Hand In Hand Update

Type of post: Choir news item
Posted By: Dave Johnson
Status: Current
Date Posted: Fri, 22 May 2020

Last week, representatives from the Hand in Hand Bristol 2023 team met with the organisers of Hand in Hand Newcastle 2021 and the coordinators of Proud Voices (HiH’s umbrella organisation) in a virtual meeting to discuss the challenges facing hosting their event in the current climate.  The decision was taken to postpone the Newcastle festival from August 2021 to August 2022 – please see the statement below.

We are aware that Various Voices is scheduled for June 2022 in Bologna, Italy and this may create certain challenges for some choirs and their members. By balancing the needs of the UK and Ireland community choirs and Hand in Hand Newcastle’s financial commitments, the organisers anticipate that the extra time between now and the next festival will allow choirs to prepare and fundraise.

The change to the Newcastle festival does not affect our plans for Hand in Hand Bristol 2023.

Choir members are asked to:

  • Make a note of 20-21 August 2022 for Hand in Hand Newcastle

  • Volunteer to coordinate SOB’s preparations for Hand in Hand Newcastle – email info@singoutbristol.org.uk 

The Hand in Hand Bristol 2023 team will keep you informed of any developments – we will be presenting an update at the SOB AGM (lockdown permitting!). If there are any questions, comments or offers, please contact Mark Hubbard, Festival Director handinhandbristol@gmail.com

Hand In Hand Bristol Planning Team, 22/5/2020


Joint Statement from Proud Voices and Hand in Hand Newcastle 2022

Hello fellow singers,

We live in unprecedented times. Never in our lifetimes has the entire country, and indeed the entire world, been affected by a pandemic which such deep and long-lasting restrictions to our health, our livelihood and our passion to meet, rehearse and perform as choirs. Each of us has personally felt the effects on our community – as singers, as individual choirs and as a choral family – and are with resilience adapting to this “new normal” in many innovative ways. There is no denying, however, that over us hangs a great uncertainty about how long this situation is likely to continue and what this means for all of us in the near future.

Hand in Hand is the UK & Ireland’s LGBT+ choir festival and is usually the first, and often the only, LGBT+ choral festival our choirs participate in. The sheer joy and pride to be found in singing and sharing is boundless, and the energy and enthusiasm it brings is heart-warming and especially important for new and developing choirs, particularly in these times. As such, one of the guiding principles of Hand in Hand has always been accessibility: we are committed to keeping all barriers to participation as low as possible, particularly financial ones. Our goal is to deliver an engaging festival while keeping registration fees as low as possible, and for this reason, the festival is highly dependent on external sponsorship.

Over the last year the Hand in Hand Newcastle team have been hard at work getting our next festival in place. We have a fantastic concert venue at Sage Gateshead, situated right on the bank of the River Tyne. We had also secured a great Friday party venue, and some excellent but affordable accommodation in the city centre. Deposits had been paid on all of these. Our next priority was to attract grand funding and sponsorship by applying to funding bodies and engaging with local businesses.

Sadly, with most funding bodies currently freezing all non COVID related applications, or refocusing their spending priorities, delivering on our own high expectations has become impossible in the time frame that we originally set. One possibility was to therefore consider a scaled back festival next year.

However, we feel there are more than financial considerations. There is still more to understand about the virus. We do not know when or if a vaccine will be available and we do not know when large gatherings will be permitted or what format these may take. With all these unknowns lying in the year stretching out before us, we have taken the difficult decision to postpone our next festival by a year. Hand in Hand Newcastle will now take place over the weekend of 20-21 August 2022.

We know that the news of this postponement will come as a disappointment to many of you – no one is more disappointed than the organizing committee – but we hope that you can see the decision hasn’t been taken lightly and has the wellbeing of all front and centre. We can’t wait to share the wonderful city of Newcastle with you, and we will continue to look forward to this, just a year later than planned. We are sure the celebrations will be huge when the time finally arrives and we look forward to making Hand in Hand 2022 the biggest and best yet. Watch this space!

To tide us over, please do look out for a new virtual event from the Proud Voices development team, and we look forward to seeing you at Hand in Hand in 2022, 2023 and beyond!

Take care everybody, and hopeully see you very soon.

Stay safe!

Hsien, Lynzee and Jon
Proud Voices UK & Ireland and Northern Proud Voices