We need to think about music differently; as a transformative opportunity,” says Future Yard founder Craig Pennington. “There’s not a single music venue dedicated to celebrating new music in Wirral. For a place with music in its DNA, this is a saddening truth and a missed opportunity. Our town is scarred from decades of economic decay. The latest Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD) ranked Birkenhead in the bottom 0.3% of electoral wards in England. We need to think about music differently. Birkenhead needs it.”
Its 2019 Future Yard Festival piloted the team’s plan, testing the idea with a weekend-long festival which created a financial impact of £282,191, about which 97% of visitors expressed a wish to attend more events like Future Yard. It’s now following up with a community music venue and skills hub, that will create a permanent home to realise its vision, focusing not just on live music, but industry skills and artistic development.
A new space at 75 Argyle Street in Birkenhead will become a community music venue run by the CIC, providing industry-led training pathways into the live sector for local young people. 10,000 sq ft of space will create a 350 capacity live venue, 11 music studios, a workspace and café/bar.
For Birkenhead, it’s an opportunity to showcase internationally-significant artists, diversify the town’s night-time economy, create sustainable, high quality careers for local people and incubate and accelerate new music industry start-ups.
For young people in the area, its training programmes are accredited with Arts Award (Ofqual, Trinity College); an apprenticeships and FE offer is being developed with partners and undergraduate and post-graduate placements with the University of Liverpool will begin in January 2021.
Kindred has supported the Future Yard team with several successful funding applications and continues to champion the opening of the new venue. Future Yard is fast-becoming hugely important to the Wirral’s eco-system and the renaissance in and around Birkenhead and Hamilton Square.