The growth of the music industry in the North

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As Bruntwood prepares for its first sponsorship of Sound City festival we caught up with our customer, BIMM Manchester. With companies attending the event from across the North and the UK, we spoke to the music college to find out why events like this are so important for new musicians and artists.

Based at our Bank Chambers building in Manchester city centre, BIMM is a music college with academic degree programmes covering the entirety of the music industry. Students are given the opportunity to gain a qualification, while giving them the industry experience they need to become successful.

The Manchester centre is one of five UK-based BIMM colleges, with another two campuses in Berlin and Hamburg, and most recently, Dublin. These colleges have been specifically located in cities where music matters most.

Damian Morgan, Head of Careers and Industry, explains the importance of opening BIMM colleges in different places. “BIMM has opened sites where there has been an exciting music scene, and Manchester definitely has its own identity,” he says. “There's a big difference between Manchester and the rest of the BIMM’s as it’s quite a small city, but we’ve got 35 small music venues in such close proximity to each other.”

This rich live music scene is a key factor in attracting a high volume of students, with the numerous music venues having many fantastic advantages for students studying in BIMM Manchester. “If you are studying music in Manchester, there are really no excuses to not be attending gigs or live music events, there is always something going on,” says Damian. Those students creating their own music can also take advantage of these venues to perform their own gigs.

This year at Liverpool’s Sound City festival, BIMM will be producing a stage, featuring acts from its current student base. “I think sometimes people think that because we’re a music college that the acts will be amateur, but in fact we have some incredibly professional artists,” says Damian. The ‘Red Brick Vintage’ stage is held at the former Cains Brewery in Liverpool’s bustling Baltic Triangle. Hosting this stage provides amazing opportunities for the BIMM students to get involved with both organising and performing at in a busy festival environment.

“For our students, it’s the environment where they get to learn from professionals, working with sound engineers and stage technicians around to run the smaller stages at the festival,” explains Damian. “The problems that arise at bigger festivals will be similar to those at Sound City, just on a bigger scale. This allows students to experience how to problem solve and work with teams, which is incredible for their development.”.

Students are also given the chance to attend the SoundCity+, learning from panels, workshops and ‘InConversations’ with a wide range of industry professionals. “The conference will provide students the opportunity to meet and create connections with professional musicians and artists,” says Damian, which of course invaluable to kick starting their career when they complete their degree.

The Sound City festival and conference also highlight the North as a great place for musicians to come and thrive. Although the Northern cities may be small in comparison to the capital, being home to many venues means there are plenty of opportunities for new artists and bands, with larger venues in place for when they grow their fanbase. It’s in these cities that artists can grow, be nurtured and reach their full potential.

“The good thing about the Northern cities is that although we’re quite small, the scene is so supportive,” says Damian. “There’s a friendly rivalry across the cities which is actually healthy, as each artist or band wants to impress each other, creating a great scene.”

Sound City+ conference will take place on Friday 4th May, with the Sound City festival closely following that weekend (5th and 6th May). To find out more about the festival and conference, follow Sound City on social media or visit the Sound City website.

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