There is no doubt that the events of the last 7 days have sent shockwaves across Wigan as well as the whole World. Literally overnight pubs, restaurants, theatres and concert venues were dealt a blow when firstly the public were told on Monday to stay away from them and finally on Friday formal closure was enforced.
Over the last year I have been bringing together local solo artists and bands with venues keen to host live music. Whilst being out on the circuit I have become friends with artists who were steadily getting established, so I was deeply saddened for them losing their income instantly.
I also know many pub landlords and this has been disastrous for them, especially during a week where they would have enjoyed significant takings from St Patrick’s Day and Mother’s Day.
But out of adversity there is always Northern spirit and music is power. My shock was quickly replaced by pride as I witnessed the extremely quick and hugely positive response that my friends demonstrated.
Here is a roundup of some of the events of the week that have seen local talent and venues adapting to new ways of connecting with their audience:
The music community has rallied together to perform online gigs including; Tom Jones, Sarah Hardman, Boomin, Jon Brindley and Joe Astley. Joe has been promoting his aptly titled song Anthem for the North, the feature of this blog, which he had written and recorded prior to the latest events. So inspiring are the lyrics that Wigan Athletic and Wigan Council have shown their support through social media shares.
Other professions related to the industry including sound engineers, photographers, promoters are using their down time wisely to become productive, finishing projects that may have taken months to complete, writing and recording new material.
TMP college has shifted their tutoring online to make sure that students can complete their courses and qualifications on time.
Let’s support our town’s artistic heritage
During the many conversations I have had this week, every single person or business has spoken of their determination not to be beaten by circumstances, but to rise positively, maintain some form of income and plan for when things return with a vengeance.
On reflection many positives can come from this, online gigs can be viewed by people who may never have gone out in Wigan at the weekend, so they will realise what they have been missing. Artists posting more material online are getting donations directly from supportive music lovers lessening the impact of an instantly lost livelihood. Having more online content can only be brilliant for their brand awareness.
All of this is only one week after life changed beyond recognition and already Northern Spirit is cutting through the doom and gloom with laser like stubbornness and resilience.
Featured Artist – Joe Astely – Anthem for the North… In Joe’s words
“ANTHEM FOR THE NORTH” – JOE ASTLEY
Written and Performed by Joe Astley
Produced by Gareth Nuttall – The Lounge Recording Studio
Music Video by Ryan Connor
With thanks to the people of Wigan Town Centre
These are difficult times, but if I believe in anything, I believe in the power of people and in Northerners. I genuinely feel like there’s no one else like us in the world. We have a unique strength and lust for life that carries us through the darkest of days and unites us when we are at our weakest; and no matter what faces us when we wake up each day, we greet it with a smile, we have a laugh and we crack on through the good times and bad.
I wrote this song some years back now at my old local the Raven Wigan – in Wigan’s secret beer garden! Having grown up playing in the pubs and the bars around here, I’ve got to know so many people and I’ve come to admire our Northern charm. We’ve got charisma, we’ve got front, we’ve got Northern soul. I’m proud to be a part of it.
The North has always believed in me, I believe in us now to pull together.