What can Nottingham do for its music scene as Capital of Culture?

    • Photo credit: Sam Hind

      Nottingham’s music scene is hugely important to the city, and we have enjoyed some great triumphs in recent years.

      Whether it’s the success of Hockley Hustle last weekend, Jake Bugg having a number one album or Snoop Dogg using D.I.D’s album cover on his Instagram, there’s a lot to be proud of.

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      But we want more.

      What does this city need to do to put it on the same level as the likes of Manchester? How do we truly become the European capital of music?

      Tash Bird, 24, a singer-songwriter from Nottingham, says our musicians need to be paid for playing their original songs if they are to truly flourish.

      She said: “You can’t make a living through music, especially in England or the UK, through playing original music. People want to hear original music but they don’t want to pay you for it.

      “There’s so many gigs for covers. They all want covers cause they all want to entertain people and for people to sing along but there’s not too many paid gigs for just playing purely original music, apart from £20 maybe, or expenses.”

      Tash, who is set to go to New Zealand next year to be part of a band touring the country, said other places have a different model to the UK: “In Berlin, in New Zealand and America, and other European countries they pay you more for your time than for what kind of stuff. But if I went to a bar and played two hours of Tash Bird people would be like ‘what is this?’ People like to sing along, people like to dance.

      “It’s good, it’s fun, but it’s not going to progress me as an artist.”

      Joey Marcantonio, a musician from Chicago who made Nottingham his home in 2015, spoke to us while busking in Nottingham city centre and agreed that money was the answer: “I would love to see more support for the arts and music, and more money had to the musicians. I feel like musicians in general sometimes get taken advantage of and I think that more opportunities to get funding maybe to different places.”

      But where should the money go?

      Bradley Rice, 20, director of Jamcafe, said that giving money to bars and venues would kill the city’s culture. Instead, he said it should go straight to the source – young people.

      He said: “Give schools the money. Go to the young people. Get them young, get them creative.”

      Imogen Parkinson, 19, a busker from Lincolnshire with fresh eyes on the Nottingham music scene, said: “I think from what I’ve done today I’d say have a spot where there’s going to be a lot of foot traffic coming past or some sort of stage or something that’s open.

      “Say you do auditions and get people to go on an actual stage, so then they’re not just stood on the street. I think that would be good for any place to be fair. I don’t know anywhere that does it.”

      So the calls are for money, dispersed in the right way, and better platforms to give original artists exposure.

      Could all this be sorted if Nottingham became the European Capital of Culture?

      Joey Marcantonio thinks so: “Liverpool really revitalised itself in one year. It’s sick man, it’s so awesome. It’s a cool city.”

      What would you like to happen to the music scene in #Nottingham2023? Tell us your ideas here!

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      • Matthew Drew

        Matthew is a journalism studies graduate from the University of Sheffield. Born and raised in Notts he's passionate about our city and keen to make sure the whole world knows it!

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