Picture this. It’s coming up to festival season. You and your mates are planning a trip to Leeds Festival. It is Tuesday morning and you are eagerly anticipating the announcement of the headline act.
Finally, the poster is released and your heart sinks.
But then you take a step back and think, “Wait, didn’t Coldplay headline last year?”
Have you ever noticed how it’s the exact same group of headline acts that are rotated around the UK’s major festivals every year? I’m talking Muse, Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Iron Maiden and Arctic Monkeys, among a few others. We all love a bit of “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor” every now and again, but it’s the same thing every year. There is no one new. No surprises.
So, you see the same twelve out of shape acts being pulled from the shelf and wheeled out onto festival stages every year, and you sit back and wonder, “Why hasn’t my band made it?”
Well, we have the answer. It’s not that record sales are down, or that there’s too much over processed pop music, the simple reason is that NO ONE IS HELPING YOUNG BANDS!
Since 2006, only 9 out of just over 200 bands to headline major UK festivals have made their debut in that that time. i.e. Very few bands in the past 11 years have achieved superstardom. And who might they be? That’s right, Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters and Muse. Surprise surprise!
This is because there is not enough support for young bands. Nowadays, street level bands only ever hit the mainstream with the help of major labels, and how often do you see Universal digging in and helping young artists?
There is not enough support provided for young artists.
“There’s so much demand for help in this city it’s unreal, and absolutely no provision for bands and musicians and music industry youngsters to learn, grow and develop as fast as they should be and could be.” Says Sheffield Music Entrepreneur Neil Hargreaves, owner of Aggressive Management.
“There’s people slogging their guts out working hard and trying but mostly alone on their own little islands, and without any funding, assistance or help coming their way whilst at the same time we see funding and opportunities hoovered up and placed elsewhere. That’s not good enough”
Last year, one of the UK’s biggest current bands received a grant (that’s right, a grant) to help fund their trip to SXSW Festival in Texas. That band was Slaves. That’s not very punk, is it?
This fund could have gone to a smaller band who doesn’t have the money, do they expect us to believe Slaves can’t afford a plane ride to Austin and a hotel? Just last year, Slaves had a charting album, a load of major festival slots and a headline tour. Oh yeah, they must be skint.
You can read more about Slaves’ X Factor Sob Story here – http://crackmagazine.net/2017/01/slaves-250000-grant/
In Sheffield alone, there are hundreds of bands, and has been hundreds of bands come through the scene every year. How many of those do we see make it to Glastonbury?
Despite the efforts of Sheffield’s incredible music scene and the graft that the community puts in, no small bands are making it, not really. There are many organisations in Sheffield that seek to promote young bands. Along with Alya Records, there is Fourth City, Aggressive Management, Reyt Good Music, Northern Crossroads, English Rain, Propeller Management, AMP Live and many more, and we all want the same thing. To put Sheffield back on the map and build a local music economy.
Well, it just so happens that we have a way.
If you are not aware of any one of the companies that I mentioned above, then check them out, because over the next few months it’s going to be us that leading the charge.
If you are a band or artist, then know that no changes can be made without you. A campaign to provide better support for young bands means nothing with the support of the bands. We had this table set for us, but it’s not good enough. Let’s flip the table.