the success of its first year of arts council strategic touring funding to continue its shared commitment to increase the amount of high quality touring arts for families and create an environment where it can thrive.

This new three-year grant will support the work of the UK outdoor arts sector, supporting artists and companies to develop exciting new work for audiences and demonstrate the benefits of investment in this programming. It will work with the national and international festival sector to make the case for festivals investing in arts programming for families with a focus on quality, accessibility, sustainability and community engagement.

It aims to create a resilient sector by partnering festivals with arts venues and artists, not only creating world-class work but sharing knowledge, resources, building capacity, audience development and arts attendance for family audiences year round. Key focusses will also be accessibility, engaging new audiences as part of a partnership with Attitude Is Everything, and forging links and partnerships with international artists, international festivals and the UK.

The Greenfield festival sector is a growth industry with 975 festivals taking place annually across the UK, with a growing number of families that attend. The Outdoor Arts Sector attracts a wide-ranging and diverse audience that is more representative of the total population than any other art form.

Alison Clark, Director of North and Combined Arts said: “Greenfield Festivals are an important and growing aspect of the way that we access the arts. I’m delighted that the Northern Festivals Network, led by Wild Rumpus, has been awarded Strategic touring funding to increase the amount of high quality work touring to greenfield festivals across the North of England. Its emphasis on engaging new audiences and developing partnerships with international artists and festivals will significantly strengthen the opportunities for families to enjoy arts and culture.”

Sarah Bird, Director of Wild Rumpus, said: “It’s brilliant news that we’ve received continued funding from Arts Council England for the Northern Festivals Network, giving us the opportunity to carry on working together, programming great artists and companies and helping families to step outside their day to day lives and immerse themselves in the arts”.

Artists, companies, festivals and venues who would like to find out more can contact Cathryn Peach, Creative Producer of Wild Rumpus.