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Thursday, June 13, 2024
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EditorialsUp Front 09/11

Up Front 09/11

For many years in my youth I spent a lot of time enjoying live music. There was obviously no internet in those days and seeing bands often meant trips down the M4 to wait in long queues at places like the Hammersmith Odeon, the Palais, the Roundhouse or a range of other concert venues. At least two or three time a week there was the option to pay a relatively small admission fee to watch good music at local pubs, and with a bit of careful organising, a trip to a summer festival such as Reading or Knebworth was a highlight. For someone on a trainee salary it was an expensive business but as a single person with no responsibilities it was an adventure, socially interactive and undoubtedly socially educational also. A few weeks ago I went to Camp Bestival in Lulworth and along with thousands of other parents watched my children enjoy a huge range of live music during a weekend festival. It looked like a very successful weekend for the organisers and seemed to prove that there is a healthy appetite for live music in the Dorset area. However that appetite doesn’t necessarily filter down to the musicians and local music venues, where young – and not so young – musicians spend many hours playing to a largely unpaying audience. According to a new report, ‘Scene and Heard’: Dorset’s Music Industry, commissioned by Creative Dorset; live music locally is largely funded by the pubs and the musicians themselves. The report points out that, of the more than 400 venues offering live music, there is rarely a cover charge and consequently many musicians are earning an estimated £25 for up to 6 hours work, and that doesn’t include rehearsal time, use of PA or transport. From the venue’s point of view, experience has told them that an admission fee is not an option, and many offer music as an investment in retaining customers. The report points out that this hardly suggests an industry in good health and recommends that Dorset’s music industry should not be left out of future funding plans. With promos already starting for this winter’s X-Factor it’s worth remembering that real music is a million miles away from the TV glitz and needs as much support as we can give it.

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