Youths take over

Under 26 concert at SHC Spalding.'Back:  Harriett Austin; Bekki Johnson; Megan Rangeley; Christina Wright; Sam Millinson; Chelsey Barnes; front - Ryan Gilmartin; Kayleigh Fung'Photo:  SG080812-141TW
Under 26 concert at SHC Spalding.'Back: Harriett Austin; Bekki Johnson; Megan Rangeley; Christina Wright; Sam Millinson; Chelsey Barnes; front - Ryan Gilmartin; Kayleigh Fung'Photo: SG080812-141TW
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There’s a big music event happening in Spalding’s Market Place on Thursday when a group of young people take over the space between noon and 6pm.

THE district’s young people are taking over the Market Place on Thursday and if it’s a little loud for your taste, be patient.

Young people have organised the free event – Music in the Market Place, which will be running from 12noon to 6pm – and they have tried to “keep it polite”, but I think we should expect some heavy rock in the mix of fresh bands and artists that will be performing.

One thing is for sure: it will be the most exciting thing to happen for young people in the district for a very long time and we should probably expect a little over-enthusiasm and in fact applaud it, because it means people under the age of 26 are engaging with the arts.

The concert is being organised by South Holland Centre’s Youth Takeover, a voluntary team of between eight and 20 people under the age of 26 who have regularly turned up to discuss Thursday’s event and sort out photography, risk assessments, stewarding, marketing as well as selecting bands.

There are two stages, a main stage as well as an acoustic one, and a line-up of 14 acts, and some of the bands, such as Smokescreen, are already established and highly popular, whereas other artists, such as Adam Shah, are just starting out.

Andrea King, the centre’s marketing and retail manager, explains that the Youth Takeover scheme, for people aged between 12 and 25, works on three levels, from simply being on an email list to hear about special rates for shows, to reviewing performances or actually getting involved in organising events and advising on programming for that age group.

It’s all about making the centre accessible to young people who might previously only have visited with adults or might never have been there at all, and it is communicating in ways they understand, such as the Music in the Market Place Facebook page, which according to Andrea “has gone mad”.

The initiative follows and makes use of the database of contacts for young people who took up the free tickets offered to the under-26 age group by South Holland Centre at certain performances, and is one of the events being put on through the LOV Young People’s Programme, funded by the Arts Council and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.

Centre general manager Sally Harrison said South Holland Centre is one of ten venues across the county working collaboratively (Lincolnshire One Venues), all of which are interested in more engagement with the 12 to 25 age group.

The venues have appointed a team of three for the LOV Young People’s Programme to work on projects in all of the venues: project workers Ellie Rudd from Gedney Dyke and Chelsey Barnes from north Lincolnshire, and Chloe Brown from Newark, who is project manager.

Music in the Market Place is one of the first events and, as Andrea says, is “for young people by young people”. It is also giving the organisers useful skills for CVs, such as Spalding resident Ally Cuthbert (20), who is at university studying events management, 19-year-old Sam Millinson of Gedney Hill, who is putting skills learned at Stamford College into use, or MC for the event Ryan Gilmartin (20), from Spalding, who is off to drama school in September.

Kayleigh Fung (24), who also lives in the town, has just finished training to be a teacher and is involved in the project because she hopes it will leave a legacy for young people of the future, while Harriet Austin (17), of Pinchbeck, has enjoyed being able to influence events for the younger generation.

At Music in the Market Place on Thursday, Chelsey says we can expect “a mix of styles and performers and we have tried to keep it polite”, but the message to remember is Andrea’s. She says: “What we are trying to do is nurture independent visits from young people coming to the arts and to inspire them. Engagements with the arts has given them industry skills and confidence as well as being fun.”