Below is some information about the projects with which I have been involved.

The UK Live Music Census

stereophonicsThe UK’s first ever national live music census took place in spring 2017: for 24 hours from noon on Thursday 9th March, an army of volunteers went out and about to live music events in Glasgow, Newcastle-Gateshead, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton (and 1st June in Liverpool), from pub gigs to massed choirs to arena concerts. A nationwide online survey for musicians, venues, promoters and audiences was online from March until June. The intention was to help measure live music’s cultural and economic value, discover what challenges the sector is facing and inform policy to help it flourish.

From 2016 to 2018 I worked as the postdoctoral Research Associate with Dr Matt Brennan, Professor Martin Cloonan and Dr Adam Behr on the UK Live Music project, based at the University of Edinburgh in collaboration with the universities of Turku (Finland) and Newcastle, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

For more information and to download the final report and live music census toolkit, go to the UK Live Music Census project website.

The Impact of Festivals

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EFG London Jazz Festival @ Barbican © Emma Webster 2015

Between November 2015 and November 2016, I worked as the postdoctoral Research Associate with Professor George McKay on the Impact of Festivals project at the University of East Anglia, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (ending 1 November 2016), in collaboration with the EFG London Jazz Festival. The outputs were:-

  • a critical history of the London Jazz Festival, to be published as a book in 2017 as part of the Festival’s 25th anniversary – the book will draw on archive materials, interviews, press archives, and elements of digital mapping (still in progress);
  • a report for the AHRC on the impact of British music festivals, based on a literature review and interviews – the report will be launched at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival in April 2016 as part of a day of discussion and ideas around (jazz) festivals;
  • a paper on the impact of jazz festivals, submitted to the Jazz Research Journal in Feb 2016.

This is a wonderful project on which to work – I have been obsessed by festivals from an early age, so to get to think about festivals all day long is a real privilege!

Live Music Exchange

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Live Music Exchange website March 2016

Live Music Exchange – LMX – is a hub for anyone interested in live music research.   It was set up in 2012 off the back of the original three year live music project within which I did my PhD, and was an AHRC follow-on funded project, for which myself and Adam Behr worked part-time for a year and now continue to co-manage with Simon Frith, Martin Cloonan, and Matt Brennan. The main focus of LMX is the website, which contains a blog and an archive of industry, academic, government and media research, articles and reports. During the first year we also organised knowledge exchange events which brought together academics and industry practitioners to discuss ideas and make new contacts – Live Music Exchange Newcastle will take place in June 2016.

The Live Music Exchange is a really important site for drawing together various reports and articles, but the blog also enables us to comment on ‘live’ issues around live music – such as secondary ticketing and venue closures – and to contribute towards the debate; a blog post I wrote even ended up being quoted in the House of Lords!  One of my proudest moments was introducing myself to someone from the music industry’s green charity, Julie’s Bicycle, and hearing back ‘You’re from Live Music Exchange? I LOVE Live Music Exchange!’

Edinburgh Live Music Census

Ed censusThis was a project which aimed to understand the economic and social value of live music in the city of Edinburgh. One of the findings was just how many venues and musicians have been negatively affected by noise regulations and we have recommended to Edinburgh City Council that to protect the live music sector, they should introduce the Agent of Change principle, among other things. Click here for more information and to download the full report.

Association of Independent Festivals’ Six-Year Report

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Front cover of AIF Six-Year Report 2014

In 2014 I was commissioned to produce the six-year report for the Association of Independent Festivals, which found, among other things, that the spend by AIF member festival-goers between 2010 and 2014 was estimated to be approximately £1.01 billion. For more information and to read the full report, click here.

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