Future Yard will explore the idea of a community music venue, a new model which will address a number of central challenges to the modern music industry:
- How do we make grassroots music venues sustainable?
- How do we leverage the social and economic power of music in struggling towns?
- What are the new models of artist development?
- How do we provide new career pathways into the live music industry?
Future Yard will be located in Birkenhead, on the Wirral in NW England. Initially it will open as a Pop-Up Venue to road test the concept. It will have a quality curated music venue – showcasing a mix of touring international talent and local artists – at its heart, while providing a development base for new artists. By reimagining a music venue as a learning opportunity, it will also provide hugely valuable, mentor-led training programmes into skilled industry roles for local people. Our model will be anchored in Birkenhead, but will act as a best-practice case study which can be modelled across Europe. Birkenhead is a small shipbuilding town on the banks of the River Mersey, home to some of the most fabulous and gloriously eccentric music you’ve heard; Bill Ryder-Jones, OMD, Half Man Half Biscuit, Elvis Costello, The Coral, Forest Swords, Evian Christ…we could go on. But, here’s the issue; there is not a single music venue dedicated to celebrating new music in Wirral and little in the way of infrastructure. For a place with music in its DNA, this is a missed opportunity, depriving the would-be music makers of tomorrow and the music-lovers of today. Future Yard is designed to address this, but do so in a way which is future focussed and looks to meet many of the central challenges facing the music industry today, as well as utilising music as a force for social and economic good.
We started our journey in August 2019 with Future Yard Festival. Our Future Yard Pop-Up Venue (April – June 2020) is the next stage in our journey, before we open as a permanent, dedicated resource in late-Summer 2020.
Steve FARRIS, UK