College concert circuit 'at risk': Education Bill could kill off the breeding ground for bands, writes David Lister

COLLEGE gigs, where sweat-drenched students can see rock bands for the price of a couple of pints, may be killed off by John Patten's Education Bill next year.

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment C...

Recruitment Genius: Interactive / Mobile Developer

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer - Midweight

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Front End Developer

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks