Today Inner City Music, the charity that owns and operates Manchester’s Band on the Wall, announced it has secured funding from the Arts Council England to develop plans which could see the venue increase its capacity by approximately 35% (to 500 people) and importantly, provide more learning and participation facilities for its education and charitable activities delivered through partner charity Brighter Sound.
Inner City Music made a first stage capital bid application to Arts Council England and will now work on detailed plans for the estimated £2.5 million project, for which they have been invited to submit in a stage two application within the next 18 months. The Arts Council England will then assess the project against criteria including long-term sustainability and resilience, and the potential for partnership funding.
Gavin Sharp. CEO, Inner City Music said: “While we have a long way to go to secure the extension of Band on the Wall, this first stage of funding is crucial to allow us to develop our plans and we are very grateful to Arts Council England for its support.
“For the last six years we have successfully operated one of the UK’s oldest and most iconic small venues, maintaining our mission to present and showcase the best music from across the globe, with a clear focus on excellence. Our award winning programme is regularly held up as an example, as are our incredibly high production values.
“What is not so visible is our work with the disadvantaged to improve quality of life and opportunities through music. This work, produced in partnership with the music charity, Brighter Sound who are also based at Band on the Wall, reaches the young and old and can have a profound effect on self-esteem and personal happiness.”
Alison Clark, Director North, Arts Council England said: “We are delighted to be able to invest in the extension of the highly popular Band on the Wall venue which will enable it to present an even more ambitious programme to larger audiences.”
Inner City Music’s vision is to enrich people’s lives by enabling them to access, enjoy and participate in the best music from many cultures in a stimulating, social environment. The extension of Band on the Wall will help provide an integrated education programme, developing the venue as centre for creative music making, music technology and multimedia.
Gavin continued: ”Now is the right time to extend Band on the Wall, with the huge amount of development taking place in our neighbourhood – such as NOMA – and the rapid growth of Manchester City Centre we want to be able to bring exceptional, international artists to our growing audience.”