News / coronavirus

Unlock your talents at a new online festival

By lowie trevena, Thursday May 21, 2020

A new festival offers the chance to win Bristol prizes, have work judged by celebrities and support a local mental health charity.

Unlock Your Talent, which is taking place entirely online, is raising money for Somerset-based Vine Counselling Services and is being backed by everyone from Strictly Come Dancing’s Karen Hauer to BBC Radio Bristol’s Laura Rawlings.

The brainchild of Bristol mum-of-two Rachel Mason, the Unlock Your Talent festival hopes to raise as much money as possible for Vine Counselling Services, so the people can receive support throughout the pandemic, and after.

As well as being a new mother, Rachel is a musician, songwriter and TV judge, who has called on her celebrity contacts to raise money for the counselling charity after it saved her life 13 years ago.

“During lockdown I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can help support people,” explains Rachel.

“There are a handful of things that light a fire in me to create something new; supporting young people, being self-employed, raising money for charity, encouraging good mental health and bringing joy to people through the arts.

“It suddenly occurred to me that I could create one big event that ticked every single box.”

Karen Hauer will judge some of the entries. Photo: Karen Hauer

After Rachel learned of the precarious position that the charity’s finances were in, she decided to donate all funds raised to it.

Unlock Your Talent is open to all ages and abilities. For a £5, £10 or £20 entry fee, which goes directly to the charity, anyone can enter the festival’s judging categories which include short film, drama, poetry and makeup.

After the closing date on May 31, a host of familiar faces will judge the entries. Already lined up to judge broadcaster and founder of Freelance Mum Faye Dicker, writer and poet Louisa Adjoa Parker and winner of The Voice UK, Ruti.

All 46 judges are giving their time for free, so that the fundraiser can make as much as possible.

Prizes, which have been donated, include a free recording package at Bristol’s Bare Wall Studios, drama coaching from the West End cast of Hamilton and the opportunity to assist a world-famous makeup artist on a professional job.

Anyone can enter to win these prizes, which also include signed prints, theatre and book tokens and professional makeup products, all while knowing they are supporting a local mental health charity helping people through the crisis.

Find out more at

Main photo: Rachel Mason

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