How can the large variety of live music venues in Newcastle help local artists gain more recognition?

How can the large variety of live music venues in Newcastle help local artists gain more recognition?

Newcastle is a major city, blessed with an eclectic mix of live music venues, from smaller, intimate spaces to huge, iconic arenas. These venues are the lifeblood of the music scene in the North East. They allow both new and established bands and artists to reach new audiences, build a fan base, promote recently released songs and albums, and generate income.

The Utilita Arena Newcastle is the largest venue in the city, with a capacity of more than 11,000 seats. While local singer-songwriter Sam Fender has performed to a sell-out crowd here, the concert hall is often the preserve of megastars and groups such as Liam Gallagher and The Pussycat Dolls. Artists from the area looking to gain more recognition are more likely to headline at The Cluny and Little Buildings, which have both been described as the “beating heart” of new music in Newcastle.

With other cities struggling with the closure of live venues due to increased business rates and a lack of funding, local artists and music fans in Newcastle are blessed to have so many hotspots for gigs, events and nights out. These venues play a vital role in developing local artists. Singer, rapper and songwriter Parisa East believes they help artists to practise and improve, and set them on a path to wider, mainstream recognition.

She notes: “You develop performance practice, talking to an audience, songwriting, improved singing and playing ability, networking, confidence, and you build a fan base, and learn from seeing other artists playing live.” 

The Cluny is one of Newcastle’s prime spots for promoting new pop and rock artists and bands. The 300-capacity venue in the Ouseburn Valley area has two venues for music and features an interesting lineup of musicians on most nights. The Cluny has been hailed as “one of the most important venues for breaking bands in the region”. Many artists from outside Newcastle, such as the Arctic Monkeys and Mumford & Sons, have also played at The Cluny.

Live experiences are growing in popularity with people of all ages. Whether in person or online, live events can positively influence human emotions and happiness. The smartphone era and the proliferation of ultrafast 5G mobile connections have also broadened the scope of live events, allowing music fans and gamers to access these experiences anytime, anywhere. Live casinos are now leading the way in delivering a wide variety of games. Players can access roulette, blackjack, poker, baccarat and exclusive tables live on mobile, from the comfort of their own home.

In Newcastle, live music venues are a springboard for exciting, new musical talent across the city. An article recently published on the music distribution platform SoundOn goes into detail about the thriving music scene in the city. It talks about the “booming pub circuit” where up-and-coming bands regularly perform to live crowds during weekdays, and the role larger music venues like The O2 Academy can play as a launchpad for local talents. 

Newcastle is not just a hub for electronic and indie music, either. The city’s venue hosts genres including classical, jazz and folk. Many venues are dedicated to showcasing local musicians and providing young artists with a platform to hone their craft. This support at the grassroots level is invaluable – not only does it ensure the scene remains vibrant and progressive, it also guarantees that talented musicians have an opportunity to shine. Without this, local bands and artists would fall through the cracks and not get the recognition they deserve. 

One reason why live venues are so important is that they are the link between a band or musician and their fan base. While social media nurtures digital connections, nothing comes close to a live performance for forging deeper, lasting interactions and relationships. Newcastle’s hotspots always provide fans with an outlet to enjoy music and find new bands.

Income is vital too. Newcastle’s diverse music scene enables artists to monetise their songs and performances. A memorable gig and a song released at just the right moment can be transformative for a band in terms of recognition and financial gain. This increased exposure is great for the artist and Newcastle’s reputation as a leading musical, urban centre. This is important when many venues in the UK are facing a fight to keep the lights on; 35% of grassroots gig venues have closed during the last 10 years. 

Talking about local talent around the country, Parisa East concludes: “What made Jake Bugg, Georgie and Saint Raymond stand out is that they would play any gig I asked them to, and they just wanted to perform, perform, perform. They loved local gigs no matter where, no matter the money, and that rapidly gained them a huge following on and off stage. They are all with major labels now.”


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