Updated: Jul 23, 2020
With this year’s summer festival season cancelled by Covid-19, many artists and fans have been left without the music they love and wondering when they will next see their favourite artists. To reunite fans and artists, virtual festivals have aired, bringing live music to the screens of festival-lovers; independent artist Nana has done just that.
Nana created the three-day-long ‘Turn up the World Festival' that went live on Friday to Sunday and hosted live performances on Instagram, with appearances from Nana herself, Lion, Josh Curnow and surprise act, Millie Turner.
Viewers tuned in to the live stream from across the world, including Canada, Spain, France, New York City, New Zealand, Los Angeles, Germany and locations across the UK such as London and Cornwall.
'I thought with the gap left by cancelled festivals, I could put one on and try and bring these artists some engagement again.'
Nana explained that the festival was initially created to support small businesses and showcase the talent of artists who have been affected by Covid-19. ‘My shows were cancelled as well as bookings for studio time to record more tracks that I had a schedule. It was a heart-breaking moment, but I didn’t want to just resign myself to feeling like opportunities have disappeared when I could direct my efforts to make some of my own where possible. I thought with the gap left by cancelled festivals, I could put one on and try and bring these artists some engagement again and with most of them being Independent artists, without big label releases their music would not be drowned in huge artists new albums on Spotify and could be boosted more if we got them some new listeners, especially if they were detected in new countries.’
In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, the festival also set up a PayPal account raising money for the Black Lives Matter campaign and Defending Black Lives for Movement for Black Lives. The festival has so far raised a total of £145 distributed to both campaigns as well as partnering with small businesses such as Batch and Batter Bakery and engaging the festival’s viewers with giveaways on their Instagram page.
‘It’s such an important and crucial time to help out the movement and every part of the structures that need to change around it and it was heartening to see everyone come together for it as well as the music and supporting of small businesses.’
The festival celebrated the diversity of artists and genres ranging from jazz and R&B to folk and indie rock, with artists performing from their home studio set-ups. She added, ‘I hope that there will be more diversity in the festival line-ups. I also think it’s such a shame to lose out on all the beautiful and different music that people have to offer across every intersection. We have got to start changing this and I hope this change is on the horizon.’
Following the question "Do you feel supported by other female artists within the music community and do you believe the industry does enough to support and encourage equality?", Nana stated: 'I believe that this question has been asked more than enough, for many, many years. There is enough information out there to look at to know that sexism is rife within the industry and women need support from each other and the industry itself but, I won't get into that. If you’d like to know about it, the information and shared experiences are out there and just because I am a female artist, it doesn’t make me only that as opposed to just another artist in the industry.’ She added: 'It is not women's responsibility to answer this question again when we all know the answer. The fact that we're still being asked just shows there is still work to be done on the other side.'
'Take up the World Festival' not only gave viewers escapism and distraction but also had the performers interests and well-being at heart with additional support during what is a challenging time in their musical careers. Nana explained: ‘We created a guide for artist’s mental health (partnered with candle company Kurroc) which we felt was a lovely way to spread some self-care and support. Almost all of our businesses are founded, owned and run by women too which is hard to do as it is, especially during a pandemic so we’re extra glad to be able to offer some help.’