Livefeed: Empowering Young Musicians

There are so many amazing projects getting underway in the run up to Galway’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2020. But Livefeed, which nurtures the artistic talents of the young people in our county, is one of the most exciting…

What is Livefeed?

Livefeed is a project for young people (aged 13 – 18) who are interested in all aspects of music. This programme aims to cultivate a culture of youth music in Galway by encouraging and empowering young people to pursue their interests – whether they be in music performance, recording, video production, photography, event organisation, music journalism or promotion. The project will also provide opportunities for young people to enjoy live shows within a safe, comfortable, alcohol-free environment.

Livefeed is being operated by a fantastic team with ideal individual qualifications for such an endeavour. Tracy Bruen (Youth Engagement) is a school teacher, Eoin Dolan (Community Engagement) works with multiple youth organisations in the city and David Boland (Project Manager) is chief of Citóg Records. All three of them are also well-known (and successful), independent musicians based in Galway.

Tracy Bruen explains how it all started: “I had been doing Underage Open Mic in the Róisín for a couple of years. I knew there was potential for a youth music project in Galway. We didn’t even know what a project would look like but we just knew that there were enough of us interested that we could make it work. So when Galway 2020 were putting together the bid book, they approached me about organising, what eventually became, Livefeed. I knew I wouldn’t have the capacity to do it on my own but I was certain of the two people who would be perfect partners. It has worked out really well; we all bring different skill sets. As the project has unfolded we realise that we all complement each other very well. It was very fortuitous the way it all came together”

This is Galway Livefeed Sorcha Carrick

Youth-Led

The team have so far visited Gort, Kinvara and Headford, organising a bespoke event for each town that includes a workshop and a live show. The program starts with a consultation meeting to assess the needs of the young people within the community and gauge exactly what they would like to learn and improve upon.

Tracy tells us: “For example, at the first two iterations (Kinvara and Gort) we found that a lot of our young participants were interested in the live sound production aspect of music and gigging. So our workshop was geared toward setting up PAs, working with live sound and then working with the musicians to learn how to sound-check, what to listen out for and things like that. Then, in Headford, it transpired that a number of our participants were really interested in videography. We started to work with Alison from AMW Visual and she brought her expertise in videography to the workshop the following weekend. That’s why the consultation is so important to the whole project. It’s youth-led, they tell us what they want to do and we develop a workshop based on that.”

Once the workshop is finished, the participants are given the opportunity to showcase the new skills they have learned with the Livefeed Main Event. David Boland has been impressed with the quality of these live shows so far. “The events themselves have been amazing; the wealth of talent is just unbelievable. Galway has such a rich musical heritage. That will continue anyway but what we’re trying to do is just support it and encourage young people to take part.”

Spirit

The whole journey -from consultation, to workshop, to live show – is about more than just music. “I would say that it goes far beyond imparting skills to these young people. A big part of it is building self-esteem, in general. Also, because we focus on all aspects of performance it gives them a chance to look around at their peers, see the skills they have to offer and how they can work together”, explains Eoin Dolan.

Tracy Bruen expands further on that togetherness: “We’re definitely trying to foster that spirit of collaboration. That’s a major thing. And making connections between people who are interested in music. We’ve connected people in Gort and Kinvara that wouldn’t have known each other, and then between Galway City and those towns around the county. We are linking our young performers up so that they can play shows in the other locations. We’re really trying to develop those connections.”

Livefeed Taking Names

Legacy

Livefeed will be setting up camp in various locations for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020, hosting engaging live music events for youth communities across Galway City and County. Their next stop is in Tuam, with Consultation beginning on November 9th.

The project culminates in late September 2020 at the EYE on the Edge festival, where Livefeed will curate a stage that features a new tribe of young musicians and technicians (brought together by the Livefeed experience) to entertain the crowds over the two-day event. Partnering with the European Youth Event (EYE), which takes place biennially at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, EYE on the Edge fuses politics and culture to highlight and respond to contemporary European and global challenges through a mix of debates, workshops, artistic performances and exhibitions.

And what are the plans for Livefeed after 2020? Eoin Dolan hopes “that there’s going to be a legacy from this project. One of the key components is that, as part of our community engagement, we’re forming a partnership with other projects, youth groups and schools. So we would hope that somewhere down the line we could deliver this as a long-term project across Galway.”

Livefeed Tuam Consultation Poster Details

To find out more about Livefeed, and offer your support to this wonderful idea, head over to their facebook page.

If you are a young person (or the parent/ guardian of a young person) interested in taking part in Livefeed please contact tracylivefeed@gmail.com

For all other enquiries please contact davidlivefeed@gmail.com

Cover Photo By Israel Palcio, courtesy of Galway 2020.