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Diary Dates

Alternativ Karaoke – Every Friday
The Shed

Get Friday night done right with Alternativ Karaoke! From 10pm – late you can take over The Vault stage at The Shed and jump around like your favourite rock star. Alternativ Karaoke is all about the big anthems, so whether you’re pop punk or hardcore, get warming up those vocal cords.

Pip Blom – Saturday 17 February
O2 Academy Leicester

“Never listen to people who want to change your music.” With that advice from a fellow musician, Amsterdam based Pip Blom (19, at the time) started writing songs. Three years after her demo album and an array of singles later, her sound had shifted into Courtney Barnett and The Breeders territory. The ‘little girl with a guitar’ had formed a fully-fledged indie rock band line-up. But it is still Pip.

High Fade – Thursday 29 February 
The Soundhouse

On a three-man crusade to set dance floors alight with their inimitable brand of razor-sharp funk and disco, High Fade can already count Jack Black, Cypress Hill, Deep Purple’s Glenn Hughes and Brad Wilk from Rage Against the Machine as fans. With over one thousand gigs now under their belt, High Fade’s refined, infectious live performances have become an integral part of the band’s DNA, allowing them to put on a show that supersedes anything their fans have seen before!

The Zutons – Friday 1 March
O2 Academy

The Liverpool band known for their big, ballsy anthems brimming with urgent saxophone and meaty riffs; swampy rhythms and pop to jump around to. The Zutons scored two Top 10 hits with Why Won’t You Give Me Your Love? and Valerie which went on to become one of Amy Winehouse’s biggest hits produced by Mark Ronson.

Sub Focus – Saturday 9 March
O2 Academy

From his beginnings as a bedroom DJ five years ago, to headlining the Glade stage at Glastonbury in 2010, Nick Douwma, better known as Sub Focus, has become one of the most interesting, innovative and important voices working in British electronic music today. Douwma has created compositions for Chase & Status (Flashing Lights) and Example (Kickstarts), remixed The Prodigy, Deadmau5 and Dizzee Rascal, while his own tracks (including Airplane, X-Ray, Rock It, Could This Be Real) have won Sub Focus fans in the form of Zane Lowe, Annie Mac, Grooverider and Mistajam.


INTERVIEW: Looking ahead to Leicester Music Conference

Are you looking to progress your career in music? Or do you know someone who dreams of building a future in the industry? The inaugural Leicester Music Conference takes place on Friday 16 February with a packed line-up of panels and discussions, which are sure to inspire. We caught up with HQ’s Dr Yasin El Ashrafi, who is behind organising the event, to find out more.

What inspired you to launch the Leicester Music Conference?

I’ve been to a lot of music conferences over the last few years and it’s quite expensive buying the tickets, travelling there and back etc, so I wanted to provide a chance for people locally to have an affordable conference they could go to. I also wanted to bring the music industry to Leicester to introduce them to our city and expose them to our talented artist and industry professionals to help showcase what an amazing city we are and how much potential we have!

Regional music is really important and we’ve been too quiet in Leicester for too long. We need to shout about what we have in order to bring in fresh investments, and to generate enthusiasm for the national and international music and associated creative industries to work with us and our businesses. It’s basically another way of putting Leicester firmly on the map for something cool and positive and will be a springboard for many other opportunities.

Who is the conference aimed at?

It’s aimed at people hoping to have a sustainable career in the music industry and also those already working in it. We have tailored the panels and workshops in a way that there’s something for people at every level.

What can people expect on the day?

Expect panels and workshops from some of the most well renowned industry experts and music companies, networking opportunities and an amazing showcase event of local, regional and national artists and DJs.

How supportive do you find the Leicester music scene?

The Leicester music scene is generally really supportive but still quite segmented with everyone just getting on with their own projects. I’ve always been passionate about growing our scene and providing open mic opportunities or showcase events and festivals, such as Brew Beat, where we can bring multi genre opportunities to as many people as possible. I think it’s also important to be passing on the industry knowledge I acquire through my work in the music industry, community and education.

What advice would you give to a new artist looking to breakthrough locally?

My advice is to just be as consistent as possible. Go to as many open mics as you can, to network and to use social media to create as much content as possible. But also to make sure you stay authentic and, most importantly, have fun!

Tell us some of the standout sessions as part of the conference?

TikTok are doing a best practice session and showcasing new tools for musicians and creators, which will be amazing as they are regarded as one of the most important platforms for emerging artists. It’s the first time they’ve ever done this in Leicester so it’s a must see. The UK music panel on how to create a sustainable career and the how to get funding panels are essential for early stage individuals, whilst for those already working in music the ‘Know Your Rights’ will be great for them to make sure they can maximise their revenue from their music. To be honest every workshop and panel are amazing and I’m really happy with what we’ve curated.

What is the best piece of music industry advice you’ve ever been given?

The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is just to believe in myself and never give up! Everyone is winging it to a certain extent so just focus on doing the best you can and eventually if you believe in yourself and keep pushing it will all start to happen.

Is Leicester Music Conference something that will grow annually?

Yes this year is just the pilot/proof of concept. The longer term plan is to grow it into a multi-day, multi-venue conference and festival. We have exciting plans and backing from the industry and council, so as soon as this year has finished we’ll start working on next year!

Who can attend? 

Anyone over 18 can attend but we really want to encourage attendance from those who are really serious about a career in music or those who want to increase their knowledge and networks in the industry. There is a showcase event after the conference though and anyone who loves great music can attend that.

Leicester Music Conference takes place at 2Funky Complex on Friday 16 February, with tickets priced from £10. Tickets are available via the website –


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