WHAT WE'RE ABOUT
Music Venues are shutting down rapidly due to high overheads, restricting licensing laws and dwindling audiences. Some have even declared that “live music is dead”. We’re proving this is not true. There has been a movement to save iconic venues - Music Venues Trust - and we attended the Venues Day conference in November 2015 at the Ministry of Sound. The Minister of Culture, Ed Vaizey, also attended the event and it seems there will be some changes in Licensing and funding made available to small venues. This is a much needed venture, but sadly in Manchester it is already too late for some venues such as The Road House.
The venues that remain in Manchester such as 02 Arena and Band on the Wall are great - however they are very much for bands and musicians further in their career. Bands and musicians just starting off find it increasingly hard to find places to play, as alongside venues closing so are pubs, the ones remaining open such as Wetherspoons choosing not to showcase live music.
We actively try to support small independent venues especially ones in unusual areas and many of the venues we have worked with find they benefit from having Swing & Shout as we introduce new people to their spaces who then return for other events. We have repeatedly created a space for artists to showcase their work to an audience of between 80 - 500 people and we have personally catered to the uniqueness of each space to present it in the best way and open up peoples possibilities to how spaces can be used. For example, we held a gig in First Chop Brewery in Salford and used the arches as a small outdoor stage. More recently we did a pop-up Christmas gig in the back of a container as the pub was too small to facilitate a whole band. We also tailor our line-up to attract people from the local area and make sure we engage with local groups and media by offering free guest lists and attending nearby events in the run up.
We support new music fully and are always looking out for new acts to promote - for example we gave Omit Sleep their first gig last year and a few more since, due to being spotted at our Christmas Party they are now performing at Kendal Calling. Our next event is in Moss Side and we have found a vibrant and local 17 piece Afrobeat band -Kalakuta.
We are positive that there is enough momentum for there to be support for small music venues in the longterm future, in the short term however venues are closing rapidly and in the meantime it seems to be up to a network of promoters to keep the scene going helping bands develop by putting on gigs with good audience attendance. As musicians ourselves, we know there is nothing more disheartening then driving two hours for an unpaid gig only to play to a room of two people who are not actually there to see you.
Our gigs never have and never will be like this for either our performers or the audience. That’s why we always have a meal we’ve cooked ourselves for every person performing and helping out, a green room, travel expenses, payment and most importantly; an engaged audience. We want everyone involved - audience, bands, venue owners - to have a good time and realise that local live music is worth supporting.
Venues we have worked with:
Nook & Cranny
First Chop Brewery
Underland / 1 Primrose St
The Old Abbey Taphouse
The Big Western
The Fallow Cafe