2023: A YEAR IN NUMBERS
It’s been a very eventful year here at Future Yard – one where we’ve finally been able to get into a rhythm after all the disruptions that Covid and lockdowns brought to our lives. It’s a year that has seen us host a huge number of shows, from the green shoots of brand new emerging artists right through to well established touring heavyweights. It was an undoubted highlight having The Coral play a headline show here in Birkenhead at a moment in their career where they’ve shown that creativity and stylistic development needn’t stop after 20 years in the music industry. Their journey is an inspiring one to all of the young musicians at the start of their career who have played on the very same stage.
Behind the music on stage, we’ve seen dozens of young people from the area start their careers in the live music industry through our Sound Check programme – and we’re very excited about a new opportunity to expand on that in the new year. This programme is one of the most fundamental building blocks of Future Yard, and we’re seeing evidence of it being recognised across the sector as a model for bringing new talent into an industry which has traditionally been poor at offering opportunities. All our live shows are powered by staff who have come through this programme, and they’re helping to show the ropes to the next generation coming up behind them.
You may not know about our Saturday morning New Noise programme, where we let the music makers of tomorrow take centre stage; you may well know about Mosh Tots, where little rockers get to enjoy their own live show with their family on a Sunday morning; you may have heard the din coming from our basement studios, where artists at all levels are perfecting their skills and writing new songs on a daily basis; you may have performed at our weekly Open Mic night, or sat in one of artist development sessions, unpacking aspects of the music industry for tomorrow’s stars. We believe that great things happen when you put all these events, initiatives, people and passion in one space and make sure that they all work seamlessly alongside each other. And we’re seeing the evidence of great things on a daily basis.
In April we started on our journey as a National Portfolio Organisation with Arts Council England, which is a massive sign of how far we’ve come since we got the keys to this building in early 2020. We are the first ever NPO in Wirral, and we join 984 cultural organisations across England receiving central funding to deliver cultural programmes and activity. It has been an enlightening journey for us so far, and we have learnt so much in the first 9 months, about understanding our audiences. And in October we were invited to Westminster by Alison McGovern MP and Lord Hall of Birkenhead to speak about our work and plans. What has come to light over the past 12 months is how important it is to our local community, and those looking at us from outside, to have Birkenhead at the centre of these conversations – around music, culture and society – and to have a voice on the biggest platforms.
The year ended with the return of the cross-river Night Bus, as a result of months of campaigning. This might not seem huge compared with some of out other successes this year, but we’re absolutely made up to have it back! It also shows you what can be done when we make our voices heard on issues that matter.
We’ve also welcomed a record number of audience numbers through the doors this year, and, simply, we couldn’t do all this without you. You are the people that drive all this, by supporting the artists, supporting us and empowering us to offer all these opportunities to local young people to get a start in a sector that they love.
Thank you for your continued support. And we hope to see you in 2024 – we’ve got even more planned.