College concert circuit 'at risk': Education Bill could kill off the breeding ground for bands, writes David Lister
A founder member of The Independent David Lister joined the paper in 1986 as Assistant Home Editor. He became the paper's arts correspondent in 1988 and is now Arts Editor and writes a column each Saturday. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Wednesday 08 December 1993
Virtually all the country's biggest bands played the university circuit in their formative years. New outfits continue to learn their trade in college halls, bars and gymnasiums as last week's New Musical Express showed.
It listed nearly 40 gigs promoted by student unions, featuring names like Chumbawumba, Therapy, the Aphex Twin and Goats Don't Shave.
Prices at college concerts are often under pounds 5 and sometimes free. Even one of the most expensive concerts featuring a big name band, such as the pounds 10 entry for the Pogues at Manchester University tonight, is about half what tickets would cost at a big national venue.
The music industry is worried that the plan by the Secretary of State for Education to prevent student unions from funding 'non-essential' student activities will put ticket prices out of the reach of the college audience and decimate the thriving circuit.
The multinational record companies believe the 5,000 gigs mounted each year by 500 universities and colleges could disappear if the Bill is passed next September.
The circuit has traditionally been the place where new bands get their first experience of playing before a live audience, as well as providing touring venues for big name bands like Simply Red, Suede and The Levellers.
The Levellers' manager, Phil Nelson, said the circuit had been vital to the band's development. 'There is little hope for live bands to get the experience necessary to gain wider recognition without the college circuit lifeline.'
Ed Bicknell, the manager of Dire Straits, was an entertainments officer at Hull University. He said: 'Most of today's first division rock bands have paid their dues on the student circuit. If the policy goes through it will reduce the ability of universities to put on live entertainment.'
The National Union of Students entertainments officer, Matt Williams, said that each union will have to pay the full cost of Performing Rights Society royalties, the commercial rate of hiring a venue, insurance, staff and promotion, if the Bill goes through.
Under the proposed reforms, only core services such as welfare, catering, internal representation and sport can be funded by the grant each student union receives from its college.
- 1 This restaurant has misunderstood the concept of 'cheese and biscuits'
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Spiritual leader allegedly manipulated 400 men into removing testicles to be 'closer to God'
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
'This is what Islam tells us to do': A rare glimpse inside a Saudi Arabian prison – where Isis terrorists are showered with perks and privileges
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
this is an unpaid voluntary position: Circles South East Youth Service: LOOKIN...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading privately owned sp...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is require...
£24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest supplier to the UK'...