Swansea Musician's Forum #1 - Report

Cinema & Co - Friday 2nd February 2018

For a .pdf copy of the musician's report please contact swanseamusichub@gmail.com

1. Introduction

The Swansea Musician’s Forum #1 was held on the 2nd February 2018 at Cinema & Co. and was organised by the Swansea Music Hub.

The Swansea Music Hub is a community venture with the overall aim of supporting and improving the Swansea music scene. It is a place where ideas, creativity, events and opportunities can be shared all in one place for musicians and those interested in music.

Currently a two-man operation, The Swansea Music Hub is coordinated by Simon Parton & Joe Bayliss. The two are working voluntarily as they feel passionate about original and live music in Swansea and the potential that Swansea has as a music scene. The Swansea Music Hub presently has no capital funding, sponsors or grants, but Simon and Joe looking to grow the project to have a sustainable future providing support, events, education and facilities to musicians and those interested in original music in Swansea. 

The first Swansea Musician’s Forum was organised in order to begin the conversation between musicians, venues, promoters and supporters of original music with the overall aim to share ideas, address issues and moving forward together as a music scene. 

 
Forum Poster.jpg
 

In the lead up to the event, the Swansea Music Hub put out an open invite for guest speakers to share their thoughts on the Swansea music scene and this report covers the points raised at the event. Alongside this, we invited the audience to share their thoughts on the Swansea Music Scene by putting ideas on a mood board - this document will also share and discuss these ideas and opinions. This initial Musician's Forum is the first in an ongoing series and this report has been created for those that may have missed out on the event but also so that there is a record of what was said, what has been done since and a place where thoughts/considerations for the next event can be shared.

 

Please feel free to email us at swanseamusichub@gmail.com to share your thoughts, ideas and opinions on the event or the Swansea Music Scene as a whole. 

2. Audience demographics

Attendees completed a short questionnaire as they arrived at Cinema & Co. in order to collect the following information:

  • 65% were male / 35% were female
  • 28.5% were aged 16-25 / 38.2% were aged 26-35 / 23.8% were aged 36-45 / 9.5% were aged 46-55 / 0% were aged 56+
  • 45% described themselves as musicians / 17.6% described themselves as promotors / 29.4% described themselves as gig-goers / 5.8% described themselves as venue owners / 2.2% described themselves as other.
  • When asked what they felt Swansea could do with more of:
    • 28.9% said independent music/record Store.
    • 8.8% said music masterclasses
    • 24.4% said rehearsal rooms
    • 31.1% said grassroots venues
    • 6.6% said other (including “bigger venues”, “more gigs” and “cross venue support”.
  • Approximately 90% of the audience were residents within the city and county of Swansea. 

3. Speakers at the musician's forum

The guest speakers at the first musician’s forum were:

  • Daniel Kilbride – Director of TRAC (National Development Agency for Traditional Music in Wales)
  • Kaz Chambers – Venue Owner (Creature Sound)
  • Ben Luc – Musician
  • Jimbob Isaac –Musician (Taint/Hark)
  • Simon Parton – Musician & Project coordinator (Swansea Music Hub/Swansea Fringe Festival)
  • Ed Richmond – BBC Wales Project Manager (Biggest Weekend)

Audio of the forum was recorded by the Swansea Music Hub, and the following information and key points are taken from that.

3.1 Introduction – Joe Bayliss & Simon Parton from the Swansea Music Hub

Simon and Joe gave an overview of the Swansea Music Hub (see the introduction above for more info) and explained why they had begun organising the Swansea Musician’s Forums. They stated that this was the beginning of a wider conversation between all interested in supporting the original music scene in Swansea and that each forum will be held in a different venue across Swansea with live music and guest speakers from all sectors of the industry at each. 

 
Swansea Music Hub Musicians Forum Simon and Joe.png
 

Before inviting the first speaker up to the stage, Joe and Simon explained that their personal aims are not in any way to provide a definitive answer to how the Swansea music scene should be run and expressed that it will work differently for different people. The forum was designed for musicians, venues, promoters and gig-goers to support each other and open a dialogue. 

3.2 Speaker #1 – Daniel Kilbride

Daniel started by giving an overview of Trac (National Development Agency for Traditional Music in Wales) and why he started it. Trac is Wales’ folk development organisation and has now been running for 21 years. They are a charity, are funded by the arts council and last year reached 12,500 people working within traditional music.

 

 
 

“Music is as important to a city as infrastructure”

Daniel stated that they started the organisation as they were frustrated that no one was supporting traditional music in Wales and that by being passionate about it meant that they quickly built up a body of knowledge that made it successful. He drew links from this to the Musician’s Forum and quoted Shain Shapiro from Sound Diplomacy in stating: “Music is as important to a city as infrastructure. It’s as important as fixing the pot holes and as important as providing the schools.

He stated that “a music hub has lots of parts to it. A whole system is built to make sure making a living from music is possible” and that in order to achieve this, everyone has to work well together. 

3.3 Speaker #2 – Kaz Chambers

Kaz Chambers is from the new Swansea venue and music hall, Creature Sound, which is located at the old Ken Bu Kan martial arts centre. Kaz started by sharing the story of how they came to start Creature Sound and how it acts as a space for people to perform their art, while also providing a studio, rehearsal room and 300 capacity venue. 

 

 
 

“We want to support original acts and give them a chance to build their audience”

Kaz shared the overall plans for the venue, including not to put on nights that clash with other venues, offer bands an opportunity to put on gigs and perform their art (with no charge for hall hire and all door money to be split between acts), and to support original acts in giving them a chance to build their audience. She also stated that she would like to see more venues working together in order to make the Swansea music scene beneficial to all. 

3.4 Speaker #3 – Ben Luc

Ben Luc is a musician from Swansea who also runs open mic nights at The Last Resort and Creature Sound. He wanted to share his thoughts on how the Swansea music scene should work together in order to fulfil its full potential. 

“There’s lots going on and there’s lots of good bands and venues. But none are working together.”

 
Swansea Music Hub Musicians Forum Ben Luc.png
 

Ben summed up his points by saying: “There’s lots going on and there’s lots of good bands and venues. But none are working together. The Swansea Music Hub is a great way to get people working together. Get bands together to work together, share audiences and build up the scene together.”

3.5 Speaker #4 – Jimbob Isaac

Jimbob Isaac is a Swansea musician and former member of the bands Hark and Taint. He shared his extensive experience as a gigging, touring and recording musician but also shared how it all started out with a very hands on, DIY, grassroots approach.

He shared his experience of gigging in European cities like Barcelona and Berlin and stated that there’s so much communication and fly posting that you know exactly what’s going on at all times within the live music scene in the city. He expressed an opinion that the inability to fly post to support gigs in the city centre is having a devastating effect on the music scene and that Swansea City Council need to do more to support musicians and grassroots events. 

 

 
Swansea Music Hub Musicians Forum Jimbob Isaac.png