Dear BBC: Please bring major music festival to Norwich

Sink Ya Teeth at Norwich Arts Centre Credit: Steve Hunt

Sink Ya Teeth playing Norwich Arts Centre - Credit: Archant

I'm a firm believer in the positive impact a strong arts and culture scene can have on society.

Seeing how much people have missed this in their lives during the past year of the pandemic has only strengthened that view.

So when BBC Radio 6 Music announced last week its line up for it's next 6 Music Festival it reminded me of a letter I wrote to them two years ago asking them to consider Norwich as a future destination.

The city is lucky enough to have a stack of great venues, but perhaps doesn't get the recognition or acts we deserve, some of which I guess is down to our location.

I didn’t get a reply, sadly, but would still very much love for this to happen one day. The letter seems as relevant now as it was then.

It would give us the chance to show off some of those venues and the city as a whole to the wider world.

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We could also use it as a prompt for discussions on the future of arts and culture in the city and Norfolk - and how we ensure it is accessible to all - not just those who can afford the price of a ticket.

I tracked down the letter and thought it would be a nice diversion from some of the more serious issues of the day to share it with you. Let me know what you think.

As well as being the editor of the two daily newspapers for Norfolk and Norwich, I am a massive fan of 6Music and have been for many years and am also a very regular gig goer within Norwich.

Therefore, I am contacting you today to ask whether it would be possible for 6Music to consider Norwich as a venue for the next festival?

I believe it would be the perfect place to host the event, for a number of reasons. When you think of Norwich you wouldn’t necessarily associate it with a having a great live music scene – in fact it does. The city contains a large number of differently sized live venues which ensure that on any given night hundreds, if not thousands, of people are out and about enjoying the wide-range of gigs on offer.

Kate Tempest at Norwich LCR. Photo: Patrick Widdess

Kate Tempest at Norwich LCR. Photo: Patrick Widdess - Credit: Patrick Widdess

Our two biggest are the University of East Anglia LCR and Open Norwich (both of which have capacity of around 1,500), we then have the Waterfront (800) and a whole host of other brilliant smaller venues, the best of which is Norwich Arts Centre, which holds around 250 people and was recently named Best Small Venue in the whole of the UK. For these reasons I believe the city hopefully has the set up to be able to host the festival.

Secondly, I also feel that we perfectly fit what appears to be one of the remits of both the BBC overall and BBC 6 Music – to bring music to areas like Norwich that may not be particularly renowned for having a scene.

Finally, I believe Norwich is proving its current pedigree for good quality music through the number of acts currently breaking out of the city and even being played on your very own station. Let’s Eat Grandma and Sink Ya Teeth are two bands that 6Music has brilliantly got behind, while just today you played the latest single from Norwich poet Luke Wright.

Plans have been submitted for a major revamp of Norwich Arts Centre. Picture: Denise Bradley

Norwich Arts Centre - Credit: Archant © 2007

Due to my job and the fact I attend a lot of gigs in the city I have strong links with most of our venues and I know they would love the opportunity to showcase Norwich on a national level through such an event like this.

I would also of course be happy to do whatever it takes both personally and as an editor help make such an event a success were you to agree it would be a good idea.

NSV2014: Let's Eat Grandma.

Let's Eat Grandma - Credit: submitted

If I can help any further please don’t hesitate to drop me an email or give me a call.

David Powles

If you agree, let me know, I'm very happy to ask again...