Leeds Conservatoire Returns to Underneath the Stars and We Out Here

By Gemma Cross


Leeds Conservatoire secured performance and placement opportunities for students and recent graduates this summer through continued partnerships with Underneath the Stars and We Out Here festivals.

Underneath the Stars

Underneath the Stars is an annual music and arts festival developed to provide a platform for both emerging acts and established artists and to deliver new experiences and adventures for all ages.

The festival contains a full programme of music, proudly 50/50 gender balanced. This year’s festival took place from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 August at Cinderhill Farm, near Barnsley. The headline acts were Scouting for Girls, The Shires and Kate Rusby.

As part of the partnership, two artists connected to the conservatoire opened the main stage on Friday lunchtime:

Molly Aisha Performing At Underneath The Stars 2023. Photo Via Molly Aisha Facebook

Molly Aisha performing at Underneath the Stars 2023. Photo via Molly Aisha Facebook

Molly Aisha, an alternative pop singer-songwriter with a knack for passionate storytelling, began songwriting at 12 years old and graduated this summer from the conservatoire’s Songwriting course. Molly’s debut single ‘Lose My Mind’ was released in 2021 and has amassed over 2,800 streams on Spotify alone.



Willow Changelings At Underneath The Stars 2023. Photo Via Willow Changelings Facebook

Willow Changelings at Underneath the Stars 2023. Photo via Willow Changelings Facebook

Willow Changelings formed in 2020 and are a contemporary folk band who perform mostly original compositions with a handful of their own interpretations of traditional folk pieces.

The band members include graduates and students from the conservatoire’s Folk, Roots & Blues, Popular and Film Music courses. Their debut EP ‘A Sideways Mind & Hidden Wings’ plus other singles are available on Spotify.

In addition to the performances, festival-long paid placements were available for six conservatoire students from various years and pathways. The artist liaison placements involved working with festival staff, providing important backstage support to ensure that everything artist-related ran smoothly. The stage management placements involved delivering the show to a high standard, helping the team to handle artists and to set up equipment in accordance with the specifications in technical riders.

Over at the Cosmic Curiosity tent, conservatoire staff led interactive workshops for festival attendees. On Saturday, Introduction to Bluegrass and Old Time; on Sunday, Learning Instrumental Traditional Music by Ear. Senior Lecturer Archie Churchill-Moss explored various techniques regarding how to interpret and learn this.

James Warrender, Employability and Enterprise Manager at Leeds Conservatoire, said, “It was brilliant to see Leeds Conservatoire featuring at Underneath the Stars festival for another year; a family run festival on our doorstep that passionately cares about the music and culture they represent, and a brilliant team to work with. Our talented artists Molly Aisha and Willow Changelings opened proceedings on the main stage, and we had fantastic turnouts for our staff led practical workshops across the weekend.”

We Out Here

We Out Here is an award-winning festival that celebrates world-class music, alongside wellness, family and cultural activities, high quality sound and much more. Curated by Gilles Peterson, the festival platforms genre pioneers alongside emerging talents representing the best in jazz, soul, dub, electronic, house, techno, hip-hop and everything in between.

This year’s festival took place in its new home of the beautiful Dorset countryside of Wimborne St Giles from Thursday 10 to Monday 14 August. Headliners included Ezra Collective, Knucks and Nia Archives.

Eight Leeds Conservatoire students completed paid placements at We Out Here, working in a variety of positions across the stage management and artist liaison teams.

In addition, four artists connected to the conservatoire, all containing students and/or recent graduates from various pathways, wowed the crowds at We Out Here linked to the partnership:

Plantfood, also affiliated with the conservatoire, were selected directly by the festival to perform.

Sunkissed Child Performing At We Out Here 2023. Photo Credit Anya Rose

Sunkissed Child performing at We Out Here 2023. Photo credit: Anya Rose

Hideous Mink Records caught up with Yasmina aka Sunkissed Child following her set at The Big Top Tent during We Out Here. The interview is available here.

The conservatoire collaborates with a variety of festivals to create valuable opportunities for its students and graduates. As a result, all of these artists had the opportunity to perform at other festivals ahead of We Out Here. For example, read more about Mikoudi, Yoshizawa, Mangorata and Plantfood amongst the performers at Leeds Jazz Festival 2023 here, plus Sunkissed Child at last year’s Long Division here.


James added, “We Out Here are always brilliant to partner with, offering our student artists and bands great performance opportunities as part of such a brilliantly curated festival. Once again we had students and recent graduates working across the festival in stage management and artist liaison, and the festival always look to properly integrate these roles.”

Find out more about performance, placements and professional opportunities at Leeds Conservatoire

Visit the Underneath the Stars and We Out Here festival websites

By Gemma Cross

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