Artists unite to discuss how the city’s live music scene can bounce back from the pandemic

The music industry is notoriously competitive and one of the most difficult sectors to break into. To create or curate music or put on live events takes hard work, dedication, and thinking outside the box.

Although it can feel like a struggle at times it is by no means impossible to find your way into the industry and those powering it are passionate and innovative.

The music and live events sector has been one of the worst-hit by the pandemic. However, we have seen an outpouring of inventive ideas which have kept creative people doing what they love.

From live-stream sessions and virtual shows to discovering new methods of creating visibility, there have been a lot of discoveries which could help the sector recovery post-Covid.

Business & IP Centre Manchester (BIPC) has teamed up with the Business & IP Centre Leeds to bring together a diverse group of inspiring music industry professionals for an in-depth discussion on the future of the UK’s live music scene. The virtual panel event takes place on Wednesday, January 27 and it is free to attend.

Martyn Walsh, bass player for Inspiral Carpets and music industry consultant, will be part of the discussion

The event will be hosted by Manchester’s Martyn Walsh, the bassist for Inspiral Carpets and music industry business advisor. The speakers will include DJ NikNak, Mix-Stress, Jay Taylor, Lola Mitchell and David Gedge.

Martyn told us that although he has put on many workshops and seminars, this will be his first virtual panel event.

He said: “There is loads of information out there for people wanting a career in the music industry, but it’s how you apply that information which is important. I’ve been fortunate to make money being a musician and it’s part of my role to share the knowledge that I’ve gained.

“The way we approach live music events is going to change, and this affects the punters. Without punters, there is no live music scene so it’s important to discuss what those changes are going to be and how we can make live events and the music industry more accessible.

“The Manchester music scene, in particular, can suffer from the weight of its music heritage. We don’t give new bands the time to develop and for new people that can be a weight hanging on them. We’ve had some incredible acts come out of Manchester, but I think Manchester needs to step away from being four white guys with guitars.

I’m proud of our heritage, but I don’t want us to bog down our young talent with it. That’s also what this event is about.”

Mix-Stress, founder and resident DJ of arts collective Rebecca Never Becky, will be part of the event
Mix-Stress, founder and resident DJ of arts collective Rebecca Never Becky, will be part of the event

The virtual event is part of the BIPC’s National Network Reset. Restart programme, which offers support to local businesses which have been affected by Covid-19. Nicole Raymond, also known as DJ NikNak, was running events and playing gigs before the pandemic but has now started making podcasts.

The 30-year-old said: “Before all this I would have been working at the BBC, doing my show on a Monday night. I would be taking up gigs, playing in a few bars, doing support sets. I would also be running some events and promoting non-male DJs – you know, doing my bit.

“I was due to perform in Newcastle, Brighton, Belgium. I also had a jazz festival coming up.

“Everything got cancelled so I thought: ‘Okay, what can I do now?’ It took a while for everything to sink in.”

David Gedge, a musician and record label owner, will be offering his advice on the panel
David Gedge, Wedding Present frontman and record label owner, will be offering his advice on the panel

Nicole wants the virtual event to offer artists hope for the future. The music industry is a tight-knit community and musicians are ready to help each other out.

She said: “There has been throughout this whole saga many confusing moments. I think it is important to have this conversation, especially with things in the industry changing all the time.

“We’ll be talking about funding, and how there is a whole range of stuff out there for creators. There will be a lot of people there with different experiences, we’ll have an opportunity to talk about where we go from here.

“If you are able to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities you will find them. Right now you need to be able to accommodate and know that things have changed, you have to adapt and go with it.

“Keep going, it’s very easy to stop and feel like you can’t do it. I’ve been there a few times myself, but I have an inherent love for what I do.

“Don’t let the pandemic discourage you from doing what you love – there is a strong community of musicians and there are all sorts of careers out there. Stay connected with people, and don’t give up.”

How do I get involved in Reset. Restart?

The event takes place on Wednesday, January 27 at 6pm.

It is free to attend, and you can register for the event here.

Once you register you will receive a link to attend the online event.