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The Easterseals Disability Film Challenge gives filmmakers—with and without disabilities—the opportunity to collaborate to tell unique stories that showcase disability in its many forms.

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The film challenge is a weekend-long filmmaking contest, open to all, that provides a platform for new voices in the entertainment industry. Each year, aspiring storytellers are prompted to creatively write, produce and complete a short film. Challenge winners receive invaluable access to entertainment professionals, opening the door to an industry notoriously difficult to enter. We convene at the Sandhill Tavern in Great Houghton, a converted end terrace where they played their first gig. But theirs is a lovely story of DIY resourcefulness and inner steel. But they kept at it, ditching the covers once Kiaran started writing songs.

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Where Treebound Story and Pulp had once charged people 10p to see them at the Hallamshire pub to get a crowd, the Sherlocks got one of their dads to manage them, a mum to book their gigs and even went knocking on doors near venues where they played. Will you come and see our band? They only approached Infectious Records after their own self-released single had made the iTunes Top Our song Storm in a Teacup is like that: we really pour out the chorus, and you can see that people feel it.


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When Carnall took a break from teaching to re-form the band last year, after people kept tweeting him asking him to do soby popular demand, he expected a little last hurrah before turning This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase.

Bluegrass became a fiercely contested definition, with strict rules covering everything from rhythm must have a dominant offbeat to instrumentation no electric instruments, no drums — only guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, Dobro resonator guitar and bass are allowable. The irony is that Monroe and the bluegrass pioneers were the avant garde of their times, and the improvisational spirit that lives in the music was always going to attract the kind of artists who want to take it somewhere new.

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From the highly trained brilliance of Ivy League graduates such as Brittany Haas to the rollicking rock of stadium-fillers Greensky Bluegrass and Trampled By Turtles, their genre-bending efforts are reaching audiences younger and many hundreds of times larger than anything the traditionalists can hope for. Which means that this music is becoming increasingly politically potent.

For many decades, bluegrass standards have focused on a few select topics: moonshine-fuelled nights and Sunday morning repentance, love gone wrong and murder ballads usually a subset of love gone wrong. Last year a band called Che Apalache, which includes members from Mexico and Argentina, toured the rural south for the first time.

Perhaps the most radical influence in bluegrass right now, however, is a grassroots group called Bluegrass Pride. Some of the biggest stars in traditional bluegrass still refuse to employ gay musicians on religious grounds. Some of the best female players struggle to get auditions for band spots.

And yet Bluegrass Pride has revealed the secret magic at the heart of this music. Because of its fundamentally social tradition — and the democracy of the picking circle — bluegrass is unique in the wider culture war: a rare public space where both sides of the great American divide can and will sit down together.

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The passion and pride that bluegrassers feel for their music override political, and even personal, animosity, forging unlikely friendships, challenging innate prejudices. But then bluegrass, with its arcane rules and rapid execution, has always been full of mysteries. To order a copy, go to guardianbookshop.

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