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It's no great revelation that music and the arts are a hard industry to get into, they're strong and corporation-led when you start looking at the big opportunities and subsequent big (or at least fairly stable) bucks.
I'm here to look at the music and arts industries in smaller cities and more rural areas. Those smaller cities and rural towns that made the likes of Taylor Swift, Eric Clapton and Meryl Streep, so it's not like talent only grows in big gleaming cities, so why are their arts industries so small and in some cases dying fast?
Take, for instance, Salisbury (UK) which is where I have spent the last few years. The last census stated that the population was 45,000 and locals maintain it's only classed as a city due to Salisbury Cathedral. In short, there isn't a lot going on, except when you start looking at the arts.
When I arrived there were arts festivals galore, we had Salisbury International Arts Festival, Salisbury Literature Festival, Fisherton Festival (which was a really awesome street party), and Salisbury Live which was two weeks where almost every pub in Salisbury had live bands on on Friday and Saturday and you could pop between them and see all this amazing talent showcased.
In the last two years, they have combined the Arts Centre, which was a gorgeous converted church building with the most passionate staff you've ever seen, with the Playhouse and City Hall, which do mainly theatre productions and are also amazing. This was due to a lack of government funding and needing to "combine the pots" so to speak. Since this was rumoured (it has since began happening, much to the displeasure of the community) we suffered a crackdown on art-funded events.
It's no surprise to any locals that playing gigs around here doesn't get you paid often. It's often treated like a favour or something you do for drinks which brings us back to the rest of the smaller areas in Britain. In times like these, where things get tough, people always fall back to the arts but unlike most times previously, now people don't want to pay for them anymore. Is this because they can get everything they want online? Is it because the overall passion for going to listen to live music/performances died? Who knows, but it's starting to really demoralise younger musicians from the get go, requiring more experienced or older musicians to get people a leg up for them to even stand a chance of playing anywhere let alone getting paid.
This has led to groups of younger artists and musicians creating groups, even record labels for themselves, combining the things they've learned together to make themselves undeniably good. They're having to prove themselves more so they're fighting with everything they have, but is it working? To some extent, but immediately, no. Will it work? In time, definitely.
Is this really the end of the music industry for our smaller cities? Or is this just the beginning of an arts-based revolution?