An award that celebrates the talents and achievements of women working in the festival industry was unveiled last night at the 15th annual UK Festival Awards held at the Troxy in East London. The new category, titled the ‘Sarah Nulty Women In Festivals Award’, has been established in memory of the former Tramlines Festival Director who passed away at the age of 36 just weeks before the festival’s 10th anniversary in Sheffield. Sarah was also posthumously presented with the prestigious Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award.
The Sarah Nulty Women In Festivals Award, which will be given out for the first time at the 2019 ceremony, will recognise the work and achievements of the many outstanding women working in the male-dominated festival industry. Its aim is to also inspire other females wishing to pursue a career in the music and events industry, something Sarah Nulty championed during her time not only at Tramlines, but throughout her career overall.
Michael Baker, Awards Manger of the Festival Awards said, “In addition to acknowledging Sarah’s myriad achievements with the presentation of our Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award, we are also delighted to announce that in 2019 we will launch the Sarah Nulty Women in Festivals Award. The accolade is inspired by Sarah’s incredible legacy, aiming to champion the amazing work done by women across all facets of the festival industry.”
Sarah, who was director at Tramlines Festival from 2013 – 2018, was also instrumental in the launch of the festival in 2009, coordinating venues and handling bookings and later working in the commercial department. Tenacious, innovative and thoroughly unbreakable, Sarah led Tramlines through its toughest and most pivotal times. From the introduction of a ticketed model after huge cuts in local funding, to completely revamping the festival’s multi-venue format to meet fans’ demands for bigger lineups. Sarah’s parting gift to Tramlines was to revamp it into a single, greenfield site for its 10th anniversary at the 30,000 capacity Hillsborough Park with headliners including Stereophonics, Noel Gallagher’s High Fying Birds and Craig David.
Tramlines Operations Director, Timm Cleasby, commented, “Sarah was a real advocate for getting young women into the industry. We were planning to find ways that we could help encourage more young women into music industry roles and I believe that this award will help cement the idea to young women that they can succeed in the festival industry – Sarah being a role model for these women is fantastic.
“It means so much to us that Sarah has been recognised again for her contribution to festivals. We’re proud of what we have achieved as a team under her leadership. The announcement of the Sarah Nulty Women in Festivals Award is just incredible; it’ll keep her legacy alive for years to come.”
Sarah dedicated her whole working career to Sheffield and the events industry. She managed the citywide Sheffield Makes Music event in conjunction with BBC Music Day and Sheffield University, sat on the board of the Association Of Independent Festivals, and was appointed the First Executive In Residence for the Events Management group at Hallam University, amongst other mentoring roles.
The legacy Sarah leaves behind is in Tramlines, the festival industry, and the inspiration and encouragement she’s given to young women who aim to follow in her footsteps.