Musicians Against Homelessness – Merseyside
Musicians Against Homelessness (MAH) was set up in 2016 by Emma Rule with the aim to raise money for the homeless as well as to bolster young and local musicians by garnering exposure for their music. The Festival takes place in a variety of venues and has come on leaps and bounds in the past few years, resulting in thousands of bands playing hundreds of gigs whilst raising thousands of pounds for a more than worthy cause. Anyone who journeys regularly to a City Centre in the North West will know there’s a serious problem with homelessness and the aim of MAH is to banish this issue, working in conjunction with Crisis to put an end to homelessness for good.
In 2017 Emma was presented with a ‘Points of Light’ award by the Prime Minister in recognition of all the fundraising work that she has done for Crisis. The creator of MAH, she was inspired to found her own campaign after volunteering with Crisis at Christmas and it’s for her efforts she was recognised as an inspirational volunteer by Downing Street. The project’s aim is always to get people talking, but more importantly, taking action against homelessness through music and the community. It’s not just her making the effort though. A whole team of volunteer project managers are working tirelessly and selflessly across the UK to raise awareness and generate funds for this invaluable work. Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis, said of the event “I’m delighted that Musicians Against Homelessness will be supporting Crisis again this year with what promises to be an even bigger and better programme of gigs and events. Homelessness remains an unsolved problem across the UK, so your help and support is much needed, and greatly appreciated.”
Alan McGee, responsible for incredible acts like Primal Scream, Oasis and The Libertines, has teamed up with local bands in the Merseyside area as part of the #MAH2019 campaign to raise money for Crisis and has been a supporter of MAH since its inception in 2016. He said: “I am delighted that bands of this calibre want to be part of this campaign. The support in Merseyside has been tremendous and inspiring and it’s fantastic that so many quality bands have come forward. Although our primary concern is to combat the scourge of homelessness it is vital that the MAH gigs also give up-and-coming combos a chance to play to larger audiences.”
McGee famously managed Oasis and currently manages Black Grape, Happy Mondays and Cast amongst others, members of which are actively participating in the event. “We are getting people talking and taking action on homelessness in the best way we know how, through music and community. This problem will not go away. Statistics show a significant rise in the people sleeping rough on British streets – 4,677 in January in England alone- which is an absolute disgrace.” McGee believes that this campaign has parallels with what Rock Against Racism did in the 1970s saying “music brings us together regardless of politics or social standing. It’s a great leveller and a vital tool for change.”
Happy Mondays and Black Grape star Shaun Ryder says: “to see so many people in this day and age homeless and hungry is unbelievable. This is not Victorian Britain!” Ryder is currently preparing for a 30 date Greatest Hits UK Tour with Happy Mondays saying “As usual it’s the people who are not in a position to speak for themselves or be heard who get left behind and ignored. It’s become so common to see homeless people on the streets that maybe it’s not a shock when you walk past. Or maybe it’s so shocking that you have to look away, and try not to think about it?”
He’s not the only one who feels this way, John Power, lead singer of Cast states “It’s great to be asked to be involved with the Musicians Against Homelessness campaign again.” Currently gearing up for a busy gig season with his Indie-Rock powerhouse he said: “with so many ongoing problems in the world today it’s sometimes easy to forget the ones in which you come face to face with every day in the towns and cities up and down the UK.” Having been ardent supporters of the event in previous years, this year both Ryder and Power are joined by Scouting For Girls, The Hoosiers and the Neville Staple Band to take to the stage in support.
The aim of the festival is not only to assist with homelessness but also to give bands a platform to promote themselves on. Live music venues are closing which affects many bands ability to play and with the rise of pay-to-play venues this problem is only exacerbated. MAH helps bands get out of their home town, allowing them to play anywhere they like across the six regions of the UK, as well as being part of the greater collective of bands playing across the country which is a great promotional tool. In the era of the DIY musician, this is a great opportunity for those who self-promote and self-manage themselves to get a show slot alongside some incredible acts and it’s open to any genre, whether you’re ska or rock, rap, acoustic, blues, metal, indie – there have even been choirs performing at the MAH shows!
The community aspect can’t be understated either. Gigs take place in tiny villages and sprawling cities equally, with community residents contributing cakes and running raffles. There are opportunities for everyone and anyone to get involved, musicians themselves after playing have gone on the next year to set up their own events, assisting the growth of the event and spreading awareness. Venues for the Merseyside MAH include Studio2 Parr Street, Sound, Outpost Liverpool, The Zanzibar Club, Craft Taproom, Evil Eye – Beer & Burrito Shack, Alchemy Live Music Bar – Runcorn, TANK, LiveBars and The Swinging Arm. There is no shortage of a chance to action change so check out the links at the bottom of the page to get involved!
Some of the bands playing MAH Merseyside this year include: Witch Tripper – Deified – Autocracy – Inhabit – NO:IR UK – Innocent Bystanders – San Pedro’s Vision – Silvermoon – Shannon Cansfield – Kerry Sheree – Le Emu Tavern – China Moon – Passionflower – Black Eyes – Nine Foot Brian – David Masson – Sarah Atkin – The Grey Skys – Day Walker – Nights Tribunal – The Water Diamonds – Rhys Hopkins – Coulton Brothers – Oh Well Goodbye – Siren Song – Apache Duo – Alex OHM – The Jupiter Blues – Slipperface – The Radio Set – Bright Idle Future – Harrison Drive – JR & John Rootham – Ian Jay’s Rebellious Jukebox – Keith Lally – The Poetry of DR Mellor – Beauty Stab – Omen Machine – Crejuvent – Furian – Riptide Messiah – They’re Coming To Get You Barbara – Sky Valley Mistress – FUSS – Oranj Son – Paul Iwan – Roots to Nowhere – Three From Above – AstridSingsJazz – Liz Owen – Lizzie Ross – Jazamin Sinclair – Thuy – Isabelle Tarran – Science of the Lamps – Lost In Echoes – The Hydra – Live Transmission – Some Time Today – Little Indie Night DJs ft Gaz Crilly – Mrs Slocombe’s Pussy – Dan Bibby & The Aesthetic Knobs – Hillhouse – Nothing Pretty – Janet Ewing – Clifftop Empire – The Marilyns – Alex Holbourn – The DDE’s – Visions of Albion – Ametrines – Dylan Owen – Ned Dylan – Mike West – Zanda Stone – Scott Beckett – Carlitos Blues – N.E.S.H – Ruins – Springbar – Violetears – Dukes of Hawk – Know You The Mountain – The Boston Shakers – The Pagans S.O.H – The Battery Farm – Mutant Vinyl – Between Giants – Benny Blxnco – Vile Assembly – Glossolalia – Ontick – Diana Wolfpack – Kicking Seagulls – Paddy Clarke & The Fancy Rats – Sons of Mowgli – Hegarty – Neildsy – Museum Of Backwards Hats – Gunmen of the Apocalypse – Cal Ruddy – Maddie Stenberg – Billy Kelly – John McGlone and more!
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Matt is a multi-instrumentalist, music geek and current Content Creator at Dawsons Music. He composes, records and produces out of his home studio in Manchester as well as playing in two bands, China Moon and Sawbones.