October 08th 2023

Celebrating St Helens’ Music: Insights and Aspirations from ‘Let the Music Play’

On the 16th of September, Liverpool City Region Music Board organised its sixth and final ‘Let the Music Play’ consultation event, which was specifically dedicated to the borough of St Helens.

The event was integrated into St Helens Council’s ReCharged Music Festival as a lunchtime session at The World of Glass. It garnered the participation of more than 30 local music professionals, artists, and individuals involved in the local music sector. This event served as an invaluable platform for them to express their insights on the local opportunities and challenges affecting their community.

The event was adeptly led by a distinguished panel, including individuals such as Andy Dockerty, the Managing Director of Adlib; Paul Gallagher, a Heritage Consultant with a specialisation in music and popular culture; Kevin McManus, the Head of Liverpool UNESCO Music City; and Nina Himmelreich, a researcher from The University of Liverpool.

Paul Gallagher, a prominent Board member, commented, “Having attended two of these borough-focused events, it’s abundantly clear how each community possesses unique priorities. As a board, we eagerly anticipate coming together in the near future to consolidate this valuable knowledge into focused priorities and actionable strategies that will ultimately benefit musicians throughout the entire city region.”

The Music Board meticulously documented the insights and perspectives shared by the local participants, an invaluable resource that will significantly shape their forthcoming plans and strategies. Some noteworthy themes and topics emerged from the enriching discussions in St Helens:

  • Citadel Theatre: There was widespread enthusiasm and positivity surrounding the Citadel Theatre for its recent rejuvenation and lineup of various music performances.
  • Borough’s Music Heritage Celebration: Commendation was extended to St Helens council and libraries for their noteworthy celebration of the borough’s rich music heritage.
  • Music Board Directory: Attendees were pleased to learn about the Music Board’s directory, recognising it as an effective tool for fostering collaboration among artists, venues, and organisations within the local music sector.
  • Connecting the Youth: Concerns were raised about the need to bridge the gap and create an infrastructure that connects young individuals to music opportunities and offers them a pathway into the world of music.
  • Promoting Local Music Education: The importance of publicising the local music hub’s efforts in schools was emphasised, especially considering their delivery of an impressive 4,000 music lessons per month in St Helens.
  • Showcasing Local Artists: The question of how to garner more exposure for local artists was a recurring theme.
  • Venue Accessibility: A shortage of suitable venues for local artists, particularly those accommodating 200-500 attendees, was a topic of concern.
  • Original Music Showcase: Local artists expressed frustration with a prevalent preference for cover bands at most local venues, which limits opportunities for showcasing original music.
  • Venue Funding: The notion of securing funding to assist artists and promoters to hire venues for their own gigs was discussed.
  • Rehearsal Studios: The need for more rehearsal studios and effective methods for promoting them to artists were highlighted.
  • Specialist Advice: A call for specialist advice to educate and empower local individuals in setting up and advancing their music careers and businesses was echoed.
  • Local Masterclasses: A desire for local masterclasses on the music industry, mirroring the successful LIMF academy model, was identified.

This insightful gathering in St Helens promises to be instrumental in steering the future of the music scene in the Liverpool City Region, ensuring it continues to thrive and evolve. Please keep checking this website for details about the Music Board’s use and new action plan using these findings.