33 ‘free gig’ North West concerts announced

June 11th, 2013

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Communities Minister Don Foster has today announced the locations of 330 free concerts this summer across England, bringing people from all backgrounds together to listen to the best local musicians.

They include events at Victoria Park in Widnes, Cheshire; Windermere Library Gardens in Cumbria; The Lowry in Salford, Greater Manchester; Chatburn Pavillion and Playing Fields in Lancashire; and Vale Park Bandstand in Wirral, Merseyside.

The concerts will be free for everyone – the audience and the musicians – and will take place at a wide variety of venues suitable for all ages from churches and cafés to parks and pubs, as well as a mosque, a Roman palace and a rugby club.

With over 200,000 people due to attend, the concerts – which run from 11 to 14 July – are expected to draw even bigger crowds in total than events such as Glastonbury.

The events will include nine ‘super concerts’ in city centre venues that can handle and attract bigger audiences and an even wider range of acts.

As well as seeing live performances people will be able to have a go at music themselves with activities including drumming workshops, making their own instruments to form an orchestra and playing a giant xylophone.

The competition to host concerts was launched at St Pancras’s ‘Station Sessions’ in April, featuring Don Foster on ukulele and the Olympics opening ceremony ‘Pandemonium’ drummers.

Last year 200,000 people attended 224 community-led performances on the closing day of the Paralympics. This summer Our Big Gig is set to play to even more crowds with 330 concerts being planned.

Don Foster said:

“This summer hundreds of thousands of people across the country are going to see fantastic local performers play a huge variety of music from around the world right on their own doorstep, sometimes for the first time, and get to know other members of their community better into the bargain.”

“This shows once again that our Olympic legacy will be remembered not just as an excellent sporting event, but as something that continues to bring people from all different backgrounds together.

“The government pledged that the games’ legacy would carry on and events like Our Big Gig, free and open to everybody, are making good on this promise.”

Our Big Gig is organised by the Superact arts organisation, with the Department for Communities and Local Government as the main sponsor.  The programme is part of the UK Government’s Olympics legacy commitment and builds on the Bandstand Marathon.

Katharine Lane of Superact said:

“We have been overwhelmed by the amazing response from communities wanting to get involved in Our Big Gig this year. Our network of regional managers have been recruiting local volunteers for the past six weeks and have programmed a diverse range of musical activities up and down the country.

“Thanks to support from DCLG and Arts Council all events are free for local people to go along to and we really hope that people will be inspired to get involved in music making after attending an Our Big Gig event in July.”

To find out more, including the list of gig locations, go to Our Big Gig website: www.superact.org.uk/ourbiggig

The following events are taking place in the North West:

Cheshire: Warrington & District Youth Orchestral Society, Bridgewater High School, Appleton; Alsager Music Festival, Milton Park; Bickerton Youth Music Group, Bickerton Village Hall; Moulton Village Hall; Score Creative Education, Orford; and The Studio/Access All Areas, Victoria Park, Widnes

Cumbria: MusicLinks, Windermere Library Gardens; and Soundwave, Harbourside Gazebo, Whitehaven

Greater Manchester: Anvil Street Drummers, Mesnes Park, Wigan; Cadence Cafe, Tyldesley; Irwell Valley Housing Association, Haughton Green; Oxjam Bury, Bury Town Hall; Salford Music Festival, The White Horse, Eccles; Salford Musicians, Wangies, Eccles; Soul Inspiration Gospel Choir, Cross Keys Barn, Oldham; Square 1 Studios, Oldham; Starlight Performing Arts Academy, Hazel Grove; The Broughton Trust, The Lowry, Salford Quays; Wigan Youth Zone

Lancashire: Hyndburn Arts Trust, Rhyddings Park, Oswaldtwistle; Oakhill Park, Accrington; Salsa North West, St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Chorley; The Arts Partnership, The Community Centre, Chorley; The Engine Rooms, Skelmersdale; Chatburn Pavillion and Playing Fields; Friends of Jean Stansfield, Poulton-Le-Fylde

Merseyside: Culture Liverpool, Williamson Square Bandstand, Liverpool; EnChord, Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, Huyton; Vale Park Bandstand, Wirral; Promoting Art In Aintree, University Hospitals, Liverpool; St Helens Central Library; Sefton Park, Liverpool; Stanley Park Bandstand, Liverpool

The Department for Communities and Local Government is providing £400,000 funding to Superact, a not-for profits arts organisation, to deliver the overall project, which includes training Community Event Organisers and issuing grants to 310 of the events, to cover costs such as public address systems, licences and insurance.

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