The MFY National Festival 2014 Celebrates 10 Years in Birmingham!

Date Published:7 August 2014
Category:All News
Keywords:birmingham, National Festival
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Young people playing musical instruments

The MFY National Festival 2014 (8-12 July) celebrated 10 years in Birmingham in style as it opened its doors to nearly 11,000 young people, over 1,000 group leaders and teachers and thousands of supporters, friends and music fans for a week of music and celebration in Birmingham city centre.

Our 10 year celebration included daily ‘TEN PAST TWO…performances by the pros,’ a mass photocall on the first day of the festival, a specially commissioned poem, ‘Misterioso’ written by Dr.Gregory Leadbetter, Director of Institute of Creative and Critical Writing at Birmingham City University and a Fanfare, ‘From East and West and North and South’ written by Joe Cutler, Professor of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire, and performed by their students. 

We are very grateful to Birmingham City University for commissioning both the poem and fanfare for our 10 year celebrations, and will be announcing more initiatives linked to these commissions very soon.

Across the week, around 300 music groups and ensembles took part in the MFY National Festival ranging from county youth orchestras, folk trios, jazz combos to rock bands, and urban acts. Musicians performed on the festival’s main stages at Symphony Hall, Town Hall and Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire.

“It was great for the band to get the opportunity to perform in a professional venue with excellent equipment, to a new audience and to get feedback on their original songs from the music mentors,” said one group leader.

This year, the festival expanded to include our Festival Fringe, which included the Festival Tent – sponsored by the National Union of Teachers and Musicians’ Union – and new satellite stages around the city. Through new festival partners, such as Colmore Business District, we took the festival out further into the city and young musicians treated crowds of festival revellers and passers-by to an eclectic selection of music in places such as Snow Hill station, the Winter Garden and the grounds of Birmingham Cathedral. 

Our Festival Fringe programme also included a host of workshops and masterclasses presented by arts organisations, artists and music traders both from the West Midlands and across the UK.

Another new development this year was our special Interactive Zone with a huge collection of instruments in Norman’s Zone for anyone to try, impromptu performances and 30 second video recordings of musicians of any age telling the Musicians’ Union why their music teacher was important to them, as part of the MU’s ‘support your music teacher’ campaign.

Special events took place across the week including the culmination of two projects – Infinity Begins with I and Britten and Beyond. We also launched our New Music Stage, in partnership with Sound and Music, through an afternoon seminar bringing together music educationalists, composers and leading academics. 

From the feedback we have gathered so far, it seems like the Festival had a real buzz this year, and that more young musicians were able to take part through our Festival Fringe. MFY would like to take this opportunity to thank all the group leaders and young musicians who made the event a great success and for its sponsors, supporters and friends for making it possible.

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