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Little Festival of Live Music

Music Marquee, Parliament Street

Fri Sept 18-Sat Sept 26 @ 5-9pm

Free

Little Festival of Live Music on Facebook

Putting together York’s Little Festival of Live Music – or Little Fest as it’s known to its friends – is a big challenge. When it began in 2013, organiser Ellen Cole put together the three-day programme in just three weeks.

She created the brand, set up the social media, booked all the bands – everything, with barely a moment to draw breath.

York Food & Drink Festival sent me an email three weeks before the debut event, asking if I’d put on a few nights of music for them. I said yes, and then didn’t sleep for three weeks.”

More ambitious

In its first two years Little Fest entertained thousands of people and raised significant sums of money for local independent charities, offering a more ambitious and extensive entertainment programme year to year. But however big the event gets, says Ellen, it’s going to stay true to its little roots.

It could potentially get bigger – it seems to be going that way at the moment, but we wouldn’t ever change the name of the festival.

The word ‘little’ signifies that it’s a family festival. We also try especially hard to make sure there are no access restrictions, because we’re very passionate about people with disabilities being able to enjoy the festival.

Kimberley Kennedy takes a little rest while preparing for Little Fest

Kimberley Kennedy takes a little rest while preparing for Little Fest

Bigger than ever

The Little Festival of Live Music is bigger this year, particularly in its roster of performers, which sees a selection of up-and-coming acts from around the country joining a core of popular local artists. Ellen says

We’ve got a lot of different genres of music this year – acoustic, pop, folk, theatrical performances, hillbilly, country, punk, rock, indie and surf rock.

Listen out for Sam Griffiths, Ellie Holmes, Indigo Bones and an absolutely fantastic and quite theatrical band from Easingwold called Gobbledygook.

Local favourites King Courgette rock the Music Marquee at Little Fest

Local favourites King Courgette rock the Music Marquee at Little Fest

Charity fundraising

Also on the bill – amongst many others – are local favourites King Courgette, Boss Caine, Leather’O, Bull and Lost Trends.

Live music is key to the festival but, according to Ellen, social good is its beating heart.

This year the festival is raising money for York Mind who provide mental health services and support.

We fundraise for local charities, who need the income just as much as major national charities. We pass buckets and donation tins around for people who want to donate.
Festival folk: Leather'o bring their celtic-gypsy-folk vibe to Parliament Street

Festival folk: Leather’o bring their celtic-gypsy-folk vibe to Parliament Street

So are all the sleepless nights – and frantic days – worth it? Definitely, says Ellen.

I think music festivals are important to a city, whether you have to pay to get in or not.

I think it’s very important to bring communities together to socialise. Something like this, which is free, is something that everyone can enjoy and get involved with.

There’s something new for everyone to experience.