Adam Behr (Newcastle University, UK)


This paper begins by outlining the concept of the live music ‘ecology’ as applied to specific localities (notably cities) and the various relationships within them – such as between venues, musicians, promoters, councils and licensing officers. It considers the research background to the current project ­– the ‘live music census’ methodology, as deployed in individual cities from Melbourne, to Edinburgh and, latterly, across the UK – and then moves on to examine its wider applications. Through a discussion of the relationship between local music, national polities and their international contexts, it highlights the interconnectedness of live music ecologies, and economies.

The potential ramifications for local music ecologies in the UK from Brexit, for instance, are considerable. Even beyond the problems faced by touring acts, the ‘cultural pushback’ of perceptions that Britain is harder to visit could limit opportunities for local promoters and venues. Disruptions to supply chains risk additional challenges for festivals and production companies, and limits to free movement could impact local economies – like the Midlands – heavily dependent on recruitment of skilled workers from Europe, and on a tourist economy. This paper examines sets up the theoretical context, and practical consequences, for the interdependence of local music and national policy.