In 2006 Devon County Council’s Music Service wanted to create an inspirational one day music festival for all its 376 Devon schools.
The Devon Schools Music Festival or ‘The MIX’ was created with a programme of more than 100 concerts, workshops and performances from every corner of the globe taking place in fifteen outdoor marquees at the Westpoint Showground.
The festival showcased performances from primary and secondary school pupils, community musicians, and professional musicians including Billy Bragg, The Band Of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines and Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.
Children attending were able to sample workshops and music from Latin America to the Far East, from rock and beat box, to samba, steel pan and jazz.
DJ’s, a battle of the bands and a forum with a panel of music industry experts offered music progression for secondary pupils. And the climax of the day involved all 4,000 school children joining together in the huge BIG Sing.
Known as mini Glastonbury, it is now the biggest schools music festival in the UK and has been running for 8 years. The event has grown in size and now attracts approximately 5000 pupils each year, from over 113 Devon primary, secondary and SEN schools.
The MIX has been called ‘one of the finest examples of how to integrate music into the academic lives of young people that you could possibly hope for’ by industry professionals.
Devon’s music service has also been held up as a national exemplar for partnership work.