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4 Jul 2010

Should Artsin run gigs in Leicester?

Should Arts in Leicestershire put on gigs?

Tell us what YOU think by leaving a comment.

Here are the issues:

1. So far we have only LOST money by putting on gigs.

Promoting gigs is a difficult business. The main costs are hiring a venue and hiring bands to play. It's very difficult to find venues that will hire themselves out on a ticket income basis. Most want some kind of flat fee. That means there is a risk of making a loss.

2. One off gigs require a lot of promotion. It is suggested that if we have a monthly gig, then people will get to know about and it will become a favoured event for rock music fans.

Yes, if we can get the right venue and the right bands. Not easy in Leicestershire. It also involves a lot of work. The more time we spend organising gigs the less time we spend producing the magazine. There is a finite amount of time available and our priority is updating the web site on a daily basis. Just listing gigs for other venues and promoters takes up about 7 hours a week.

3. If your gigs worked well it might make money for the magazine - then you could afford to pay people to work on the content.

Nice idea but a big IF. If we were able to make money from putting on gigs, it would not be much and if we paid it all back out hiring writers, we would be not much better off. The alternative is to work with existing promoters - and there are a few good ones - who could put on gigs backed by the magazine and we would pay back in publicity. The only purpose for doing things that way would be to put on bands that we wanted to showcase and maybe attract industry presence. or we could promote a particular style of music - such as Ska, Metal, new music that is under-represented in the current offering of gigs.

4. The market is for gigs is already saturated and will become worse as we head into the autumn and the opening of more new venues.

On prime nights like Saturday and Friday, there is already, often, a choice of gigs and still not enough fans to go round. Gigs with ticketed entry are in comptetition with those offering free entry. If people want to go out to a show, they are often spoilt for choice.

5. Is there a big market for rock gigs, compared to say, hip hop or drum and bass?

That's difficult, some gigs attract a decent crowd but we know so little about other genres of music and the following they attract. On some nights you could see as many as 500 people going out to gigs in Leicester but its not likely to be much more than that. It needs a bit of research.

6. The reason people don't go to gigs is because there are so many crap bands and crap lineups, they can't be bothered.

Yes, I have heard this said many times. There is truth in it: some lineups are random with metal bands being put on with pop bands and no thought being given to how well those bands fit together. Yes, there are crap bands that no one wants to go out to hear but listen, we see very good bands playing to tiny audiences. There doesn't seem to be any connection between the musical quality of a band and the number of people who will pay to see them play. It's also a well known fact that some good bands play Leicester far too often. They can't sustain audience figures because they play too many times in a month and their gigs are too close together.

7. People want to see BIG bands and will pay good money to go to Birmingham or Nottigham to see them.

So I believe. This might change when the O2 Academy opens in Leicester and some promoters are trying hard to bring bigger bands to town but its a risky business. One factor is that the venues in other cities are of a much higher standard than many of those in Leicester. Bigger bands can't come to Leicester because we do not yet have big enough venues to put them in. That is about to change but it's where we are at now.

7 Apr 2010

Jonathan Jones - comment

Guardian Blogger Jonathan Jones argues that no one would decide which party to vote for, based on their policy for the arts, alone. Well obviously. But the point is that there will be many people who are undecided which way they will vote. There are many substantial issues which will decide the outcome of the election and many issues that each voter might want to address when deciding where to place their tick. My line is that the arts is not the "cultural comforts of the middle class" but something that is the heritage of all people, in whatever class they think they are.

But there are many more crucial arts issues than great paintings or funding for the BBC. The arts contributes to health and social cohesion, as we have covered in the main body of Arts in Leicestershire. Community Arts projects have helped thousands of disadvantaged people in Leicestershire alone. When we think "arts" we will hopefully see the wider picture and not just see paintings in the National Gallery or costume dramas on the telly.

When it comes to schools, jobs and health, artists have contributed a great deal. The interest group for arts activities in the general public. Everyone benefits in some way or other.

Election news 2010 - what people are saying


Arts Council Chief Executive Alan Davey urges local authorities to maintain their investment in the arts. He argues that the arts confers economic and social benefits and can play an ever greater roles in the success of local communities.

Even though public finance will be under great pressure, the arts can deliver great benefit, he argued, in a recent speech. He pointed to examples of the arts contributing a great deal to local economies.

His full speech is on the Arts Council's web site

The General election and the arts

The UK General Election has been announced for 6th May.

Now is a good time to ask questions about how the political parties intend to support the arts. The hustings are a time when people who are concerned about the arts ask the political parties and their candidates about their policies for the arts.

Here are some questions we would like to ask:

(1) What support will your party give to the arts?

(2) Does your party have a policy about the arts and in particular the role that the arts can play in the economy and in developing social cohesion?

(3) Where does the arts stand in your general system of priorities?

(4) Who do you think benefits from the arts in the community? What benefits does the arts confer on various segments of our community?

(5) Will your party continue support for the Arts Council? How will your party support the Arts Council?

(6) How do you think the arts can be enabled to become more diverse and inclusive?

These are general questions that apply nationally. No doubt there are many more more questions that could be asked and hopefully readers will add their comments.

In particular, we would like to receive comments from people who have asked questions about the arts and what replies candidates have given.

We will also want to ask those questions to candidates standing in Leicester and Leicestershire.