The original, award-winning social conscience festival, OneFest has announced a pivotal panel discussion titled ‘North South Divide: Bridging The Gap’. At the same time, OneFest is announcing the cancellation of the evening event in Sheffield.
OneFest co-founder Sandra Bhatia said “As one of the first social conscience festivals, we decided to have a twin city festival celebrating both London and the North in the city of Sheffield, with day and night programmes to really add value across the border, join the dots and build bridges. So it is with great sadness that we have to cancel the evening show in Sheffield, as the ticket sales have been slower than expected. All tickets will of course be refunded. We will still run the daytime programme at the Leadmill with showcases, panels, workshops, advisory sessions and networking to support young musicians and industry hopefuls in the North – including the North/South divide panel which explores the barriers for progression in music, which this decision exemplifies. The London programme is unchanged.”
OneFest London will also host an inspired evening programme of music featuring showcases from emerging talent and special one-off collaborations curated by Shabaka Hutchings, with members of the cohort and the best emerging and established British talent including Steve Williamson & String Ting (Tomorrow’s Warriors), Leafcutter John, Ill Considered & Nat Birchall and Okumu, Herbert, Skinner Triowith Byron Wallen.
Journalist, author and musician John Robb will chair a dynamic discussion examining the North/South musical divide from Yorkshire’s perspective and exple existing disconnections and differences, whilst embracing potential opportunities and solutions. OneFest aims to come up with solutions to what many see as a divide that has long been a major obstruction culturally and financially in the UK.
John Robb said “The UK is a small country, but have we become two nations divided by a common language? Is there a cultural, business, financial North/South divide and how do we bridge it? Can music be the healer, the empowerer of broken towns and cities across the north? How can the south help and be involved with this? How can great talent be allowed to go to waste? How can the north and south learn to communicate with each other better and work to their mutual advantage? All these questions and more will be addressed on the panel, I can’t wait to get cracking.”
OneFest speakers and musicians Bang Bang Romeo added “We come from mining villages in the North and making music has always felt like an outlet and opportunity to break away from the norm, but opportunities can sometimes be limited. Working mens’ clubs are closing down, as well as some of the bigger more established venues. We love travelling for our work but find we are in London, almost weekly, for gigs, workshops and networking events. There is so much talent across the UK and having more localised hubs for industry bodies/companies could bring people together up and down the country and keep costs down for young bands trying to build their networks.
Chi Onwurah MP for Newcastle Upon Tyne Central and OneFest supporter said “Britain is a creative powerhouse and the world listens to the music we create. But increasingly the barriers young, Northern, black and working class musicians face make breaking into a challenging industry almost impossible and our voices are lost. The work OneFest are doing to provide opportunities for more diverse musicians is really important if we are not to find ourselves a one note nation.”
Each OneFest venue in London and Sheffield will host a daytime programme of talks and workshops, chaired by journalist and author John Robb and musicians and industry insiders aimed at educating and providing networking opportunities for aspiring young music industry professionals across the North-South divide, partnered by Ivors Academy.