ONWARDS Highlights Grassroots Music and Venues

Mr Wilsons Second Liners

An annual, multi venue music festival with a twist, ONWARDS, as the name suggests, leads audiences successively through Huddersfield town centre grassroots music venues, showcasing a carefully curated programme of live music

Onwards Festival began in 2016 fulfilling a concept conceived by event organisers Sam Hodgson & Noah Burton of a live music experience that would move audiences around town in a ‘pub crawl’ style. Popular demand caused the Onwards Festival to grow, involving more venues and acts each year. Following a forced two year hiatus of the 2020 and 2021 festivals, the need to unite the town’s creative sector and community felt even more important and so Onwards Festival sought and were awarded Arts Council England and Kirklees Council Year Of Music 2023 Gainshare support to bring the festival back, bigger and better!

This year the festival will take place across the weekend of the 23rd & 24th of September 2023, moving between 6 independent venues, with performances from 16 musical acts guiding festivalgoers on a transcendent journey through an electrifying tapestry of genres: Funk, afrobeat, blues, jazz, world and soul are al, represented in a kaleidoscope of musical brilliance championing local talent, premiering new works and unveiling visual art and sound installations.

Led by the Onwards compere, music lovers attending the Saturday festivities will progress through the town finally descending upon headline act Klonk an 8-piece party band crafting stone cold killer cuts out of klezmer, balkan, funk, jazz, metal and hip-hop. Other notable performances throughout the day will take place in the spectacular Victorian Byram Arcade by Jazz vocalist Ruby Wood who has an upcoming EP release with First Word Records and Amaya a duo featuring Carnatic singer Supriya Nagarajan and Duncan Chapman on flugelhorn and electronics who are inspired by new ideas, forms and aesthetics from across the world. Earlier in the day audiences will be treated to Afrobeat funksters Plantfood and the powerhouse blues stylings of Wadcutter Blues. Day tickets can be purchased giving access to all events on the Saturday for just £15.

Sunday’s lineup boasts acoustic performances throughout the afternoon taking place alongside a newly commissioned collaboration between illustrious ‘bare knuckle soul’ singer Thabo and The Huddersfield Ukrainian Singing Troupe. Sound artist Chris Ruffoni’s sculptural sound installation which responds in real time to the environment will hang in the trees of New Street to create an immersive, contemplative and organically shifting texture of sounds. Headlining Sunday’s proceedings are the mighty Mr Wilson’s Second Liners who blend New Orleans brass with 90’s club classics and will be proudly stepping out in uniformed style as they channel the spirit of the 24 hour party people and get audiences dancing into a joyful frenzy. Events for Sunday are individually ticketed.