UK Music plans rehearsal rooms expansion

UK Music will set out a new agenda for its rehearsal spaces network in a meeting at the Roundhouse on Monday February 25th.

The move comes as the industry body takes sole control for the running of the 14 rehearsal spaces it helped set up in tandem with the Department of Culture Media and Sport in 2009.

As part of the meeting, which will be hosted by UK Music CEO Jo Dipple and Live Nation President Paul Latham, the industry body will seek new funding to secure the future of the existing spaces and also add new rehearsal facilities in other British cities.  It will also explore how apprenticeships and other job creation initiatives can be run out of the spaces.

UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said, “The spaces have been a tremendous success since they were opened with over 30,000 visits, mostly from young people.  They have also produced some real talent.  We’ve seen one music producer perform at both Glastonbury and Reading.  This is now an opportunity to discuss how we build on this success and take the whole rehearsal spaces network to another level.”

Monday’s summit, which will see contributions from all 14 rehearsal space leaders, will also include input from Sound Connections director Philip Flood and Youth Music Programme Director Carol Reid.  One workshop will focus on what a complete national network of rehearsal rooms could deliver for local youth in terms of employment, skills and personal and social development.

The DCMS invested £440,000 in 2009 to help establish the existing 14-strong network, which includes spaces in socially and economically-blighted areas of Manchester, Nottingham, Liverpool, Coventry, Bristol and Birmingham.  UK Music  Lorna Finlayson said, “One of the real challenges for us now is to find new sources of funding to help local councils keep the existing spaces ticking over and, more importantly, for us to look at new sites where kids can practice and hone their musical talent.”

For the first time, UK Music has also secured a rehearsal space category in this year’s Rock the House event.  The best bands and artists working within each of the 14 rehearsal spaces will be judged by MPs, with the winner collecting £2000 in prize money from the PRS Foundation and put forward to perform alongside other bands in the finals of Rock the House in May.

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