In American music industry conference with tickets currently costing over $1000 – you wouldn’t have thought it was at all relevant to the Northern Powerhouse. But you’d be wrong.
South by South West is an music industry conference which occurs in Austin, Texas in March. It’s where the industry producers, agents and the like go to hang out and network. For those on the inside there are speeches to hear, bands to listen to and films to see – if you’ve got the readies for a ticket.
But it turns out that the people from the Northern Powerhouse have decided to go along too. Given £15 million by the government Northern Powerhouse Missions have been going on a series of junkets (sorry important trade missions) around the world.
While conventions such as “Seaenergy Offshore Wind & Renewables” in France seem to tie in well with the the Northern Powerhouse strategy, the strategy makes no mention of the creative industries such as music and film, which feature highly in the SXSW schedule.
Of course, there is a big problem for the music industry in the north with HS2. Sure it might sound like a good way of getting people from Birmingham or London to concerts and the theatre in Leeds or Manchester. The thing is, it will also make it easier for people to get to London and the array of entertainment opportunities there.
In fact with no east west connections meaning a trip from Sheffield to Manchester goes via Birmingham. So the ease of journeys to London may even mean people go south out of the region for their live music. The opposite effect of what musicians will want.
Meanwhile, here is Stop HS2’s contribution to the music industry: