By: Damian Robinson
Bono, the man who seems to single handily divide music lovers, once summarised the importance of music by making the case that ‘music can change the world because it can change people.’ He surely has a point.
Love him or loath him, Bono’s credentials for creating meaningful music focused on deep global issues are second to none, perhaps none more so that on the haunting 1987 track ‘Running to stand still’ with its narrative capturing the impacts that a recession, and lack of employment, can have on people and communities.
It’s a theme we should try to never forget, especially when we consider that almost 30 years on from that track, and 10 from the 2007 UK recession, the social landscape of the UK is now deeper in poverty and at slower rate of ‘true’ growth than any time in the past 50 years. Perhaps the true picture of the UK is the one related to the fact that last year alone over 1 million food parcels were collected from UK food banks.
Leading the fight back against the recession, and unemployment, has been the small business community and since 2007, 70% of all employment in the UK economy has come from start-up and scale up sized businesses, a true testimony to the belief that it’s not the largest companies that build our economy and provide employment; it’s the smallest.
But this growth can come at considerable personal cost. Recent statistics about the small business community demonstrate the price, and sacrifice, that small business owners provide when running their business: over 20% of small business owners work more than 70 hours a week, more than 50% work every weekend, over 55% don’t take their full holiday allowance and over 70% have used their life savings, or re-mortgaged, to finance their business. In an attempt to bring awareness to a topic sometimes criticised for being dry and earnest, Consett Festival, now in its fifth year, tries to use music - the thing that can change the world - to raise the profile of the small business community and promote the challenges of small business ownership.
Led by former small business owner Brad Wilkinson, the non-profit, volunteer-ran festival aims to create a family-friendly event focused around live music and the local community. Brad explained the core purpose of the event was about raising awareness, not just about the importance of the small business community, but also the local businesses in the area: “The festival gives small businesses with an even smaller budget the opportunity to show people from within their own community the services that are available and perhaps sell products directly or just raise awareness of their services”.
Sound tracked by over 20 musical acts, including Ska Mania, Sin City, Colonel Kilgore’s Soul Team and the Adam Carter ‘Elvis’ act, the festival aims for music to connect the whole event, provide family-friendly entertainment and provide the stimulus for change.
Building on last year’s success, Brad and the team have expanded the scope of the 2017 festival offering over 40 stalls including a food court marquee, a bottle bar and a record store, as well as promising that any leftover proceeds are distributed throughout local charities and youth activities. With small businesses being central to all of our futures, and sound tracked by musical talent, Consett Festival is a great local event to provide your support to.
Consett Festival takes place between June 3rd-4th at Consett AFC. Tickets are priced £7.00 (Sat 3rd) and £5.00 (Sun 4th) for over 18s. For 13-17 year olds, tickets are priced £4.00 (Sat 3rd) and £3.00 (Sun 4th). Children under 13 are free to attend all weekend. Early bird and family weekend tickets are also available. Tickets are available at a number of outlets including consettfestival.co.uk.
Like the article? Share it with your friends.