A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BARNSLEY YOUTH MUSIC AND DRAMA FESTIVAL

(formerly The Co-operative Youth Music and Drama Festival)

The Education committee of the Barnsley British Co-operative Society (founded in 1862) started the BBCS Junior Music Festival in 1946. The Education Committee was allocated a grant each year from the Society’s Board of Directors to enable it to carry out a range of activities for members and their families. In the years that followed, the Festival proved to be increasingly popular, leading to the inclusion of speech and drama classes.

In the years that followed many changes have taken place with the local Co-operative Societies as transfer of engagements and amalgamations have ensued.  The latest of which saw the Festival coming under the umbrella of The Co-operative Group. However, this also meant that the Festival was not longer organised and fully funded by the Co-operative themselves. Instead the Festival Committee was formed that was to become an autonomous body which gained Charitable Status in November 2006 (Charity No. 1116983). It is proud to be still supported by the Co-operative Group (on a casual basis) thus maintaining a 71 year link between the Festival and The Co-operative Movement. However, in order to meet our ever increasing costs  the Festival are now having to seek general sponsorship (other than from the Co-operative). With this in mind it was felt that the time was right to change the name of the Festival to the Barnsley Youth Music and Drama Festival (formerly the Co-operative Youth Music and Drama Festival).

At present the Festival has over 107 classes competing for over 60 trophies. All trophy winners are eligible to compete for six encouragement awards and the Drama and Music Rosebowls at a special concert on the final evening of the Festival week.

The Festival Committee strive to provide young performers with a platform where they may gain the confidence to move on to greater heights.

The continued success and expansion of the Festival is attributable to the continued support of the Co-operative, our patrons—Stephen and Jennifer Smith, past Friends of the Festival and our Festival Sponsors.

We are also deeply indebted to the enthusiasm of today’s band of volunteers, our committee and the foresight of those of yesteryear.

We are always looking for new volunteer helpers to assist during Festival Week and so if you or anyone you know is  interested in joining us or if you would like to become a Sponsor of the Festival , then please contact the Festival Chairman  Mrs Margaret Venables, or email info@barnsley-ymdfestival.co.uk for more information.