There have been a number of discussions on-line about the nature and origins of the Wakefield Music Collective so thought I’d write down the hows and whys of its beginnings.
(I was the Music Collective’s founder and sometimes Chair, sometimes Treasurer, sometimes fundraiser, sometimes stage manager, always litter picker, between 1991 and 2005)
The Wakefield Music Collective started in 1991 by myself and Jodie Hawkins, then a journalist with the Wakefield Express, as an umbrella organisation that could support anybody’s musical dreams regardless of style, ability or ambition.
It was formed to counter a rather negative view held by some in the local authority at that time that music, particularly popular music, was not important to the cultural life of the district and should not be supported.
The collective was formed to lobby for popular music to be taken seriously and set about creating events, training programs, marketing initiatives to raise the profile of the Wakefield music scene to a level where it could no longer be ignored.
It found friends in the local authority and succeeded is getting funding for a range of activities not only from Wakefield Council but also Arts Council and Youth Music.
It contributed to the writing of the cultural policy for the district in 1994 that included a promise to support young bands.
It worked with Youth Service to open up youth clubs for young bands to rehearse. As the name grew people could bring their ideas to the collective, join the collective and find support in realising them.
As the organisation got more established there developed trust between the council and the collective so that if the collective headed up a project the council were more likely to support it.
This provided a valuable leg up for new ideas and provided a network of support for individuals. Basically, if you had an idea the collective would support you.
The collective was made up of musicians, promoters, audiences, journalists, artists, other musical organisations, basically anybody who wanted to support music. Hundreds of people have contributed to the collective over the years, too many to mention.
It’s overriding policy was that it was better to speak with one voice regardless of our different opinions.\
Hope that clears that up.
Picture with Ian Hawkins (right) who never gets a mention but has done, and shifted, more stuff for Clarence over the years that it was about time he did. And we are grinning because we built that monstrosity of a front of house tower behind us ourselves. And it didn’t fall down. For a few days at least.