Underneath the Stars is a music and arts festival that takes place every year in South Yorkshire. It is run by the family of folk artist Kate Rusby.

Underneath The Stars festival

Background: The Business

Underneath The Stars is an annual, family-friendly music festival situated in the heart of Yorkshire and established in 2014 by Joe Rusby and Emma Holling.

Prior to starting the festival, the two founders ran a series of successful standalone fundraising concerts, but soon realised there was demand for a longer event that included camping and other added-value activities and entertainment.

This led Joe and Emma to establish the first Underneath the Stars festival in July 2014, with a record British summer providing the perfect platform for the pair to launch the festival. Since then, the festival has gone from strength to strength – with the site selling out at full capacity (3,000) in 2017.


The Challenge: The Need for a Solution

Why did the client need to approach their Creative Industry Finance.

Running the first festival in 2014 proved to be a steep learning curve for Joe and Emma. Although the event itself ran smoothly, the pair were keen to continue to establish the event as a successful business in its own right, as well as to build on ticket sales and awareness of the festival.

With strong backgrounds in the music industry, the event production and management side of the festival were in-hand, but extra funding and business support was needed in order to take the festival to the next level and quickly turn it into a financially sound business.

This led Underneath The Stars to secure its first round of funding from Creative Industry Finance (via Barnsley Enterprise) and seek support from Transmit Consulting.

Underneath the Stars

The Implementation & Transmit Consulting in Action

Transmit Consulting provided Underneath The Stars with sound business and marketing advice that led to a step-change in Joe and Emma’s approach to the festival.

Working closely alongside their dedicated business consultant Damian, Emma and Joe put together a firm three-year plan for the festival and a marketing strategy that would establish Underneath The Stars as a brand, support ticket sales and boost festival awareness.

It was this strategic approach to marketing and a renewed focus on the festival as a business that Emma and Joe hoped would see the festival become a successful one-week event that would sustain the business for 12-months of the year.

The swift implementation of Transmit Consulting’s recommendations paid off, and the July 2017 festival saw the event become financially secure for its first year.

Emma Holling, Underneath The Stars co-founder: “When working with Damian from Transmit Consulting it became clear very quickly that we needed to be more strategic in our approach and focus on making the festival financially sound. This meant not fixating too much on the minutia of planning every detail of the festival, but instead keeping the bigger picture in mind.”


Now building the festival’s future on the solid foundations of a successful 2017 event, Emma and Joe have their sights firmly set on Underneath The Stars 2018.

With their current site selling out to capacity last year, the pair are working to secure the legacy of the festival for the next three years with ambitions to sell 5,000 tickets by 2020.

In the more immediate future, the festival is planning to take on its first paid employee in the New Year, with more full-time roles in the pipeline thereafter.

 “We implemented Transmit Consulting’s advice there and then, but the general principles of that advice continue. They had knowledge of the industry which was really important to us and have put us on a solid journey that will secure the festival for years to come.”


Kate Rusby