Music fans, we’re here with your weekly Leicester music guide featuring news and interviews from across the local scene.
This weekly music update is brought to you in partnership with PPL PRS Ltd. Big thanks for their ongoing support of local acts and venues.
Tickets running low for Wide Eyed Festival
With Boris’ roadmap now saying that we’ll be back at gigs this summer and autumn, one that’s proving a big hit is Wide Eyed at O2 Academy in September. The one day festival is close to sell out, so if you’re hoping to go then don’t wait too long to grab yourself a ticket to see the likes of Yard Act, The Orielles, The Lounge Society and more. TICKETS.
British Sea Power – Sunday 24 October
Don’t miss out on remaining tickets as British Sea Power’s return to Leicester is rescheduled for Sunday 24 October. TICKETS.
INTERVIEW: CULTURAL EXCHANGES
The annual Cultural eXchanges festival, held by De Montfort University, is always packed full of fantastic arts and culture events, and this year is no different. The one difference is that this year everything’s online. We caught up with the team to find out what you can look forward to as the festival runs through this week.
Tell us a little bit about Cultural eXchanges and the history of the event for anyone who isn’t familiar?
Cultural eXchanges is an annual festival that celebrates the arts and culture through a variety of talks, panel discussions, workshops and performances. Usually held at De Montfort University, this year’s festival is all online, all free and is also the 20th anniversary – so it’s a very big year for us!
What are some of the highlights of this year’s programme?
Jamie Campbell joins the festival to talk about his career and musical ‘Everybody’s Talking about Jamie’. Sir Matthew Bourne OBE is in our lineup to talk about his work with New Adventures. Founder of My Mind Matters Too, Meg Zeenat Wamithi is here to talk about her new app Mind Mapper UK and about how to look after your mental health. Scarlett Westbrook, young climate activist, is offering an in depth discussion about her work in environmental and education policies. With all this and everything in between Cultural eXchanges festival 2021 has a diverse range of events that hosts something for everyone!
For those with an active involvement in the Leicester music scene, or perhaps an interest in music as a future career path, which events would you recommend tuning in to?
On Wednesday 3rd March at 10am we have Music in Response to Covid-19 as the panel, hosted by Dean Jackon (BBC introducing) and featuring guests from PPL, LION/S and Help Musicians and musician Grace Petrie, discuss the challenges of the pandemic and where the music industry might go from here.
Ideas for Songwriting is on Tuesday 2nd March at 16:30 and is with local musician Michael Hadden. Michael is in two local bands, Sister Bliss and Boarder, and is also currently teaching musical instrument lessons.
At 12:00 on Wednesday 3rd March we have In Conversation with DJ Martin Jay who is Caribbean Music Specialist that has been presenting radio for 30 years. He will be in conversation with singer/songwriter Laila St Vie.
We also have two live gigs on our Facebook page; on Tuesday 2nd March at 20:30 we are hosting An Evening with Byfyn – a Hertfordshire based electronic musician. And on Friday 5th March at 20:00 we have a double bill between Low Girl and Courtney Askey who will be playing tunes and discussing all things music.
What have been the unique challenges around organising the event fully online this year?
This year’s festival has been a very different experience being that we are fully online and with using technology there is always going to be difficult. However, with this move online we have managed to expand our festival nationally and internationally which has been a big positive to this year’s programme! Skype has become the greenroom.
How important are events like Cultural eXchanges to the local arts and music scene?
Especially in the current climate, it has been amazing to be able to support local artists and celebrate their work in our festival week.The festival is also a great way for the artists to share their work with a wide and diverse audience, and this year being online this can be shared across the world. Additionally, as a festival run by students it can really help give the next generation a platform to be able to support the sector’s future.
Who are some of your favourite local artists?
Being students in Leicester has allowed us to see so many beautiful creations by people in Leicester. Some of our favourite artists that aren’t in the Cultural eXchanges programme is Bean-Mhi from @milunitashop – her authenticity and the way everything is so beautifully crafted makes us all so so happy, Tim Fowler, Taynee Tinsley, Oh My Butterfly are also some amazing artists that we have all found inspiration from. CJ Pandit is a great musician from Leicester who has some amazing music!
However, we are biased to people we have involved in Cultural eXchanges and feel privileged to have such talent on board with the festival. These include illustrator Lolitsluan, poetry talents Nancy Dawkins and Sarah Jane from Creation Poetry, local indie band, Courtney Askey and drag artist, Danni Spooner.
If you could pick any artist and venue for your first post-lockdown gig, where and who would it be?
Anna – I love De Montfort Hall as a venue so much but have only been there once to see Father John Misty a few years back. I would love to see Jessie Ware or Khraungbin there as their two albums have been on repeat throughout lockdown. Although, a huge thing I miss about live music is the atmosphere of so many people coming together to enjoy art – I think I miss that a little bit more than live music itself, as soon as it’s safe to, I hope to be at gigs as often as I was in zoom quizzes!
Beth – It’s been a dream of mine to see Frank Ocean perform basically anywhere! I like small and intimate music venues but also love love love outdoor concerts and the atmosphere that they have. A girl can dream 🙂
How can people find out more about Cultural eXchanges and get involved?
To find out more about the festival and book your tickets head over to our website! We have an amazing lineup so there is sure to be something for everyone! Also be sure to check out our socials (Instagram, Twitter and Facebook) for more info and behind the scenes bits. If you attend any events let us know what you thought using #cex21 to share your Cultural eXchanges Festival!
Visit the website here – https://www.dmu.ac.uk/cultural-exchanges-festival/index.aspx
Enjoy this week’s best of Leicester playlist packed full of suggestions, recommendations and top local talent.
Have a listen and get in touch to tell us which tracks you’re loving.