“Grassroots is from the ground up”: Inside Studio Monkey Shoulder, the new grassroots music initiative


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The panel also discussed the difficulties of running and maintaining grassroots projects during the cost of living crisis and the hardships of applying for arts funding. “The money is out there, it’s hard to be told that it isn’t,” said Sunny Paradisos, who’s currently campaigning to bring back Bristol pub The Rhubarb Tavern as a community hub. “If enough people get involved, these things can work.”

Speaking on her experiences running Touching Bass, Alex Rita explained that she felt it was important to create a grassroots space that was “missing for our generation” as a place to have fun and experiment. “We wanted to give people a space to connect, for those who don’t often have the opportunity,” she said.

Studio Monkey Shoulder will allow a creative community to bring to life a pioneering project that spotlights their scene. The UK’s impressive musical landscape is built on the pillars of energised communities formed in and around independent venues, radio stations, record stores, collectives and club nights, and this initiative will help identify one trailblazing music community and work with them to develop an original project with a £10,000 grant, chosen by Gilles Peterson and the Worldwide FM team.

“I really want to discover the next wave of music communities, communities who are finding new ways of doing things and adding to the rich tapestry of music in their cities,” said Gilles Peterson on the project. “We have no idea where this is going to take us, but I can’t wait to see and hear it.”

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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