May 09th 2023

Let the Music Play: Halton

On Friday 21st April Liverpool City Region Music Board hosted its first ‘Let the Music Play’ consultation event, at The Studio in Widnes.

We invited music professional, artists and anyone working in the music sector in Halton to attend the event; helping the Board to understand the various opportunities and constraints they’re facing locally.

The Music Board recognises the importance of each borough to the city region and their unique contributions to the music sector, and so these consultation events will take place in all six Liverpool City Region boroughs.

The event was hosted by members of the LCR Music Board, including Halton’s representative, Louise Nulty, Project Manager at The Studio; Dr Mathew Flynn, lecturer at the University of Liverpool; Jennifer Johnston, Opera Singer; Andy Dockerty, MD of Adlib; Paul Gallagher, Heritage Consultant for music and popular culture and Sarah Lovell, Lead Officer for Culture at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Louise Nulty said: “As the Halton representative on the Music Board I was delighted to host the first of these consultation events. We want to celebrate the talent we have here in Halton, and ensure that our voice is heard. As a Board we will use the feedback and ideas suggested to support the music infrastructure and develop talent in Halton and across the city region.

As well as explaining the ongoing work of the Music Board, in particular the Venues Map, the event provided an opportunity for local music professionals and businesses to ask the Board questions, voice their concerns and ask for advice.

All the comments made were documented by the Music Board and will be used to develop their future plans and strategies. Common themes/topics included:

  • Rent and planning issues pushing creatives out of Halton’s Baltic town ceentre
  • Need for more talent development and more music played in schools
  • How can we encourage more young people to consider music as a profession?
  • Need for more rehearsal spaces and open mic nights
  • More support needed to help grassroots artists and opportunities to perform locally
  • The limited transport links to Halton, including Widnes and Runcorn, acting as a barrier.
  • Would like to see more collaborations between venues
  • Local professionals/artists were keen to meet and work together, and also to regularly feed into the Music Board.
  • Agreement at a ‘no pay to play’ labelling would be a useful addition to the Venues Map
  • Encourage more young people to leave their homes to watch and appreciate live music
  • Fear that most local artists leave for Liverpool, where there are more opportunities

The consultation event concluded with the launch of a new monthly music night ‘Live @ The Studio Widnes’ that promotes original music and supports musicians both locally and further afield. Performers on the night included local band The Chimps, singer-songwriter Sam Lyon, Manchester based ‘string rippa’ Kirk McElhinney and the headline act was Whiston born, singer-songwriter and musician, Natalie McCool.

In coming weeks the Music Board will share details of the other consultation events across the city region, keep checking our website for information.