Over 6,000 young people performed in Music for Youth’s National Festival 2023

On 7th and 8th July 2023, over 6,000 talented young musicians performed at the Music for Youth National Festival, hosted in Birmingham. 

The annual summer festival was held at six renowned performance spaces including Symphony Hall, The Jennifer Blackwell Performance Space and the Justham Family Room, Town Hall, the CBSO Centre and a stage in Centenary Square. The festival saw performances from the next generation of young musicians across a variety of genres, including pop, rock, jazz, brass, classical, folk, choral, and everything in between. The event was hosted by  presenters Jack Pepper, Pete Letanka and Martha Shrimpton. 

There was a King’s Coronation Legacy stage in Centenary Square where groups were invited to perform.  There were also free workshops and panel sessions that groups could attend, including composition workshops, jazz masterclasses and massed vocal workshops. These were all hosted by leading industry experts and organisations, including critically acclaimed jazz pianist, Nikki Yeoh, and the National Youth Choirs. 

The CBSO Centre hosted a closed-rehearsal day on Friday 7th July for the Frequencies New Music Residency artists. A collection of seven artists collaborated with three supporting groups and two music mentors to curate new music and improve their skills ahead of a Saturday evening performance in Town Hall. These groups will continue to work together throughout the summer and autumn, before performing at the Music for Youth Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November. 

As part of the festival, Music for Youth hosted a Citizens’ Assembly where young people were given the opportunity to discuss and have their say in shaping the future of the music industry and music policy. The Assembly was free to attend, and panellists included industry representatives from Arts Council England, Music Mark, B:Music, as well as producers and musicians.  Jack from Tri-Borough Music Hub said “It’s been nice to meet new people and be able to discuss our different opinions [surrounding music education] and be able to understand different views on music.” 

There were more than 20 non-performance roles available as part of the Frequencies Creative Careers programme, including presenters, backstage staff, reception co-ordinators and social media assistants.  

A spokesperson from St Mary’s Grammar School said “We had a hugely enjoyable two days at the MFY National Festival. The students loved getting the opportunity to both perform and listen to a wide variety of music. We are so proud of these extremely talented students!” 

Kate Gardner, Director of Programmes at Music for Youth said “It has been such an inspirational weekend, seeing so many young people participate and perform from across the UK. Music for Youth are so proud to be able to provide these opportunities on and off stage.” 

Music for Youth are now looking forward to hosting their Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2023. More information will be released on https://mfy.org.uk/get-involved/prom-2023/ in the coming weeks.