CirKT is creating a live music circuit connecting venues, artists and promoters, building on the area’s rich music heritage. The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames was awarded the Mayor of London’s Cultural Impact Award and delivered a programme of music events, music industry conferences, a new talent development programme and public workshops, with focused activities in 2019.
What triggered Kingston Council to shape this music-focused project?
The local music scene is incredibly important to Kingston but, like the rest of London, our music venues are under incredible pressure, with some closing. We wanted to look at the challenges and use the programme to find new ways to support and nurture local artists and venues, working with the music industry.
What have been the highlights of the project?
CirKT supported 50 emerging local musicians and creatives alongside 10 local grassroots music spaces through a 12 month programme of live music events, professional development and mentoring programmes, public workshops, panel debates and networking events.
What are your top tips on supporting a local music scene?
Every place has its own music ecology so it’s about working with the brilliant people who are already doing great things and supporting people to develop the skills they need. That’s why we linked up with a team of music industry ambassadors: Tom Baker, Founder, Eat Your Own Ears; Laura Brosnan, Journalist, Judge BBC The Rap Game; Dave Maclean, Django Django.
How has the project changed Kingston’s relationship to its cultural assets?
A key legacy of the project has been to look at how we work with colleagues in planning and regeneration to ensure the protection and investment in cultural spaces is enshrined in future planning policy. CirKT helped us to develop new grassroots creative networks and potential music spaces, increasing the visibility of Kingston’s night-time offer.
What’s next for CirKT?
A group of emerging grassroots promoters, venues and music creatives have developed a new programme, supporting the development of the area’s local music scene and building on CirKT’s first year. Working with Kingston Council officers a bid to the Arts Council Grassroots Music Fund has been submitted to support this programme – so do watch this space!