Culture: Small Gigs - big impact!

Booking a variety of small gigs or concerts with different genres of music is a substantial boost to your cultural programme but getting a music programme lined up can feel daunting especially without a Director of Music or an events team to pick up the workload. One approach is to get in touch with a music collective near you….

Musicians struggled during lockdown with the closure of venues, festivals and bars and in response many formed informal collectives to support each other and engage creatively, sharing their music on SoundCloud and other streaming platforms. The music collective appears to be here to stay, re-integrating to live performances and looking for spaces to play in.

Music Collective is a phrase used to describe a group of musicians in which membership is flexible and creative control is shared. Not only does this work for the musicians who work with a collective and find strength in numbers but the majority of the collectives new to the music scene are independent. This means building a direct relationship can be good for your music programme too. Many collectives are founded on a genre like the well-established folk group the Nest Collective  - but jazz and classical, fusion mixing spoken word and poetry with music is also gaining momentum and many collectives integrate a diverse cultural offer. Others are set up to support emerging musicians across all genres. This makes building your audience and working together with a collective win-win. By nature, there are a variety of performers, bands, and solo artists but the collective approach is often representative of the creative energy of the town or area surrounding. Thanks to music streaming platforms, people have an increasing appreciation with sharing and collaborating, so getting your audience involved in the social media for your events is integral to the atmosphere of the event.

Another option to consider is to come forward as the ‘home venue’ for an emerging collective music scene in your town, city, or village - or be the catalyst for one to form. Smaller churches with a more intimate space, less elevated acoustics, and seating 100-150 are perfect for smaller gigs. Or think about starting an in-house collective like The Roundhouse Music Collective - an incredible group of emerging musicians who meet weekly, collaborating with professional artists to write and perform their own material. Look at their video here

As you can see from the video - supporting young artists and emerging artists is a key part of the collective mission and provides an innovative approach for young musicians. The Shoreham All-stars are another good example of this with core community development principals underpinning their vision.

This is what they say about their programme:

  • After 8 amazing years, it has been successful on so many levels including:
  • Introducing hundreds of young musicians to music... learning to play & perform together
  • Giving them the opportunity to perform at over 200 events and gigs across Sussex
  • Creating a unique catalogue of 100 original songs
  • Helping each individual develop skills they will use throughout their life, whether in music or beyond, including teamwork, creativity, self-belief, confidence, social & interaction skills

Nine Beats Collective approaches the collective vision as a creative movement to address themes resonating with the realities we live in.

Nine Beats Collective is an international tribe of troubadours, poets, rebels, provocateurs, sages & activists from different continents, different cities, and different experiences, all on the trail of the ancient Bible sayings known as the beatitudes. This October 2022 the NINE BEATS Collective are on tour in the UK with one of the dates at HeartEdge pals, Ascension Hulme, Manchester. The Tour features Collective members in a stripped-back, semi ‘unplugged’ intimate setting that invites reflection and engagement with the beatitudes.

Find out more about the collective here and if your church would like to host one of the tour dates as a venue or would like to get in contact about the tour please email

On a final note, either working with an established collective or supporting a newly formed one, engaging with local musical talent, young people and developing local audiences are all routes to provide a convincing case for funding your cultural programme. We recommend that churches develop relationships with local cultural groups, or youth organisations to apply for funding jointly as funding will be distributed at grass roots level by your local authority. This may be that perfect opportunity to upgrade to eco-friendly LED lighting and integrate a sound desk in your church in partnership with a music collective in your area.

Conact HeartEdge Sarah Rogers for more details -