Getting the Community Involved
Whilst the town of Guildford- where Boileroom is based- is becoming less accessible and a little more self-parodying; it is pushing people to other locations. With a new Waitrose store being built, it seems a rather unwise choice: if you are going to build a supermarket make it affordable (Lidl or Aldi for example); rent prices will rise (given the fact the new store is open); traffic will increase (on a road that is always busy and bottle-necked); it is becoming more middle-class and expensive- the less well-off population are having to relocate and downgrade. Whilst town planning and redevelopment schemes are starting to overly-gentrify Guildford; Boileroom is drawing more people in- trying to be more inclusive and unifying. A little slice of London seemingly- it is a venue that would not seem out-of-place on Camden High Street; wedged into Dalston maybe- the venue keeps growing and expanding.
I published a piece earlier in the year regarding the venue’s growth and popularity- https://musicmusingsandsuch.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/feature-inspiring-new-music-the-rise-of-boileroom/- and expounded its virtues and potential. Having battled financial issues and fighting to get their name recognised; Boileroom has established itself as one of the U.K.’s most prominent and distinct music venues. The trouble is- and the reason for writing this, I guess- is the fact it (Boileroom) does not quite get the full recognition it warrants- in spite of their growing calendar and augmented ambitions. Boileroom has an army of Facebook fans- numbering into the tens of thousands- yet there is social media flaccidity and inertia- comparatively few share posts and promotes the venue. Having just celebrated their 9th birthday- some big names have played recently; there are big events ahead- it seems a bit of a shame. For one thing, the music agenda is looking exciting: Boileroom have just hosted Darwin Deez; they have Hooton Tennis Club and Duke Special playing next week- plenty more before this year is through. With Hallowe’en and Christmas coming up; I am sure the venue has some plans- with regards a party or events for the community- and ideas in mind. It is not just the music that Boileroom focuses on: Social mobility and political discussions sit with vintage fairs and craft/art events; aimed all ages and people.
There are few music venues in Surrey- in the U.K. for that matter- that has such a wide-ranging ternary: Actively encourages the community to get involved and take part; is so busy and passionate. With Guildford having so few opportunities and places that promote social activation and craft; arts and charity events- in addition to yoga classes and comedy nights- Boileroom is a one-stop portal for all your music, creative (and social-political) needs. The staff and public have a great bond; the staff has a great passion for change and involvement- every political discussion and meeting is designed to get people involved; make them think. It is this determination and spirit that deserves reward: I guess being outside of London- with regards media attention and social media ranks- it is harder to gain true recognition. The staff and patrons have a great relationship and are happy with how things are going- it will get better and more prosperous for the charming venue.
Let us hope the rest of this year- and the coming year- remains successful and bright for Boileroom. There are some great new initiatives and schemes being piloted. One such scheme is Surrey Soup:
Based at The Boileroom music and arts venue in Guildford, Surrey Soup is a volunteer effort and exercise in community, food, creativity and good times. We are creating new opportunities and lasting cultural exchange with our locality.
So what is Surrey SOUP? Surrey SOUP is a community-focused and led creative, grassroots crowd-funding project. Ever had an idea, project, or start-up that will benefit the community? Have you struggled to get funding or get the project started? This is the place for you!
At each meeting: 3 applicants will be chosen to present to the audience for five minutes – with three slides – who they are, a picture of the problem, and a picture of the solution. Each presenter can also answer 4 questions from the audience. Each audience member then casts a vote for their favourite project. The one with the most votes wins the cash. And of course everyone gets a bowl of soup and bread – Everyone is a winner!
Our first dinner will be on Thursday 21st January 2016 – come one come all! You’re welcome to submit a proposal, come along and vote on what approved proposals you think would benefit the locality best; if you’re creative showcase some of your art (be it music, paintings, sculpture), or bring along a dish to share.”
Perhaps it is the lack of like-minded venues- or the need to fill a gap in the community- but Boileroom is insinuating itself more into the local community; expanding its portfolio- broadening its conscientiousness and inventiveness. Surrey Soup takes a U.S.-born idea and brings it to a British audience- something I have not heard done here before- and encourages local creatives/business-pitchers to have a platform- a voice that may have otherwise been lacking. London is on everyone’s radar- when it comes to music, venues and attention- so it seems Surrey is a little overlooked- there are some great and worthy venues out here. Demonstrating they are not just about the music- the bands and act they house are among the finest in the country- Boileroom are determined to grow and prosper; get everyone involved and motivated. With so few music venues as ambitious- and few outside of London gaining much attention- share the love and keep your eyes on these guys- spread the word via social media (and those that would benefit from their events and schemes). They have had a bumper year; let’s hope 2016 is even better- they deserve a lot of...
Success and support.
Vote for Boileroom in N.M.E.'s 'Britain's Best Small Venue':