Music Venues Sub Group

News from the 'Music Venues' sub-group, who meet regularly to focus on the Board’s key priority of ‘Ensuring a sustainable and strong network of venues and to work with local authorities across the city region to introduce and implement the Agent of Change principle.’

August 30th 2023

Mastering Open Mic Nights: Advice for artists

Liverpool’s own singer-songwriter, Matt Decombe, shares valuable insights in this blog article. He offers guidance to fellow artists on effectively capitalising on the prospects that stem from participating in open mic nights.

Open mic nights can be a fantastic way for artists to develop their performance skills, to network within a local music industry and to create new opportunities for themselves.

I am a developing artist myself under the name ‘MATTERS’ and as part of my Masters research I curated a list of tips for how artists can approach open mic nights in Liverpool to further their careers. I am sure you will find this advice useful if you are planning on attending one yourself. It can be a nerve-wracking thing to do but anyone who performs at one should definitely be proud of themselves!

  1. Go to lots of different open mics

There are a huge variety across the city, all offering a different experience. Some allow covers, others only accept original material. Some are very social, others are quieter and artist focused. Some are acoustic in a small room, others you’re up on stage. Don’t end up in a clique at one venue, push yourself to explore and grow.

  1. Network

Network at each open mic. Congratulate acts who have done a good job, congratulate acts who mess up, swap social media handles. Thank the host and get speaking to them, they are a fountain of knowledge and may have some hints and

tips for you as well as opportunities. You may find a future producer or collaborator or even paid gigs; this happens often.

  1. Artist Development

Open mics are a great space to improve your performance skills and to test new material. If a song isn’t working, ask your audience for genuine feedback. If the audience isn’t responding in a way that you wish e.g. talking during your performance, don’t berate them. Think about how you can engage them with eye contact and movement. Audience interaction between songs is also a big part of the artist’s development.

  1. Attendance

Turn up on time, if not early. Open mics are starting to get over subscribed so guarantee your slot. Stay the whole evening and be respectful of the other performers. If you’re not present for other people’s performances, you can’t expect the same back.

  1. Friends

Bring friends along to support. They can take photos and videos that you can use on social media, but they can also provide support and the venues will also appreciate the extra drinks sales.

  1. Attitude.

Don’t be apologetic during your performance. Be confident, yet humble. If you make a mistake, laugh it off and keep on going. Don’t be selfish. Play the number of songs that the venue allows, if the audience chant for more, which does happen, and the host allows it feel free to play more, but don’t demand more than what the host can offer.

  1. Keep things fresh

Switch up your set-list, it will get boring for your audience and peers if you go and perform the same songs all the time, at the same venue. Push yourself to expand and play with new ideas.

  1. Song releases

If you’re releasing new material, think about how you can engage with open mics in the run up to the release to promote your song. Artists also organise song release events and launches at music venues too.

  1. Prepare

Prepare well. Rehearsing beforehand will mean you are confident in your presentation. It may be worth contacting the venue to see what equipment you may need to bring.

  1. Have Fun

Lastly, have fun! It can be easy to put pressure on yourself but remember everyone is there to grow and have a good time!

August 09th 2023

Now over 500 live music venues mapped

We’ve reached a significant milestone in our project: successfully mapping more than 500 live music venues across our city region.

This achievement owes a huge debt of gratitude to the responsiveness of the venues themselves, as well as the dedicated research team at The University of Liverpool. Through our collaborative research efforts and the insightful borough-focused consultation events, we’ve now proudly documented a grand total of 504 venues on our dynamic digital map.

The map showcases an eclectic array of venues, each with its own distinct character and purpose. With just a few clicks, you can explore the map, filtering by location and venue type (i.e. pubs, concert halls and stadiums).

But we’re not stopping here. Our journey continues as we delve deeper into this mapping project. Our next step involves spotlighting those venues that offer open mic nights. These are the stages where grassroots talents truly shine, giving them a vital platform to showcase their artistry and get their music heard.
Stay tuned for more updates as we bring this evolving map to life…

#MappingMusic #CitySoundscapes #AmplifyingTalent

May 20th 2023

We’ve Mapped over 400 Music Venues across Liverpool City Region

The digital map of Liverpool City Region’s live music venues has been updated to now include over 400 live music venues across the region.

The map aims to illustrate the breadth of live music offering in the region; to be used as a tool by promoters and other professionals in the live music sector to find hosting spots for their shows; and for the LCR Music Board to generate data insights that can be used to support the local music eco-system and the development of policies.

In addition to the map’s previous features, which include detailing each venue’s precise location and categorising the venues, the map now enables users to filter the list of venues based on their capacity, and whether live music provision is core to the premises’ business. We’ve also added a filter that shows the venues which host Open Mic Nights in the city region; up to now we’ve identified 19 of these venues, but we’re sure there are more. If you know of any Open Mic Nights we’ve not already listed on the map, get in touch using the details below.

The map is an ongoing project, with more filter options and developments in the pipeline. We are want to ensure that all lesser know venues and those outside of Liverpool City Centre are well represented, and so we welcome information about these venues, so that they can be added to the map.

To add a venue, complete this quick form:

If an existing venue has incorrect or out of date information displayed, please email and we will amend accordingly.

May 15th 2023

About the Music Venues Sub-Group

The LCR Music Board Venues Sub Group, is a collaboration of Music Board members and individuals from across the region who represent or are involved with one or more local music venue.

The sub-group aims to strengthen connections and communication between venue owners and promoters throughout the city region, while establishing effective ways of working together for the benefit of venues, related organisations, their staff, artists and punters.

This group aligns with the music board priority of ‘Ensuring a sustainable and strong network of venues and to work with local authorities across the city region to introduce and implement the Agent of Change principle’ and is currently chaired by Louise Nulty, manager of The Studio in Widnes.

Other voluntary sub-group members include Mat Flynn University of Liverpool Music Industry Lecturer, Saad Shaffi of 24 Kitchen Street, Ian Thomas from the British Arts Council, Andy Dockerty of Adlib and ‘We Make Events’, Craig Pennington from Birkenhead’s Future Yard, Mike Walsh the UK head of Strategic Partnerships at Serenade; and they are supported by Sarah Lovell from Liverpool Combined Authority and Kevin McManus and Cathy Skelly from Liverpool City Council.

The venues sub group has already hosted industry events in the region, including the ‘Keeping LCR music venues on the map’ event at the Philharmonic Hall Music Room; and they have played a vital role in the ‘Let the Music Play’ roadshow of events, taking part in each of the six LCR boroughs.

A key project managed by the sub-group is the digital mapping project, led by Mat Flynn and research students at the University of Liverpool.

Mat said: “The recent forthright of Eurovision festivities has shown the world Liverpool’s love for live music. The LCR Music Board’s music venues map identifies over 400 places and spaces where residents and visitors go to enjoy gigs and shows every week of the year. These venues are the foundation of the LCR’s music economy, and our aim is to continue to develop the map to better understand, inform and represent the sector.”

Reacting to insight from venue owners and gig-goers across the city region, the sub-group has also dedicated time to creating a proposal and lobbying for the reintroduction of a Night Bus, which will improve access to and from venues in several of the LCR boroughs. We look forward to revealing more about this project shortly.