Sunderland firm which powered Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Ed Sheeran concerts wins vital Government funding

More Sunderland arts groups and businesses have been thrown a lifeline of support from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund (CRF).

Buffalo Power Services provided the power for Beyonce's Formation tour in Sunderland
Buffalo Power Services provided the power for Beyonce's Formation tour in Sunderland

Among those to receive funding were Sunderland Culture, Independent in Holmeside and Carnival House.

Now, more groups in the city have been awarded funding in another round of announcements.

Buffalo provides power for festivals across the UK and Europe

Among them is Buffalo Power Services, a Sunderland-based company which specialises in supplying temporary power for some of the UK’s and Europe’s largest festivals and concerts.

Over the years, the company has powered concerts by the likes of Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Ed Sheeran and high-profile festivals such as Neighbourhood, Parklife, Kendal Calling and TRNSMT, as well as most of the Stadium of Light gigs.

But like all businesses involved front of house, as well as behind the scenes, in the arts sector it’s been hit hard by the pandemic with large-scale gatherings such as festivals cancelled.

It’s been awarded £173,928 from the CRF, one of 588 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support as part of the latest wave of announcements, which amounts to £76 million of funding.

Corinne Kilvington of Theatre Space North East at the theatre company's base in Sunniside

John Davidson from Buffalo said: “We are delighted to announce we’ve been successful in our bid for the culture recovery funding. 2020 has been a long year for everyone so far, but especially for those who work in the event industry like ourselves.

"The funding can assist us navigating through winter and stand us in good stead for events in 2021.”

Also announced for funding is Theatre Space North East, based in Sunniside, who’ve been awarded £50,000.

It means the theatre company can continue their outdoor performances and activities after their Covid secure Shakespeare productions played to sell out, socially-distanced audiences in July and August.

Despite the ever changing guidance and additional expense to cover PPE and other public health measures, the company were able to return to the ‘stage’ in Roker’s St Andrew’s churchyard, Mowbray Park and Ryhope’s St Paul’s churchyard, providing much needed employment opportunities for local performers and theatre practitioners, for a series of performances over the summer.

The money will fund three part-time positions, working remotely and at the Borough Road headquarters and will help the company to stage two regional theatre tours, as well as helping to develop more online learning for schools, youth groups and community organisations.

The company’s artistic director Corinne Kilvington has been calling for the government to step in to save the industry that collectively contributes over £100bn to the UK economy every year.

She said: “The UK’s creative industries are the lifeblood of the nation and it was the talents of creatives that saw the country through the darkest days of lockdown.

"CRF will hopefully ensure that we protect our most precious cultural assets both here in the region and around the country. We fought tooth and nail to bring culture to back Sunderland from the moment we were able to do so safely and this award will help us to continue to innovate, delight audiences and support the wonderful creative industry we have here in the North East.”

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