Teesside Music Charity, Tees Music Alliance (TMA), has received a welcome boost to develop local musicians and audiences, following on from a £1.4M refurbishment of their much-loved music venue, The Georgian Theatre in Stockton-on-Tees.
Arts Council England announced a £59,612 award to TMA under its Grants for The Arts funding scheme towards a £103,384 project to assist the not-for-profit music promoters in developing a network of local artists, promoters, and venues, to strengthen the music scene across Teesside.
Over the next 12 months, TMA will focus on a range of initiatives aimed at increasing the profile of local, original artists – offering a music industry mentoring service to advise and guide emerging musicians. Young musicians, in particular, will be offered support – in addition to encouraging younger people to come into local venues and support live music.
A network of local promoters is being formed, with plans in place to combine expertise and ideas to further strengthen an already exciting series of locally produced and promoted events – flying the flag for Teesside.
Tees Music Alliance CEO, Paul Burns, says: “This is a really great show of faith in the Tees live music scene and illustrates that we’re able to punch above our weight compared to some of the bigger northern cities – many of which have long established music infrastructures in place.
“We’re working under no illusions and we know that pulling together the kind of networks that produce successful music scenes in other parts of the country won’t be achieved overnight. What we’re hoping to do is show some strong seeds for future growth; building confidence amongst local artists, promoters, venues and audiences together with local media offering support and pulling everyone together to give live music on Teesside a regular buzz.”
The project will partly focus on people aged between 14 and 25 who are either looking to write and perform their own songs or who want to attend more live music events as audience members but don’t know where to go or who to see.
TMA’s Programming and Production Manager, Chris Cobain, explains: “From initial discussions we’ve been having, it can be quite uncomfortable for some people to just to walk into a gig not knowing what to expect. Young people particularly may only have the experience of those huge arena shows with ‘in your face’ merchandising and big ticket artists appearing as tiny figures on a faraway stage or a big screen.
“We want to demonstrate that playing or supporting live music at its grassroots is a completely different experience.
“There’s a great atmosphere at a grassroots gig – it looks, feels, sounds and smells different to an online video – but if you’ve never attended a gig in a small, intimate venue it can appear quite daunting. It’s not, and we want to encourage people to give it a go – they’ll be hooked from that point onwards.”
Elsewhere, the new project will link up with venues of a similar size and ethos to The Georgian Theatre to promote greater collaboration and better opportunities for emerging artists and promoters.
For more information on the project please visit www.teesmusicalliance.org.uk or ring 01642 606525.
Anyone interested can also find Tees Music Alliance on Facebook and Twitter.