Wednesday 25 April 2018

Buskers and concert hall performances monitored in 'census' of live music

Buskers were included in the census of live music
Buskers were included in the census of live music

The organisers of the "world's first live music census" were surprised at the amount of activity during a 24-hour survey of performances across the UK.

Starting at noon on Thursday, "an army of music lovers" took to Britain's streets to track performances in cities across the country from lone buskers to stadium concerts.

Co-lead on the project Matt Brennan, of the University of Edinburgh, said it was too early to reveal conclusive results but there had been " enthusiastic " reports from volunteers.

"We know that these are challenging times particularly for the small venues that maybe don't make the radar of traditional market research, so we were trying to capture that and I was surprised by the diversity.

"So there's just a huge level of musical activity going on.

"It shows the importance of gathering data on this to assess the health of live music, economically, socially, culturally," he said.

Mr Brennan was based in Glasgow for the census and said there was "big engagement" across different genres in the city.

"I started out at an organ recital at noon yesterday, spent a chunk of the night at the centre for contemporary arts, and ended up in an indie-club called Nice'n'Sleazy at 1.30am."

He added: "My co-investigator is now walking up and down Buchanan Street in Glasgow counting buskers.

"It's on-going and we are trying to catch as much as we can."

Despite the positivity, Mr Brennan said there had been several reports of venues planning to end live music performances.

"There were definitely some volunteers who went to places where there was live music and they talked to the venue manager and they said 'we're actually stopping live music in three weeks time because this pub is being converted into a gastro-restauraunt'.

"So there are signs of pressures and threats."

The UK Live Music Census, led by the universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Glasgow, aims to quantify the nationwide challenges the industry is facing and inform policy to help it flourish.

There were co-ordinated censuses in Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton, with volunteers attending live music events including Olly Murs at Leeds Arena and Nicola Benedetti at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Results of the census, which also includes an online survey open for the next three months, are not expected until later this year.

:: To fill in the online survey visit http://uklivemusiccensus.org/.

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