Some of Hull’s biggest and most prestigious venues have met for the first time in almost 18 months to reaffirm their commitment to promote the area as a City of Music.
The Hull City of Music group – made up of some of the area’s biggest and best known venues – was formed early in 2020 but was quickly curtailed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It was set up to encourage the experience of live music within the community through attendance, participation and education, and acknowledge the rich music culture in Hull, its history and its aspirations.
The group – made up of venues such as Social, Bonus Arena, Welly, Adelphi, Asylum, Humber Street Sesh, the new Warehouse Project at Princes Quay, O’Reilly’s and Hull City Hall – met for the first time since March 2020 at Social in Humber Street.
The pandemic has had a devastating effect on the live events industry and the group hopes, by working together, they will emerge much stronger to the benefit of the city as a whole.
Hull City of Music will set up a one-stop shop website to promote gigs across all venues in the city as well as social media channels to announce new events.
Andy King, commercial services director of Hull University Students’ Union and Asylum venue, said: “The last 18 months have been extremely challenging for our students and we look forward to welcoming them back into our venues to experience some fantastic live events which we have planned for later this year and into 2022.
“The financial impact of the pandemic on our venues has been significant, but with the financial support provided by the Cultural Recovery Fund we are confident that we can rebuild the business into a thriving venue once more. We look forward to working with Hull Music Group to put Hull well and truly on the map as a City of Music.”
Mark Page, of Sesh Events, said: “Establishing Hull as a ‘City of Music’ has been an ambition of ours at Sesh Events since we started the weekly Sesh live music nights 18 years ago. A more collaborative approach between all involved in Hull’s exceptional and burgeoning music sector, will help us to provide more exciting platforms and events such as Humber Street Sesh for the future. The social and economic benefits of this approach are boundless for the city. We’re delighted to be part of this progressive conversation and group.”
Aaron Mellor, managing director of Tokyo Industries, the new owner of The Welly, Hull Box Office and Princes Quay, said: “The creation of HULL as a ‘City of Music’ is a key legacy of its City Of Culture status – Hull has a great history in live music and an amazing portfolio of live music venues. One of the UK’s best global exports is music; it’s vital that cities everywhere understand the connection and community music brings to a city’s fabric and its wider economy.”
Dan Harris, general manager at the Bonus Arena, said: “It was great to meet up again after such a long absence. The vision and energy behind this initiative remains as vibrant as it has always been and I am thoroughly looking forward to continue working with the venues, promoters and musicians across the City.”
Councillor Marjorie Brabazon, chairman of Hull Culture and Leisure’s Board, said: “I am thrilled that our prestigious venues are finally progressing reopening and that we are part of a partnership that will help to establish Hull as one of the key destinations for high-quality cultural experiences for all to enjoy.”
Councillor Rosemary Pantelakis, portfolio holder for leisure and culture at Hull City Council, said: “Hull is a city with a musical soul, and a strong musical heritage. Iconic venues, like the Adelphi, have nurtured and given a platform to local bands that have gone on to enjoy great success and recognition, and also brought talented musicians from all over the world to play in Hull.
“Fantastic established venues like the Welly Club and City Hall have been joined by the incredible 3,500- capacity Bonus Arena, and we also now have one of the most unique and acclaimed annual music festivals in the country with the Humber Street Sesh – a festival with its origins very much rooted in the city’s vibrant music scene.”
Janice Wincott, manager of Hull City Hall and New Theatre on behalf of Hull Culture and Leisure and Hull City Council, said: “After a very challenging time for the industry during the pandemic, we are thrilled to resume being a member of this unique collaboration to celebrate and promote Hull’s rich live music heritage and continue the city’s recognition as a world-class cultural destination.”
The group aims to meet every month and is looking at engaging with other venues, promoters and artists in the city.