Some fresh new faces made it to the main stage this year at Newark Festival – the town’s biggest annual event.

The School of Peculiar Music’ caused a stir as the first music act on stage on the Sunday of the festival, formed by a group of passionate young musicians from the YMCA Digital project in Newark.

YMCA_Digital_Perform_Newark_FestivalYMCA Digital is one of YMCA’s flagship projects in Nottinghamshire. The programme has been designed to give young people the opportunity to engage in the creative arts with access to high quality equipment and mentorship from seasoned industry professionals. The young people involved have the freedom to explore the areas that most inspire them: from live music to production, and song writing to DJing.

As friends of the festival, YMCA Newark and Sherwood secured a spot for the group of young people on stage, who are from nearby Newark Academy. The group performed a variety of songs, including a cover of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’ and a handful of original songs and mixes. From solo performances to group dance numbers, the School of Peculiar Music blew the audience away with their dedication and achievements.

Being able to perform on stage is just one step in a programme for young people which is “made of moments”, describes Ben Felstead, Lead Youth Worker for YMCA Digital. Through each practice session, the young people involved engage with experiences that help them grow as musicians, and as people.

YMCA_Digital_Perform_Newark_FestivalYMCA Newark and Sherwood centres its programmes around Developmental Assets, a set of 40 attributes that help children grow to lead happy, healthy, fulfilled lives. The opportunities afforded by YMCA Digital support these attributes in abundance, offering children the chance to build self-esteem, a sense of personal power, developing planning and decision-making, engaging creative activities and much more.

YMCA Digital in Newark and Sherwood operates at Newark Academy, and is jointly sponsored by Lincolnshire One Venues and Inspire Youth Arts. It’s open to students of Newark Academy and Mount Primary School. Enquire about getting involved by emailing

The YMCA Community and Activity Village in Newark will be home to a state-of-the-art recording studio, rehearsal spaces and digital production studios. Help us build this not-for-profit facility by donating to our charity.