Bristol has long been recognised as a hotbed of creativity, even being named the UK’s ‘most musical city’ back in 2010. But while this often conjures images of underground music scenes and exhibitions in abandoned factories, I for one would be proud of all the city’s exports.
You only need to look at the likes of George Ezra — who moved to Bristol to study at the British and Irish Modern Institute of Music — for evidence that the city can hold its own as a focal point for real, internationally desirable pop music. Major label-encrusted ditties like his may leave a bad taste in the mouths of some DIY-til-I-die purists, but has the music really changed simply because it’s now blaring out at Glastonbury?
It’s also easy to be cynical about the impact of X Factor and the like on the quality of music. However for those rallied around last year’s fifth place winner — Bristol’s own Jake Sims of Stereo Kicks — it was yet another way to put our small put perfectly formed city on the map. No doubt too that this year’s Southwest hopefuls will be looking to emulate or better Jake, with Cirencester’s Hannah Kilminster already having been installed as an early favourite by http://www.flashbitch.com.
It’s this trickling down effect that makes even the loftiest forays into commercial music important to the humblest singer-songwriters, I’m sure spiking participation in grassroots shows around town, even down to the smallest of Bristol’s many open mic nights. Indeed, even Ezra enjoyed a residency at The Gallimaufry prior to getting his big break. Much needed proof that, sometimes, all you need is a microphone and your guitar.
So the next time you think to knock something you find a bit naff — just think about the positive impact it could well be having as, at the end of the day, we all just love music, right?