The Octagon Centre16:00 Registration and Workshop sign-up
19:30 Welcome and Massed Sing Run – through
21:20Sparkle Sistaz
21:45The Young’uns
22:30 – 1:00Bar
The Octagon Centre09:00 – 10:00Late Registration and Workshop sign up
Town Centre10:00 – 12:00Street Singing
Barkers Pool 12:30 – 13:00Massed Sing
 13:00 – 15:00BREAK
The Octagon Centre15:00 – 17:001st Concert
 17:00 – 19:00BREAK
The Octagon Centre19:00 – 22:302nd Concert
 22:30 – 1:00Bar
The Octagon Centre09:00 – 10:15Workshop 1
10:15 – 10:45BREAK
10:45 – 12:00Workshop 2
Weston Park (tbc)12:30 – 14:00 Picnic & close

Street Choirs 2024 – 40 years of music for change

Programme Notes 

You’ll notice a few departures from the usual run of things in the programme for the 40th Street Choirs Festival in Sheffield.  The festival has grown significantly since it’s early days – it has even doubled in size just since last time it was in Sheffield in 2010.  We have tried to listen and respond to the feedback on previous Street Choirs experiences, and to create some space in the programme for resting, eating, drinking and socialising with other participants.  We have also tried to respond to the feeling that the Saturday evening concert has grown to be far too long.  

As you can imagine, it has not been easy to do this whilst still retaining the essential elements of the Street Choirs experience, and some of this may be subject to small changes prior to the festival if necessary.  We know that not everyone will like the changes – this is inevitable when trying to accommodate so many different views, but there will, as always, be an opportunity to give feedback on these changes to assist future hosts of Street Choirs Festival.

The main changes are:

  • We are intending to formally begin the event on the Friday – there will be a rehearsal/sing through for the Massed Sing during the Friday evening concert.  This will be the only opportunity to rehearse the songs together so we will need to rely on people to have learnt the songs and their parts in advance, either individually or with their choirs.  We will provide resources for this well in advance.
  • Saturday morning will start with the Street Singing (aka busking) so people will go straight to their first Street Singing site.  Each choir will be asked at registration if they want to do one or two Street Singing slots.
  • The Massed Sing in the City Centre will now follow the Street Singing.
  • There will then be a break of approximately 2 hours followed by
  • First Choir performance concert (afternoon) – some of the participating choirs will perform in this first concert (approximately 2 hours) followed by
  • Break of approximately 2 hours
  • Second Choirs Concert (evening) – the remaining participating choirs will perform in the second concert (approximately 3.5 hours)
  • Sunday will remain much as usual with a choice of workshops followed by a picnic

Registration will take place on Friday between 4 and 7pm and on Saturday between 9 and 10 am.

The bar will be available for food, hot and cold drinks etc throughout the festival during times when we are using The Octagon.

There will be a luggage room available in the reception area. 

We can’t wait to welcome you to Sheffield for the 40th Anniversary of the Street Choirs Festival!

Introducing the main act for our Friday concert, the fantastic Sheffield-based folk trio…

The Young’uns

The Young’uns live shows are renowned. With heart-on-the-sleeve storytelling, beautiful lyrics, warm harmonies and relentless repartee, Sean Cooney, Michael Hughes and David Eagle (the award-winning stand-up comedian) sing life-affirming folk songs for today.

Born from empathy, crafted with care, fired by hope, and shared with joy, The Young’uns’ songs have been described as “a heartfelt secular hymnary for these troubled times and a rallying call for humanity.” (The Scotsman). They have led the band to three BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (including Best Album in 2018 for Strangers) and the creation of the acclaimed international theatre show The Ballad of Johnny Longstaff (based on their 2019 concept album of the same name).

20 years after accidentally stumbling into the alien world of their local folk club as drunken teenagers, (and gaining their cureless name in the process), these three thirtysomething friends from Stockton and Hartlepool have never lost the joy of that first night of singing together. Whether performing at Glastonbury Festival, writing a song about pigs with a group of school children or presenting a programme on Radio 4, Sean Cooney, David Eagle and Michael Hughes are just the same.

Taking its name from messages tied to the railings of a bridge in Sunderland, their new album Tiny Notes (Hudson Records) is a collection of songs that find hope and humanity in grief and despair. From London Bridge to Lockerbie, from Derry to Aleppo, with warm harmony and beautifully crafted lyrics, these are folk songs for our times.

‘Hugely captivating-performing with great verve and humour – a brilliant folk act!’ Stuart Maconie, BBC Radio 6 music

“Glorious… celebrating the uncelebrated with warmth, vigour and passion” ★★★★ MOJO

“The Teesside trio have captured hearts – and awards – with a magic combination of lusty acapella singing, memorable tunes and heart-on-sleeve storytelling with an unashamedly political cry for social justice.” ★★★★ SONGLINES

And our brilliant support act The Sparkle Sistaz …

The Sparkle Sistaz are a fantastic all-female group from Sheffield.  They describe their style as “an everything soup” and “a cocktail in spring”.  They write all their own songs and always leave the audience wanting more.  Rock On!

Although their usual genre is broadly rock and pop, they will be performing an acoustic set for Street Choirs.

The Sparkle Sistaz are a project run by Under the Stars, a Sheffield charity that enhances the lives of people with a learning disability and/or autism through music and drama.  Their artists challenge perceptions of what people with a learning disability can achieve.