September 03rd 2023

Fostering Local Music Growth: Insights from Knowsley Consultation Event

Liverpool City Region Music Board recently hosted it’s borough-focused ‘Let the Music Play’ consultation event for Knowsley, which took place at Deanes House in Prescot. The event provided an invaluable platform for music professionals, artists, and industry stakeholders to voice their perspectives on local opportunities and challenges.

The significance of each borough within the city region and their unique contributions to the music sector were duly acknowledged by the Music Board. The event was steered by member of the LCR Music Board, Andy Dockerty, Managing Director of Adlib; Kevin McManus, Head of Liverpool UNESCO Music City; Nina Himmelreich, a researcher from The University of Liverpool; and Sarah Lovell, Lead Officer for Culture at Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Andy Dockerty, a board member and Managing Director of Adlib, a Knowsley-based business, commented: “It was encouraging to see the amount and quality of people who turned out to express their concerns and observations for the Knowsley Music Industry. It was interesting to hear the local perspectives and requirements for the music sector in Knowsley and on a personal note it was great to chat with some music industry legends that in some cases I haven’t seen in for decades.”

In addition to shedding light on ongoing initiatives such as the Venues Map, the event fostered open dialogues between attendees and the Music Board members. Participants seized the opportunity to pose questions, voice concerns, and seek valuable guidance from seasoned industry experts.

Local artist Elanor Nelly not only provided entertainment at the event but also contributed significantly to roundtable discussions. Her insights and suggestions for better supporting local artists were well-received.The insights gathered during the consultation were meticulously documented by the Music Board and will play a pivotal role in shaping future plans and strategies. These strategies are aimed at ensuring the sustainable development of the local music industry in Knowsley and the broader Liverpool City Region.

Key themes emerged from the discussions, encompassing concerns and constructive suggestions:

  1. Youth Opportunities: Concerns were voiced about limited work experience and job opportunities within the music sector, particularly for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.
  2. Youth Training: The ‘Encord’ initiative, which supported musical training for young people, received praise. Attendees suggested its revival or the introduction of a similar youth training program.
  3. Transport Accessibility: Limited transportation options in and out of areas like Prescot were noted, posing challenges for night-time visitors to and from the borough.
  4. Positive Feedback on Events: Positive feedback was shared about Knowsley Festival and council events at the leisure centre, indicating an audience for live music. However, the lack of suitable indoor venues remain a concern.
  5. Austerity Impact: Knowsley’s vulnerability to austerity measures was highlighted, with ripple effects on the local music scene.
  6. Original Music Opportunities: Local artists expressed frustration with a preference for bands to do covers at most local venues, limiting opportunities for showcasing original music.
  7. Venue Capacity: Limited venues catering to capacities of around 80-100 people, which are ideal for grassroots artists and promoters, were identified as a gap.
  8. New Music Venues: A demand for new music venues to support emerging musicians, akin to Future Yard, was articulated. The possibility of modifying existing venues or creating new ones was discussed.
  9. Venues Map Expansion: Positive feedback on the Music Board’s venues map was shared, with attendees eager to see it expanded.

These insights, rooted in the experiences and aspirations of local music enthusiasts, provide a solid foundation for the Music Board’s future endeavors in nurturing the vibrant music ecosystem of Knowsley and the wider Liverpool City Region.