Online art festival pushes back entry deadline after celebrity backing

Amelia holding her first ever drawing.

Amelia holding her first ever drawing. - Credit: Rachel Mason

One of the talent contest’s entries had their work shared by the Duchess of Cambridge as part of her Hold Still project.

A painting of a NHS nurse, by Derek Dave.

A painting of a NHS nurse, by Derek Dave. - Credit: Rachel Mason

A Yatton singer’s online arts festival has extended its deadline for new entries due to popular demand following celebrity backing.

Unlock Your Talent was founded by former Sky TV talent judge Rachel Mason to allow those with artistic flair to express themselves during lockdown.

Alfie has entered a video of him dancing during the 8pm clap for carers to entertain his neighbours.

Alfie has entered a video of him dancing during the 8pm clap for carers to entertain his neighbours. - Credit: Rachel Mason

The contest has morphed from being UK-based to accepting entries from around the world with submissions pouring in from across Africa, Europe, America and Australia.

Rachel Mason said: “All the support people have given for the festival has been amazing. The number of celebrities sharing it on their social media accounts and promoting Unlock Your Talent has astounded me.”

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There are 46 judges in total, overseeing categories ranging from acting to photography and story writing with judges including the cast of West End musical, Hamilton and The Voice UK winner, Ruti.

The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, showed support for one of the festival’s contestants by sharing an image of Amelia, who entered the art category with her first-ever drawing, as part of her Hold Still project.

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Also, BBC Radio presenter Gaby Roslin invited Rachel on to her show to discuss the festival, calling the project ‘absolutely wonderful’ before offering a prize for one winner.

The prizes currently include professional coaching sessions in art, vocals, dance and photography along with a recording package with Bare Walls Studios.

Each contestant donates £5, £10 or £20 with all entry fees going towards North Somerset-based Vine Counselling Service.

Unlock Your Talent’s deadline for entries has been extended to June 14.

The popularity of Rachel’s festival has taken the mum-of-two by surprise but has not prevented thoughts of a similar project post-lockdown.

Rachel said: “I’ve absolutely loved running the festival but it has taken almost all of my time and energy over the last month-and-a-half.

“I’d love to do something similar again when life is a bit calmer.

“Creative fundraising and promoting good mental health are things very close to my heart.”

For more information on the contest and Vine Counselling log on to

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