A City of Exponential Growth: how the City of Culture has impacted on Coventry’s live music success
In the bid to win the City of Culture, the people of Coventry chose to embrace the multicultural. and diverse aspects of their city, shining a light on the arts and appreciating the talent that lies within a city that had always been classed as the underdog.
The City of Culture is a programme inspired by the European Capital of Culture which brought successes to 2008’s victor, Liverpool. The ultimate aim of The City of Culture is to encourage cities to celebrate the creativity and innovation within its borders.
Having said that, winning the bid to be The City of Culture 2021 has not only exposed the hidden artistic talent in Coventry, but will soon have its economic benefits to follow; with £350 million expected to hit the bank of Cov upon its coronation in 2021.
Things are only looking positive for Britain’s ‘Motor City’. After winning the title of the UK’s City of Culture for 2021, against the shortlisted cities, including Paisley, Stoke-on-Trent, Sunderland and Swansea, Coventry’s calendar is bursting with events from live performances and music concerts to exhibitions - there is something for everybody to get involved in.
One event in particular that has hit the ground running since its launch at the beginning of 2018, is Live Loud, Coventry’s promotional platform for live music events. Live Loud host events which act as a podium for up and coming Midlands artists to showcase their talent. Live Loud are also responsible for managing and signing some of the new artists that you will come recognise in the approaching months, such as newly signed Marcus Middleton.
We got the chance to interview the founder of Live Loud, Daniel Connolly, who explained how their events offer the perfect chance for undiscovered talent to showcase their music to a larger audience, whilst performing in the comfort of their own local venues, like Square One and Ivy House. Live Loud kicked off their series of shows back in September with the launch of Freshers Fest 2018, which saw 12 local Bands perform to a jam-packed crowd. Free Galaxy, Operation Guillotine and The Dessert Yetis made their debut performances at the Square One Venue, the heart of Coventry University. Following the success of Fresher’s Fest came Saturday 24th November’s gig, headlined by Candid accompanied by Free Galaxy, Second Hand Strings and The Ellipsis as supporting acts. The sold-out show drew 350+ indie fans to Square One for what was one of their most popular events to date.
Connolly explained how Candid “fit the bill perfectly” with Live Loud’s identity, although their original focus was on Indie Rock bands.
“The opportunity to perform at one of Live Loud’s gigs is not solely restricted to one genre of music … We [Live Loud] welcomes any kind of music and anybody that creates art!” – Dan Connolly, founder of Live Loud
Dan’s 10-year experience in the music industry only provides evidence for his obvious passion for the music scene, which came across as we spoke to him. We discussed where he believes the music scene in Coventry is headed, and how he aims to use his position to re-create the buzz that once existed around music in the new City of Culture. His experiences as a teenager, attending what was The Coliseum, now Kasbah’s ‘Music Lab’ Friday nights, where bands such as The Ripps, The Cougars and Pint Shot Riot performed to the masses, are what inspire him to push for a more dominant live music presence in Coventry and to recover the great appreciation for the live music scene that once existed.
Godiva Festival, the UK’s largest free, family-friendly music festival, held in Coventry’s War Memorial park, celebrated turning 20 this year. The festival has not only played a huge role in contributing towards Coventry’s success as the newly titled City of Culture, but also in promoting Live Loud’s ambition of re-shaping the music scene. Candid were the winners of the indie category in the battle-of-the bands style competition named “Godiva Calling”, a contest designed to encourage budding artists from Coventry and Warwickshire to display their talent.
As a result, the winners of the competition, Candid, were one of the opening acts on the second day of the Festival back in August. With the help of Live Loud’s events they have been able to maintain regular performances within their hometown, for their ever-growing fanbase.
After speaking to Dan Connolly, it is clear that Live Loud are optimistic for the future, with plans to become involved in the future Godiva Festivals. “We 100% aim to get involved if they’d have us! We think the festival is great for the city and would be an honour to be involved” Dan expressed. While interviewing him, he seems to be piecing together the next project. Live Loud have the potential to open up their very own tent at the festival or host an energetic afterparty for Godiva, if the opportunity ever cropped up.
While Coventry has got the ball rolling towards well-rounded success and will only continue in the fast lane on its journey, it seems that the city is now booming with opportunities for innovative, creative young people to get involved in, whether this be via showcasing art in exhibitions; book launches; tweeting the ‘#ThisIsCoventry’ hashtag or performing at one of Live Loud’s music events in 2019. The potential for the development of a city that is saturated with vibrant culture in the form of ethnic and social diversity is exponential.
It is exciting to think of the many ways that ‘Britain’s Detroit’ will evolve in the run up to the City of Culture and beyond 2021.
For more details in how you can get involved in Live Loud contact: Live Loud Cov firstname.lastname@example.org
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Written by Louise Evans, edited by Esmé Spurling.