This post is kind of inspired by a post by Builder of Coalitions discussing his changing relationship with music as he gets older, and the comment that I made that he should indeed get out more and listen to local bands. That lead me to thinking about my relationship with music, and with the local music scene.
The south-west of England has a really vibrant music scene, which is kind of overlooked when you think about British music. Bristol is usually the only place that people think of when considering music from this area, after it came to prominence with bands like Massive Attack in the 90s. Or, possibly Somerset and the Wurzels (although I remember drunkenly singing the Blackbird Song with a group of mates on holiday in Teneriffe back in the day, and getting some very odd looks. That may have been down to the quality of drunken singing though…).
There is so much more going on in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Bath and Bristol than first meets the eye. But then I guess this is the case with most local music scenes, regardless of location; until one or two bands really make it big with a particular sound (like the Manchester Scene for example), then it is by its very definition not recognised by the country or world at large. And this is not a bad thing, really – because the local music scene is a starting point for bands and singers; it’s where we learn and develop stage craft and musicianship before (hopefully) moving on to bigger things.
But anyway, the point of this post is to highlight what I love about local music, and that boils down to two things:
- Community spirit - through The 4014 Project, which I set up with my hubby to help kick-start music in our slightly more rural area, I have met so many cool people. People who are creating interesting music, who are making their own TV programmes, who are setting up or volunteering at community radio stations and who are organising fantastic festivals. These people are amazing and fun and brilliant. Because of them I have learnt a lot, and with them I have had many fun times.
- Musical Variation – There is a lot going on round these parts. You can hear punk, rock, metal, funk, country, folk, blues – well anything you like really! Of course, you have to look a little harder sometimes if you want to find something in particular, but as far as musical variation is concerned, on the local music scene the world is your oyster. In fact, sometimes you’ll hear loads of styles (or even a new and original cross-over such as Wurzel-Rap, a cross between acoustic folk and gangsta rap with a Wiltshire accent: See Corky for more info!) over the course of one evening if you head out to catch a band showcase or open mic night.
So there you have it – two great reasons to get out there and see some local bands. You never know, you might be seeing the next big thing… or not, but it’s worth a look anyway.