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

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 there’s an extra level of uncertainty around  transatlantic travel. So spring/summer 2022 is my target date for reviving True North Music’s artist tours and real-life gigs, and we’re also going to ease back into it gradually with fewer tours than “normal” during 2022. Check out our upcoming tours page for more details. I’ve been keeping busy with various projects and plans, as well as booking those tour dates!

One of the tours I’m currently re-booking is for International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) 2021 Momentum Band of the Year, Stillhouse Junkies from Colorado! I was so delighted when this brilliant trio won the Award and there was much excitement in our house as we watched the event online! Some of you may have seen that I was also a 2021 finalist nominee for the Industry Involvement Momentum Award. In the end that 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 is an incredibly impressive person and a worthy winner of the Award – I was extremely happy to get to the final shortlist in this company!

Meanwhile I’m keeping busy with lots of ideas for future True North Music events. I’m reviving plans to hold a one-day real-life Americana & Bluegrass festival (after we sadly had to cancel in 2020) and putting together a funding application to help us make it a big success next summer. At the moment we’re looking at Saturday 25th June 2022, with plans for some excellent bands and 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 looking forward to getting involved with that initiative both in 2023 and in the build-up, including potential support for our new festival….exciting times ahead!

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). 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 Remi Harris MBE and Tamara Gal-on. It’s also a great way to continue to build my network across the music scene, particularly among other women working in music.

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Cheers for now, Maria