July saw the music festivals kicking off, rain permitting, and a number of debates.
We started the month with a question: Why can’t Birmingham do it like Manchester? asked Dan Jones of Ten4 having visited the latter for their International Festival. He wasn’t saying we should be like Manchester, just maybe learn from their attitude to things. The resulting debate on the Ten4 blog was most interesting with Rhonda Wilson’s comment in particular bearing repeating:
“Its that sharing thing. Here everyone wants to own things so they prevent other people doing their thing. There people got it – one thing that everyone has a share of and some trust in the directors. And look at whatâ€™s happened. Letâ€™s leave this antiquated idea about power and control behind us and work on some things together. Then we all might benefit.”
The Rootsville Festival happened despite quite heavy rain which kept the turnout low but those who went had a fantastic time. Or at least I did, dancing in the rain to a wide range of musical styles.
Ex-Poet Laureate Roshan Doug wrote a blistering attack on the city after we lost the Bollywood awards to Shefield, concluding:
I suggest our arts leaders, both in the public and private sectors, stop being so lame and ineffectual. Instead I would urge them to learn from Sheffield and start using, what they would regard as dirty, c-words – coordination, cooperation and campaign.
I came across the Pub Conversations events where artists got together to discuss art and the issues surrounding the creation of art. I went along to one and found it good. Towards the end of the year they addressed one of the hot issues of the year, studio space.
The Supersonic Festival occurred and was a big success. I certainly loved every minute of it. I decided to track all the reactions online on blogs, photos on Flickr, videos on YouTube etc and was astounded by the quantity and at times quality I found. And thus the traditon of the Collective Memory was established.
Big news on the clubbing front was the return of the Que Club as plans to covert it into flats and offices fell through. Nice to see things working the right way for a change. It re-opened with Drop Beats Not Bombs and was, by all accounts, rather good fun.
The Surface Unsigned Festival came to an end with The Brascoes taking the big prize. Runners up were Regis, Clout and Jazz Thrash Assassin. This year it goes national with “300 nights of live music involving over 5,000 musicians from across the UK.” Flippin’ eck!
The Birmingham Post got a new editor who decided to shake things up with their Power 50 drawing 17 of them from the creative industries. Much musing about what this all meant, if anything, followed. Which is kind of the point.
A video interview with Little Chris, producer of the Brumcast podcast, surfaced and confirmed him to be a good man doing good works.
I expressed concern about “Logi-itis” on the Rhubarb Festival banners. Comments followed.
And at some point this month the Creative City Awards took place. I didn’t report on it as, quite frankly, I didn’t quite know how to put the freakishly odd nature of the thing into words. But take place it did.