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Why Gloucester can become a live music hub for the south west

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 25, 2014

  • Canary Swing

  • Sportbeat festival setting up in Plock Court last summer

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Rikki Hill, of Big Red Music and Events, helped organise the Sportbeat festival. He believes there is a drastic shortfall of entertainment in Gloucester but is working to improve the music scene by developing and encouraging bands and artists. Here, he explains why Gloucester can become a music hub for the area

Gloucester has reason to be proud of its live music scene. But we can do better.

For years the city has been starved of high-quality live music acts but the tide is beginning to turn.

In 2012 my good friend Jody Gooding came to me with an idea to put on a music and sports festival.

Jody won’t mind me saying his area of expertise is sport rather than music and as I am a seasoned festival goer (I attend around three to four festivals each year), I jumped at the chance to help create something positive that the city can be proud of.

In July 2013, after a lot of long hours and hard work, we pulled off a fantastic weekend headlined by acts like The Feeling, The Vamps, The Enemy, The Twang, Turin Brakes and The Lightning Seeds.

In 2014 Sportbeat will be back and we are enticing even bigger acts to come to the city.

I also assist in organising the forthcoming Whitstock Festival which is just outside the city in Whitminster.

This too is planned by great, positive people and will be a show to remember headlined by premium talent.

If you’ve never been to a festival before but always fancied it, Whitstock is for you.

Along the local festival trail, I found that Gloucester has a great deal of people highly motivated to improve and better the city.

I also discovered that our local music scene is improving rapidly, with a lot of excellent acts coming through the ranks.

Canary Swing are a wonderful power pop band who will dazzle you with catchy hooks and dreamy guitars.

Sam Jones is a talented guy who's crafted verse and nifty guitar gives Ed Sheeran a run for his money.

James Patrick Richards was discovered at the Sportbeat Battle of the Bands and his angsty, emotionally powerful talent gets the girls sniffling back tears and the lads claiming “they’ve just got something in their eye”.

King Solomon are a band full of rich reggae spirit. If your worldly worries haven't melted away after a King Solomon gig, there’s something wrong with you.

If you like your rock and punk, Austeros are a band packed with driving drums and bouncingly catchy hooks that you really need to see immediately before they are swept away with fame.

Check Da Cone are a band that will get you dancing all night long to their spirited rock.

Damon T and Solid Gone are integral parts of a thriving Gloucester blues scene that will get your feet tapping and your fingers snapping. All of these acts are examples of a vibrant live music scene.

Local venues like Café Rene work hard to ensure that live music regularly has a place to play, but they are a lone voice.

I want to change that, I believe that Gloucester can be a hub for vibrant live music just like Bristol, Cardiff and Birmingham.

Forthcoming music venue The Institute will become vital in creating that hub of cool musical excellence.

The talent is there, we just need to nurture and inspire more dreamers to pick up instruments and encourage more of our pubs and venues to champion live music.

In winter 2013 I set up an initiative called Big Red Music to improve local music in the area by planning festivals, running gigs at local venues and representing and developing new talent.

Gloucester’s people are crying out for more live entertainment. Big Red want to reach out to pubs and venues in the city by running live music for them. We want to ensure artists aren’t taken advantage of, we want to develop the county’s musically talented people into becoming the best performers they can.

Abbeydale’s Nathan Sykes is getting people dancing around the world as part of The Wanted and we want to make sure he’s joined in his fame by more Gloucester-born singers and musicians.

There is an abundance of talent here in Gloucester, I’ve seen it.

We just need to encourage them onto the stage and make sure local venues give them a place to play.

If you have talent, you can follow Big Red Music on Facebook, or tweet them @bigredmusic0

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3 comments

  • PR_Geeks  |  January 27 2014, 7:07PM

    Rikki, You're doing a great job at promoting live music for our city, we are sure that your events are just going to grow and grow. Let us know if there is anything that you would like us to do to help promote these fantastic events.

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  • Cazatglos  |  January 27 2014, 9:31AM

    Agree with gloscityguy we do not have a venue here. Large music concerts at Plock Court, GRFC etc are good in theory but not in practice - they are in residential areas and cause nothing but a nuisance to neighbours. Unfortunately Bristol have just proposed a music venue to rival the LG Arena and if it goes through they will have the monopoly on the entertainment audience for the South West. Glos needs a venue built close to M5 and away from residential areas to compete - but who will fund it?

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  • gloscityguy  |  January 27 2014, 4:09AM

    Never going to happen, not because there isn't the talent, or that people don't want it. It is because there are no venues here, and the same goes for ever getting big comedy names here, or anything where the talent needs a half decent crowd. We have the Guildhall, that's it. and while it is a great place, it simply isn't big enough to attract big names, we need larger venues like Cheltenham, and then we can start putting on the bigger events and have half a chance of turning Gloucester into a cultural hub

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