NEWS: Major music project shelved as AWM collapses

Clare Edwards

One of the region’s most ambitious music initiatives has been halted in the wake of AWM’s demise.

Music Central, a development programme for music professionals in the West Midlands, was due to start in September this year. The two year scheme planned to establish an industry support network ranging from mentor programmes to operational infrastructure. Organisers have now been told that £250,000 from AWM is to be withdrawn, making a further £250,000 subject to match funding.

Clare Edwards, who represents the West Midlands in the UK’s Music Development Association, has been spearheading Music Central since it’s inception two years ago. “The West Midland’s doesn’t have a music development agency,” says Edwards, “the agendas of our industry professionals are not being represented at a national level. Music Central was looking to establish that voice, now the whole project is unlikely to go ahead.”

But as cuts loom across all sectors, Edward’s warns of deeper problems facing the music industry. “A real danger is the collapse of our music industry’s hidden economy. The workshops, school and community programmes that were funded or supported are all under threat. This will leave a substantial hole in the revenue streams of many gigging musicians.”

With widespread confusion over the agenda and role of the new Local Enterprise Partnership, Birmingham City Council has told all funded arts organisations to ‘expect at least 10% cuts’. With little more coming from Whitehall, many in the West Midland’s are left waiting for October’s spending review for developments.