Learn & Join In: Sound Lounge 21 Q & A

Have you ever wondered about what kind of work goes into planning and delivering a gig, concert or festival?

As part of THSH’s commitment to discovering, developing and promoting Birmingham’s future music professionals, a team of six young creatives have, over the past nine months with the support of our in-house experts, been finding out exactly what it takes to put on a major music event.

Between Friday 2 August and Sunday 4 August, the Sound Lounge 21 team will be delivering the first ever Summer Music Festival at Town Hall and in Symphony Hall Café Bar.

The free three-day event, planned, programmed and delivered by this new force in Birmingham music, features some of the city’s most exciting emerging talent.

We caught up with members of the Sound Lounge 21 team to get the low-down on their experience so far, and to hear all about their plans for the event…

THSH: Tell us a little about who you are and what your role is

Omar Khan [OK]: I’m a Journalism student at the University of Derby, and I’m part of the PR & Marketing team for SL21

Amy Martin [AM]: I am the creative producer for SL21, I have been working with the group from the start to shape the project and support them in producing the festival

Rumer Cooper [RC]: My role is PR and Marketing, alongside Omar. Together we are mainly in charge of creating the communications strategy, social media and the documentation of the festival

Yulia Spirina [YS]: My role is helping to produce SL21

Aaron Brown [AB]: My role within in the team was originally a technician but I moved to documentation of the festival and being part of the team that promotes SL21

THSH: What exactly is Sound Lounge 21?

AM: It is a dynamic creative project for young people, providing them with the skills to shape and brand the Sound Lounge 21 youth programme at THSH whilst developing their skills as cultural leaders

RC: We’re a group of 6 young people who were brought together by THSH to create the perfect FREE Summer Music Festival. As a team we meet every Thursday to update one another and work on tasks that are completed both during the sessions and out of sessions. We are also working with industry professionals who have helped us gain and develop skills in events management

THSH: How have you found the whole experience so far?

OK: Stressful! But exciting and an excellent learning curve. It’s a relief now all the bands have been confirmed, so I’m just looking forward to the festival at the moment

YS: Each of us has a super power to contribute to this project. We are putting in our knowledge into something that challenges our skills. There is always something to learn from

AB: Hard, because I never thought so much could go into the planning of a festival!

THSH: What are your ambitions for the Summer Music Festival?

AM: I’d like over 1000 young people to come to the festival and have a good time, for the group to feel proud of what they have achieved and for SL21 to be an annual music festival for young people

RC: Success. It’s what everyone wants for their festival; I want young people to come to this event and not want to leave! And the one after that and the one after that. I want this festival to become as widely recognised as V-Fest. I also hope that all of the artists featured at our festival go on to really make a name for themselves

AB: My ambition is to see the talent that Birmingham has to offer

THSH: Is there a particular ethos behind the festival?

OK: We wanted to keep the event free, and have a focus on engaging young artists and giving them time in the spotlight

RC: Our event is free and open to everyone over the 3 days offering you a very diverse experience whether you’re into ska or indie or rock, it will be featured at this event. It’s our first time so it will be special and it will be the start of something new! And how often do you hear of a festival made by youths for youths?!

AB: I believe it is about finding amazing talent in our local area

THSH: What can gig-goers expect from each of the festival days?

AM: Friday, at Town Hall will be pretty lively and rooted in black music, Saturday should be loungey and laid back in the Symphony Hall foyers and Sunday? Sunday at Town Hall will be loud!

YS: Every day is different. I am curious about it all

AB: They can expect to find a variety of very diverse music

THSH: Who are you personally looking forward to seeing and hearing live at the festival?

OK: I’m excited for New Killer Shoes, because they’re probably the biggest name we’ve got on our line-up. However, I’m really looking forward to Friday night as a whole because I think we’ve nailed the programming to ensure we have a strong vibe throughout the evening

AM: Call Me Unique. Just wow. She sounds like a mixture of Angie Stone, Eryka Badu and Jill Scott. She can do this amazing rhythmic vocal percussion and has such amazing stage presence. She opens the festival on the Friday night at Town Hall at 7pm

RC: To be honest, everyone, but particularly the Open Mic acts as we won’t know the music, making it a great surprise for us on the day! I also believe that everyone sounds different live, I’m a big fan of Lumi HD so it would make sense that I am looking forward to them the most!

YS: Just recently I’ve seen Call me Unique and she was fab! So I’m really looking forward to listening to her again. Also I want to hear one of my choices, the band MINIMUM

AB: All the acts, including those who come to the open mic because you never know who might step up

THSH:. Do you have a message for the music fans of Birmingham ahead of 2-4 August?

OK: Turn up! It’s free and there’s guaranteed to be something there for everyone

RC: Yes! Make sure you come and experience the first Sound Lounge 21 Festival! You never know it could be a night you’ll never forget. All you can do is have fun and listen to great artists and support Birmingham in the best possible way

YS: Enjoy it, it’ll be fun!

AB: Come along, and let your ears listen to some amazing music…

The Sound Lounge 21 Summer Festival takes place on Friday 2, Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 August 2013. Free admission. Line-up and further information is here.

Sound Lounge 21 on Facebook, Twitter (hashtag #sl21) and Wordpress.

The project is being planned and delivered by Aaron Brown, Rumer Cooper, Nick Hart, Omar Khan, Julia Spirina and Reuben Reynolds, with the support of the THSH Education & Community team, Creative Producer Amy Martin, Arts Award Advisor Juliet Raynsford, and the THSH Programming, Technical, Development, Front of House and Marketing & Communications teams.