A FESTIVAL championing women and non-binary artists, new music and health and wellness is launching at a secret location in Cheshire this September.

The Secret Sessions Festival is combining the best in new music with mental and physical wellness programmes to create a four-day celebration of human connection and togetherness at a rural location in the county.

From Thursday-Sunday, September 2-5, thousands of people will enjoy a family-friendly festival with a women-dominated line up as well as music-free mindfulness hours, yoga, HIIT sessions and quality street food from the UK’s hot and emerging brands. Camping, including at bell tents and luxury Emperor tents, is available.

Led by Harriet JW, founder of the Secret Sessions live music platform who has worked with hundreds of influential artists including Bastille, Mahalia, Arlo Parks, Freya Ridings and Kacey Musgraves, the festival is aiming to reignite the spark of togetherness, whilst tackling the gender bias in the music industry by championing women and non-binary artists.

Harriet JW said: “Over the last 18 months, the creative arts have suffered immensely - as has the nation’s mental and social health.

"After more than a year of social separation, mental struggle and musical deprivation, now is the time to bring people together for a renaissance.

"In 2020, two thirds of the artists in the charts were male. At Secret Sessions we discover and develop stand out women artists who will help us change the narrative and the gender bias that still exists in the music industry. I don’t think there’s ever been a greater need for a festival of this kind.”

Secret Sessions is collaborating with London fitness brand, Gymbox, to deliver wellbeing and fitness initiatives including mindfulness and meditation classes, dance classes and sports activities, plus HIIT sessions led by their female instructors.

Hannah Curtis Nunn, group fitness director of London’s Gymbox, says: “Secret Sessions and Gymbox share a lot of the same values.

"Our stories are similar – we’re indie brands in London who’ve seen our communities forced apart over the last year. The festival is going to create those magical moments of connection and holistic health and a safe space to reconnect with yourself and your community after being starved of that for so long.”

Dedicated to ensuring that at least 60 per cent of its talent will come from women and non-binary artists, the festival is addressing claims that a lack of non-male talent is to blame.

Known for its secret, intimate nights of live new music, where the line-up is only revealed to the audience on the night, Secret Sessions has established a name for itself amongst music-lovers. Attracting fans from a range of genres, festival-goers are encouraged to attend with an open mind as they experience new music and discover new talent.

Harriet added: “We want all of our festival-goers to feel revived and relaxed, as well as socially and artistically nourished having gone so long without. The artists we have lined up to perform are some of our best yet and we can’t wait to see the impact on listeners who are ready to reconnect.

“Providing women and non-binary artists with opportunity is a big part of what we do and so at least 60% of our artist line-up will be non-male, to empower these groups to take centre stage and to continue to address the gender imbalance in our industry.”

In true Secret Sessions style, festival-goers will also be asked to anonymously share a confession before choosing whether or not to reveal themselves to the audience.

The purpose of the confession is to allow audience members to share that same feeling of vulnerability the artists feel when musically bearing their souls on stage, as well as to connect on a deeper level with their fellow audience members.

The festival ethos is about giving emerging talent from all creative industries a platform. The pandemic has meant that emerging talent from the events management and creative industries have had little opportunity to develop and put their skills into practice. The Secret Sessions Festival is connecting with these communities and providing them with a platform to show case their talent, work with an experienced festival team to develop their skills and gain valuable work experience.

For the first ever Secret Sessions Festival, organisers are launching three categories to find sensational solo artists and groups who will be invited to play the festival mainstage and/or our stage dedicated entirely to women and non-binary artists, curated and programmed by Girls to the Front.

Deadline for entries is Sunday, August 1 at 11.59pm. Find at more at https://www.secretsessions.co.uk/competitions/

Tickets for an adult camping for five nights is £241.50 inc. booking fee, (bring your own tent. Bell tents and luxury yurts available to hire)

Adult day tickets are £49.50 including booking fee. Discounted rates are available for young children and teenagers

For more information, visit www.secretsessions.co.uk