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Learn and Join In - Fay Todd on Sound Lounge 21

Over the summer for the first time ever as a project manager within the THSH Learn and Join In team I found myself in quite an unusual situation. Instead of lurking behind the scenes with a phone and radio in hand making sure all was well I was sat in the middle of Town Hall watching an event as an audience member.

It was quite a surreal experience but also a very proud moment. Not only was I watching an amazing performance by the talented young singer Kezia Soul, from a distance I was also observing a group of young people with whom I had been working with as part of an intensive training programme of just 2 hours per week (and a lot of their own spare time too) over 12 months, and who were now running their own music festival, like they had done this many times before!

The opening night of the Sound Lounge 21 Summer Music Festival, THSH’s first major festival event created for young people by young people, was such an achievement for the small but perfectly formed team of five.

Behind the scenes the group have been supported by THSH Learn and Join In team, creative producer Amy Martin, Arts Award advisor Juliet Raynsford and production manager Chris Cuthbert as well as the THSH Technical, Development, Front of House, Marketing & Communication teams.

A lot of learning has taken place along the way and not just by the young people! For example, it has been great to hear exchanges of playlists and recommendations of new venues and emerging talent between the SL21 group and our programming team…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

I was amazed by the group dynamic too; how a group of young people who had never met before, and who have very different tastes in music, collectively and with great maturity and professionalism approached programming and delivering a three-day festival.

“Prior to the start of Sound Lounge 21, putting together a CV to try and find way into working in music was a struggle. Now I can say that I’ve helped programme, promote and oversee the running of a music festival for real”– Nick Hart

“Support from professionals was excellent and yet, as a participant, I still had the freedom and responsibility to make decisions and be fully hands-on involved in the processes leading up to and on the days of the event”– Reuben Reynolds

“I’ve always dreamed of being part of organising a festival from scratch, but never thought I had the skills, knowledge or contacts. Now I know that I do, and that’s had a massive impact to my outlook on life”– Omar Khan

Following the Sound Lounge programme this year we are delighted to announce that one of the team, Reuben Reynolds has been appointed as Sound Lounge Fellow.

Reuben will be working closely with our programming team as well as mentoring other young people joining the scheme. If you would like to to try your hand at programming events for young people with other young creatives from across Birmingham we will be recruiting for our next programme soon, so keep an eye out of on this website for details.

– Fay Todd, Project Manager (Community Engagement), THSH Learn & Join In