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Alan Surtees Trust posted 28 Feb 2023

Alan Surtees Trust

Folk musicians, dancers, singers or performers from all cultures are being invited to apply for grants of up to £2,000 to help develop their careers.

Up to four awards will be made this year by the Alan Surtees Trust, which was set up in memory of the co-founder and director of Shrewsbury Folk Festival who died in 2017.

Grants will be made to those aged 16 to 30 who show exceptional skill, talent and promise in their field and whose work is rooted in, or influenced by, folk and traditional music and arts from any culture. The grants can be used to fund items such as new instruments and equipment, recording costs, mentoring or support for personal development.

Marie Bashiru, a recipient of the Alan Surtees Trust in 2021, sits on a stool looking at the camera in dungarees and socks

Marie Bashiru, a recipient of the Alan Surtees Trust in 2021, will be a guest assessor on this year’s judging panel

Previous recipients include Maddie Morris, who was given funding to buy equipment to record and produce her own music and went on to win the 2019 BBC Young Folk Award, and Marie Bashiru, who will be a guest assessor on this year’s judging panel.

Trust chair Dave Cowing said: “It can be very hard for younger artists to have the financial wherewithal to fund the projects they need to make the breakthrough in their careers. Alan was passionate about providing them with a platform through the festival so the grants are carrying on that work as his legacy.

“We are keen to hear from musicians, singers, dancers, artists or other performers from diverse backgrounds so we can support every kind of traditional culture, not just British folk. Alan loved music and dance of all types so we’re really interested in hearing from people who might want to explore a project related to their own traditional culture or develop their experience with a non-mainstream instrument.”

Dave added: “These are just examples of some of the submissions we’d like to see but we’re keen that anyone who thinks they’d benefit from a grant applies. We’re bowled over every year with the level of talent that we see and it’s always a very hard choice.”

Marie said: “Being a recipient of the Alan Surtees Trust grant in 2021 was a really encouraging step in the right direction in funding the essential research into Black folk song and its legacy and contribution to English folk song. I’m truly grateful for the opportunity the grant gave me to develop this research and look forward to being part of the awards panel this year.”

Qualifying Criteria

Grants are invited from musicians, singers, dancers, artists or performers in the folk arts from all cultures. Applicants can be solo artists, bands or groups.

Applicants should be aged between 16 and 30 at the time of application. They must live in the UK and not already have significant financial backing.

Four awards of up to £2,000 per person will be given for mentoring and tuition from experts in the genre, hiring of rehearsal and creative space, costs towards new instruments and equipment, recording and production of a debut album, production of promotional materials and marketing support or project research and development expenses such as artist fees or travel expenses.

The closing date for applications is April 30. For more information and to apply, go to: The application form includes the option to submit a personalised video from applicants and this is encouraged by trustees.

Only successful candidates will be contacted and the award recipients will be announced in June. Follow the trust on Twitter @ASurteesTrust or on Facebook @AlanSurteesTrust

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