Call for help on music venues

By <b>Ian Dipple Friday 14 March 2014 Updated: 14/03 11:16

CALLS have been made for more support to be offered to the borough’s music scene.

A growing number of bands, singer/songwriters, choirs and other music groups have reacted with disbelief to research published by boffins at Goldsmiths, University of London which stated Redditch was the least musical place in the UK.

But while they insist Redditch has a wealth of musical talent, they admit their is a lack of rehearsal space, venues to perform at, ways to showcase their work and support connecting promoters, groups and venues.

Steve Hadley opened Death or Glory Records in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre at the start of the year and provides space for about 20 Redditch artists to sell their music, promote themselves and on occasions perform live.

On Sunday (March 9) he held a bands’ forum to discuss the research and find ways to help promote Redditch’s music scene.

Mr Hadley told the Standard playing in pubs was okay but because they needed to make money they favoured tribute acts or covers bands rather than those playing new material.

He added more needed to be done by Redditch Borough Council to develop and support the arts.

“If our schools were failing Ofsted comes in and money gets pumped in, if our hospital was failing investment would happen, what investment is being made in the arts?” he said.

The Liberal Club, Redditch Youth House and Hewell Road Social Club were all once venues bands would perform at but have either been closed or demolished.

Barrie Watts is lead singer with the Old Raskals and said they had to rehearse and record outside of Redditch, while finding suitable venues to perform at was difficult.

“People need to step up and own the problem,” he said.

But a spokeswoman for Redditch Borough Council said while they were not legally obliged to deliver music provision in the area they insisted on doing so through platforms including 20 hours of local music and bands at Morton Stanley Festival, the bandstand events featuring music from a variety of cultures and The Palace Theatre.

“The research in question has not been seen by officers or members but sounds of great interest although we are not too sure of the conclusions or their interpretation. What we are sure of is Redditch is a place full of talented and extraordinary people. We look forward to continuing to work with them to develop their musical talents over the coming years.”

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