Underneath The Stars Festival – previewUnderneath The Stars

30 July to 1 August 2021

The three-day Underneath The Stars festival will return next month with a fantastic line up, including headliners Paul Carrack (Friday), Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant and Suzi Dian (Saturday) and Kate Rusby (Sunday).

The Underneath The Stars festival takes place in the relaxed and atmospheric, rural setting of Cinderhill Farm, Barnsley. The Festival has recently confirmed that it will go ahead, as scheduled, on 30 July to 1 August 2021. This is great news for this highly respected, friendly, and very well run festival, which since 2014 has been providing a fabulous array of artists and a guaranteed amazing festival experience. It will feature one outside stage for all the artists, with lots of space allowed for social distancing.

Headlining the Festival on the Friday is the remarkable singer and songwriter Paul Carrack, who has been a member of some stellar bands including Ace, Roxy Music, Squeeze, and Mike And The Mechanics. Paul’s soulful, expressive vocals, are both distinctive and, of course, instantly recognisable as uniquely his own. On songs like Ace’s How Long and Squeeze’s Tempted, Paul’s voice exhibits a yearning romanticism, allied with a soaring soulful feel, reminiscent of the classic Tamla Motown and Stax records. This will be a headline set not to be missed, under the twinkling evening stars of rural South Yorkshire. Watch Paul’s performance of Ace’s How Long here.

On Saturday, festival-goers (or stargazers as they are affectionately known at the Festival) will be treated to Saving Grace featuring Robert Plant and Suzi Dian, a new musical cooperative who played their first gigs in 2019, and will be playing a number of summer concerts leading up to their eagerly-awaited appearance at Underneath The Stars. From reviews and YouTube footage of the band’s initial appearances, we can expect a musically adventurous and emotionally-affecting delivery of roots-based folk, blues and rock music. This will be a real musical treat, and a great opportunity to hear Robert’s classic and incomparable vocal talents in a live setting.

Barnsley’s very own Kate Rusby will headline the Festival on the Sunday. Kate released her latest album Hand Me Down last autumn, providing some wonderful interpretations of a number of classic songs. Her take on songs like the Bangles’ Manic Monday, written by Prince, adds a whole new layer of musical depth and meaning to the song. Kate’s set at the 2019 Underneath The Stars festival was a major highlight, where she was joined by a stunning brass section, nicknamed The Valves. The Valves meshed perfectly with Kate’s voice to take a song like Halt The Wagons to a level of simply heartbreaking poignancy. So expect a heartfelt and passionate performance to close the Festival. Watch the video for Halt The Wagons here.

There are so many great artists across the three days to look forward to, including an audience with presenter, writer and musician Mark Radcliffe. This has been a feature of previous UTS festivals, which have seen Ruth Jones and Andy Kershaw talk really engagingly about their work, sharing some incredible anecdotes. This session will definitely be one to look forward too.

One of the most wonderful elements of the Festival is the excitement of discovering new artists, and being enthralled by music that you haven’t heard before. So, the return of Underneath The Stars, and the way the Festival symbolises everything that makes live music a life-affirming experience, feels even more important as we emerge from the trauma of the pandemic. See you there stargazers.

As preparation for the Festival, tune into the festival podcast here Podcast.

You can find out more about this year’s Underneath The Stars festival here Website | Facebook

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Preview by Gareth Allen. You can find Gareth’s author profile here. 

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