Soundcheck Sessions is a new initiative from CAN YOU CIC IT, the company that runs Independent Venue Week in the UK. The idea is to bring anyone under 18, including school/college students, into local live music venues, at a time before a gig starts.
These venues can be seen as the domain of over 18’s and often not somewhere suitable for anyone younger. On the contrary, the venues are vital creative hubs of their local communities and are keen to welcome young people in.
Many venues are constrained by licencing restrictions. Quite frequently, under-18’s are not permitted in a venue from 7pm, or from whenever their bar is officially open.
What Soundcheck Sessions facilitates is a constructive way to circumvent this restriction and introduce young people to the magic of watching live music as well as learning more about the live music industry.
Young people are invited into the venue, as artists load in, to watch some or all of the soundcheck. They are also given the opportunity to hear from the venue owner/operator, promoter, sound engineer, tour manager and artist about what their jobs involve and more about the general live music industry.
By introducing students to their local music venue before they are open to the public, collectively we can build excitement about live music and the role of local venues in their communities. We can also make them aware of the various careers that are available, especially at a time when music is increasingly being removed from school curriculums.
The venues are also demonstrating their important role in education, supporting young people and the local community. The Sessions also mean that the venues are opening themselves up to new audiences when they are finally old enough to attend gigs.
The Soundcheck Session doesn’t need to last very long or take up a lot of time for the artists and crew. It could be that the young people come in and watch the last 20 minutes of one of the artists’ sound check and then hears from the venue owner/operator, promoter, sound engineer, tour manager and artist for half an hour or so.
We’re encouraging as many as venues as possible to incorporate Soundcheck Sessions into their Independent Venue Week celebrations next year.
The process of putting on a Soundcheck Session is hopefully pretty simple and straightforward. Here is a basic outline of the steps, please share this with your local community:
- Ask one, some, or all of the artists and their crew who are playing one of your IVW shows if they are open to the idea of the soundcheck session and having some young people present for all or part of their soundcheck. As well as the usual soundcheck process, it would be great if the artist(s) were open to playing a couple of their songs all the way through at the end of the soundcheck. This would enable the young people to get a proper feel for seeing live music in the venue.
- Ask all or some of your crew if they are ok to speak for a couple of minutes about what their role is and answer any questions anyone might have.
- Approach local schools, colleges and other community groups about whether they are open to bringing some of their students/members to take part in the Soundcheck Session. It’s entirely up to you how many young people you have taking part in the session. In certain areas, we may be able to help you to connect to your local Music Education Hub. Music Education Hubs work with young people in their local communities and bring them together with local music-based projects and initiatives.
- Confirm everybody’s involvement, date and timings.
- The final step is running the Soundcheck Session itself and then having a cracking gig at the end of it.
If you’d like to organise and host a Soundcheck Session during IVW, please let us know and we can work together to make it happen.
If you aren’t ready to host a Session during IVW 2019 but are open to the idea later in the year, please also let us know so that we can come back to you about this later in the year.