Kate Rusby - fondly known as the Barnsley Nightingale - is the face of South Yorkshire’s Underneath the Stars Folk and Arts Festival but always the first to give recognition to everyone else, many of whom are family and friends, who make the whole thing happen.
In 2016, in recognition of her contribution to music and continued support for community, Kate was made Honorary Freeman of Barnsley. An accomplished artist and songwriter she has spent many years ‘on the road’- she often tells the story of how, wherever her journeys take her, she usually arrives late at night and looking up to the heavens and knowing her place in relation to the stars settles her spirit and lets her know all is well.
How could the festival be called anything else?
Underneath the Stars was launched as a not-for-profit acoustic festival in 2014 and won great acclaim from artists and audiences alike for staging an all family event which was relaxed, warm and welcoming to anyone and everyone.
Situated close to Barnsley in an idyllic spot steeped in mining history and only a stone’s throw from the beautiful Peak District who wouldn’t want to be there on a starry night?
Now in its 5th year it is relocating from Cannon Hall Farm in Cawthorne, to the nearby Cinderhill Farm which will host established and emerging artists across the folk, bluegrass, jazz, fusion and Americana genres.
Acts confirmed are Grammy Award winning songwriter Steve Earle with his band The Dukes; The California Feet Warmers (no prize for guessing their origin), whose music whisks you to a New Orleans jazz hall; the Yves Lambert Trio, a French Quebecois folk legend: the powerful music of the Manchester jazz band Honeyfeet and solo artist Maya Youssef, a virtuoso performer on the qanun, the traditional Middle Eastern plucked zither and so many more. Bring your ukulele and join in with George Hinchcliffe’s Ukelele Orchestra and warm up your vocal chords for a sing along with the Barnsley Youth Choir. An eclectic feast of entertainment and participation!
And if this wasn’t enough there are many art and craft stalls and creative workshops of the region to wander around. Fancy building a stone wall? Well you can here! And if you like Chocolat – yes that is spelt correctly – Barnsley based best-selling author Joanne Harris will be combining music, songs and stories in a captivating audio-visual presentation.
Good food is always an important factor and this festival manages to provide diverse and wholesome choices by Yorkshire-based producers and sellers.
There are always a few surprises too! In 2016 it was a giant planetarium and vintage fairground rides- so be prepared for something ‘outside the box’. And if you’re camping underneath the stars it’s the only festival that I know on record that provides free hot showers, luxury loos and Lush soap – home from home!!