DINA, Sheffield’s DIY artspace, has been commissioned by Arts Council England to produce i-NOW, a ground breaking season of work dedicated to offsetting the damage to Sheffield's music scene created by COVID.
According to ‘This is Music’ (the economic measurement tool of the UK music industry) their post-COVID impact report shows that music unemployment rose to 35% of the countries active musicians - with music's contribution to the UK's economy falling from £5.8 billion to £3.1 billion.
For many artists the two year COVID pandemic has crushed creative production and led to inertia, poor well-being and loss of work. During lockdown 72,000 UK musicians lost permanent contracts (UK Music 2022).
An audit of Sheffield's post-COVID music landscape reveals a loss of multiple city based music organisations and venues. Changes include management shift at the Leadmill (as it falls out of local independent control), the closures of CODE, Gut Level, Sheffield Creative Guild, Foodhall, Radio Mondo and the ongoing threat to small independent DIY venues like the Dorothy Pax and DINA itself.
Deborah Egan, i-NOW Artistic Director and Director at DINA, said "For music creatives and venues in the city this is depressing news coming at a time when work for in the sector remains short and opportunities few. i-NOW wants to redress this by inviting 5 internationally recognised curators to work with local musicians to create a strong music events programme to stimulate and inspire audiences and creatives alike. Collaborating with grassroots organisations and venues, we will be profiling emergent trends and opportunties via workshops offering practical production techniques, live gigs, production skills and the launch of a radical new label."
i-NOW connects five innovators - UK curators Nik Colke Void, ITOA (Kalida Festival), Alex McClean (Algomech), Abdullah Al-Walli (WARP) and Rotherham based composer Mark Fell to a network of local grassroots organisations to design events and workshops to stimulate the cities audiences and musicians alike.
The next event on December 2nd is curated by Abdullah Al-Walli (WARP /Bad Taste Records) and is at Sydney and Matilda and features Mansur Brown and Jaydon Clover. Entry is cheap and audiences are invited to Pay What You Can afford! DINA curators and partners will also co-create over 25 free to attend music workshops in South Yorkshire during January/February 2023 .
i-NOW‘s new independent record label has been created in partnership with radio station Black Beacon Sound. ‘The Label’ will only release music from artists offering socially relevant messages and avoid mainstream themes - challenging artists to produce tracks that address contemporary problems and relevance to audiences. The first release will launched live at an DINA on Tuesday 13th December - Free to attend.