Community Connections - Our Drive to Include All
When we were at the concept stage of creating Coast Roads, discussing what our aims were, involving the community came top of the list. This fed into a number of other key aims; respecting and highlighting the best of where we live, promoting diversity and inclusion of everyone, generating benefits to the wider community, helping to provide opportunities for students in the area to get involed in a music and culture event, investing in our local musicians and artists, and working closely with organisations in the area, allowing them the opportunity to trade on site and generate some much needed income in these turbulent times (for small businesses in particular). We also wanted to work towards being carbon negative in the near future. Fundamentally, we wanted to encourage local traders, residents, education providers, charities...really anyone within the local community to be involved in creating a truly community based festival which we could all be proud of.
The word 'festival' was analysed at those initial meetings and we took a look back at some of the carnivals and celebrations held in the Furness area over the years. It can't be denied that when this community gets together they know how to put on an incredible show. So, we had no interest in simply getting a stage, some renowned acts and having a few bars dotted about. We have such a wealth of experience, of talented, creative and dedicated people that live in this area. We wanted to give people with experience in these areas the opportunity and the space to grow their own ideas, and present their creativity on site. Furthermore, we wanted to give opportunities to those who have no experience but have a passion for music and the arts and want to get that experience - we know ourselves that opportunities don't come around like this very often in our small corner of the country, particularly for the younger generation.
To that end, we're thrilled to have the support of educational professionals and youth workers leading on youth inclusion, and a committed team dedicated to promoting diversity and ensuring that minority groups are made to feel included and welcomed at the festival. We have secured many local artists and musicians with a solid commitment to paying them for their time. We have a dedicated School Stage for student music groups which then doubles as the BBC Introducing stage at night; we hope this will encourage children to keep honing their talents by showing how far their dedication to their music could take them. To celebrate local businesses, including the myriad great food outlets and fantastic local producers we will have local traders trading fairly on price on site. We will also have a dedicated Family Area curated by Little Wren to ensure that people of all ages will feel welcome at Coast Roads. It will be a place where families can go, put their feet up, have on the hour entertainment for the kids, be able to get something to eat, feed and change babies, recharge and head back to the fest.
It’s a work in progress. We want this idea to grow; to be fully part of the local timeline, to involve more schools, to get more businesses in to work on projects with students, to encourage more children to pick up instruments or be inspired to draw and create by our beautiful community and our stunning surroundings, to be environmentally conscious and lead thinking on festival sustainability, to get more stages, more musicians and artists involved and to put them on a line up with the world's best music acts.
We are beginning to make good on these commitments in a number of ways. Currently we are working with St Cuthbert's Church to do some video diaries, meeting the people involved with the church, learning about its history and staging two intimate gigs in the incredible church itself.
One of our most important commitments is to provide value for money. We aim to get all traders to sign up to the agreement that their prices will be no different from usual business prices, not a needlessly inflated festival price. All activities will be free or a nominal price within the festival itself. That we guarantee.
As a company we have always been committed to being conscious members of the community and to support charities and individuals wherever we can. The reason we initially came together as a group, was to raise money, through music, in support of the local Food Bank - during a period of exceptional demand in the first national lockdown. This commitment is still embedded within all that we do, especially as we move towards delivering Coast Roads Festival. We recognise that within this area we have some of the most deprived wards in the UK. The last thing we want is to leave out families or people who through no fault of their own have to watch and read about something that, if they had the money, they would have absolutely loved to attend. Being below the poverty line is a distressing place to be and we want to support those people. We are asking businesses that can afford it to match our commitment of funding 20 free tickets on behalf of these families and individuals. To be honest, any individual that wants to help towards this would be welcome whether it be 1 or 20 tickets. We will then give this ticket allocation to leading members of MIND, Barrow Island Community Trust, Barrow Food Bank, Project John, The Furness Multi-Cultural Society and any other local organisations to gift these free tickets so that people can come and enjoy themselves at the festival when otherwise they would not have had the means to do so.
So, we will be approaching businesses individually and sharing this message on our socials. However, if anyone can share this message or speak to someone within the community development areas of their businesses, or simply mention this to anyone within the company they work in to commit to this we would be incredibly grateful. Any help, from absolutely anyone to achieve this aim would be amazing and would be such a good news story before the festival even starts. And, we will make sure all the businesses and inviduals are advertised as being total good eggs through and through by us at The Lock In. We will feature any business that helps us in this endeavour by advertising them as our Community Connections partner both in the festival, on our podcasts and on our web pages and social media.
Our target is 500 free tickets and we have opened the account with 20. Don’t forget, kids go free anyway, so it won't break the bank to send a family of four to the festival. If you feel that you can support us in reaching our goal of 500 tickets, please look out for the Web Link to the form this week.
Coast Roads is going to be a special event. Not just the weekend itself - the months of involvement of the community in planning, organising, creating and delivering this event is what is going to make this festival truly exceptional. We know that when the community comes together, to show behaviours that are indicative of the inherited good nature of the people that live in this area, then we, as a community, spread happiness, we promote kindess, we encourage compassion and, best of all, we do it together.
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