Leicester Music Forum
12th May 2014
The Leicester Music Forum met at The Exchange Bar. Trevor Locke reported that The Shed now had a list of its gigs on its website and this is being updated regularly. Work was in hand to create an RSS feed from the Leicester Events Guide.
It was suggested that there should be a special meeting of the Forum for musicians at which they could talk about their issues and concerns as working artists.
A more detailed report can be found on the Facebook Group Page for the Leicester Music Fourm
The next meeting of the Forum will take place on Monday 14th April 2014 at the Musician pub. This will be followed by live music from The City Acoustic club. The meeting will start at 7 pm and is free to attend.
On 20th January, members of Leicester’s music community gathered at The Looking Glass, in Braunstone Gate, for the first meeting of a new forum.
Over 60 people attending the meeting, which was called my music journalist Trevor Locke. The meeting came about because of a series of discussion on Facebook about issues that were of concern to musicians, promoters, venue managers and other concerned with live music in Leicester.
The next meeting of the Forum will take place on
Monday 3rd February
at the Firebug in Millstone Lane, in the upstairs room, beginning at 7:30 pm.
On the 20th January, a range of issues and concerns were raised by those present. These notes portray some of the things that came up, although the whole session was recorded for a more detailed analysis, at a later time.
Sean Tizzard opened the meeting with a breakdown of issues that had been raised on the many threads that had appeared on Facebook. The Leicester Music Forum is an independent event and does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of Music in Leicester.
Attendance at gigs
One issue that received widespread comment was the lack of attendance at live music events. People discussed how to engage the public in live music. One issue was the availability and cost of late night public transport. Others saw the need to make gig guides more widely available to the public, so that information about what is happening and where could be more widely available.
The role of promoters
The responsibility of promoters and musicians in publicising gigs had been extensively comment on in the Facebook threads; some claimed that it should be the responsibility of gig promoters to advertise their shows, whilst others saw this as being something that should be shared between promoters and the bands taking part.
Some musicians had complained of bad practice on the part of certain promoters and suggested that some form of accreditation should be available so that bands can be reassured that they are accepting bookings from a reliable party. Not every agreed that this is feasible and were sceptical about promoters agreeing to participate in such a scheme.
Other argued that there should be a high level of co-ordination between those who put on gigs, mainly to avoid clashes of dates and too many shows being organised on the same night.
Too many gigs
Some participants argued that there were too many gigs happening in Leicester; they commented that there were more gigs than people to attend them. It was suggested that this issue depends on genre; music fans choose the type of music they want and having more than one gig on any one night is not a problem if those gigs offer very different styles of music.
Other felt that there were too many bands and that music fans were in short supply as a result. Similarly, speakers suggested that there are too many venues. The conflict between festivals and venues came into the discussion, some thinking that fans were buying tickets for festivals instead of buying into venue-based events. Some commentators felt that the large number of free-entry gigs detracts from attendance at gigs for which an entry fee is required.
What is it like in other cities?
Several people wanted to know if Leicester’s music scene is in any way different to other cities. Many people said that Leicester had an incredibly good array of bands and music artists but that national talent scouts were not coming here to discover them.
Examples were given of places where promoters and gig organised had agreed to co-ordinate their work, so that all of them were better off and collectively attracting the maximum number of fans for their programmes.
What has The Council ever done for us?
The role of Leicester City Council cropped in several comments and discussions. Some claimed that our local authority has done little for live music in the city. Other called for more publicity to be given by the Council to live music. Several people called for the Council to play a role in urging the bus companies to provide late night transport. Speakers from venues were concerned about the over-bearing regulations concerned with noise. Comments were made about the focus, or lack of it, that has been given to music in Leicester’s recent bid to become the UK City of Culture in 2017.
It was reported that attention had already been given to the public display of posters for gigs, in the city centre. Other expressed their concern about the ban placed on the distribution of leaflets on the streets.
Where to go next?
Generally, participants thought that the Forum should be continued but were concerned that some actions should flow from these discussions. It was suggested that one or more working groups could be formed to tackle some of the subjects that required detailed technical examination.
There was widespread support for the development of gig guides – either through using existing resources, or though setting up new ones. Individuals urged that there should be a combination of on-line and paper-based guides because not every is either on the Internet or using the right channels on it, if they are. One commentator argued that there should be one ‘space’ through which all venues could publicise their shows. A working group on publicity for gigs might be able to get into this subject in some detail and report back with recommendations.
There was support for the idea of having an annual show-case that would highlight local musical talent to the UK as well as to local people. If such an initiative is to take place, organisers should not be entrenched in ‘silos’ but should ensure that all aspects of the local music community should be represented. The idea of having a ‘brand’ for live music would help to give this aspect of the arts greater impact and create a voice for the music community.
As stated earlier, a more detailed report on the first meeting is being prepared. This has been a selective run-down of the meeting’s discussion to give a flavour of what was discussed.
The Leicester Music Forum is not run by ArtsIn Productions and takes place independently of any body or organisation.
Our feature article: The Future of Live Music in Leicester.
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