University of Sussex

File(s) not publicly available

Just can’t get GNUF: tensions, affinities and portable communities in an independent festival

posted on 2023-06-09, 11:52 authored by Mary Krell
Over the past five years, in West Yorkshire, an independent festival and a community arts charity have worked together to develop an annual event which meaningfully functions as a music festival and a series of extended activities for community engagement. This paper explores that work and presents it as a model of a type of inclusive festival. It does so in part by building upon and extending current research into questions of social inclusion and community engagement at musical festivals (Mair & Laing, 2015). It presents a range of approaches and explores the issues they present. It also extends and challenges notions about the tension between local communities and the, ‘portable communities’ one finds at festivals (Gardner, 2004). The festival in question is an instrument-specific festival and, as such, might be viewed as problematic when attempting to produce work that is inclusive and provides meaningful community engagement. At the core of this paper is an exploration of the interdisciplinary collaboration that was key to overcoming those tensions. The research underpinning this work comes not only from 5 years of running community-based music festivals in the UK but from the critical evaluation of responses from over 300 audience member/participants over that period and a wider engagement with the field. This paper explores A Grand Northern Ukulele Festival (GNUF) and its collaborations with Faceless Arts. Their work has been funded by local & regional councils, by national arts funding bodies and Arts Council England.


Publication status

  • Published

Presentation Type

  • paper

Event name

CHIME Conference 2017

Event location

Siena Jazz Archive, Italy

Event type


Event date

25-28 May, 2017

Department affiliated with

  • Media and Film Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)


    No categories selected