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29 October 2014

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Telford Rocks' Battle of the Bands 2005
Telford Rocks' Battle of the Bands 2005

Telford Rocks to the sound of local bands

The Telford Rocks website has been promoting and supporting local bands for over two years. We met Chris Payne, the founder of the site to ask what he does and why he does it.

Why did you decide to set up the Telford Rocks site?

"The dross you get in today’s record charts does not represent the talent that is in every town and city right across the UK. "
Chris Payne, Telford Rocks founder

Chris Payne: I am not actually from Telford but moved up for University.  One of my jobs whilst at University brought me into live music and gave me the bug.  The site was originally set up with a friend who designed the layout and updated it from time to time, but after a while his enthusiasm dropped and he moved away from Telford.

I took over the regular updates and had to learn how very quickly. The new site is commissioned from a regular user of the site but I still update it most nights after returning home from my full time job.  It takes a fair amount of discipline to do it every night but we aim to have all submissions, be they new bands, news articles or gig listings, on the site within 24 hours.

What exactly is Telford Rocks and what purpose does it serve?

CP: is primarily a web site aimed at bringing the local music community together in one place.  Regular gigs are organised as well as assisting local groups if they wish to book a band.

The main facility on the site is the discussion forum which is open for everyone to list their gigs, advertise their bands and discuss whatever they fancy. The main site hosts over 90 bands with an active gig listing which is updated weekly and receives over 5,000 unique visitors each month.

What do you regard as your greatest achievement with Telford Rocks?

The Monotones
The Monotones

CP: The greatest achievement of has to be the fact that it’s brought a collective of people together in one place and opens the door for frank discussion about a subject that many people are very passionate about.  The sheer quality of some of the bands out there amazes me and the dross you get in today’s record charts does not, in my opinion, represent the talent that is in every town and city right across the UK. 

If I were to pick out one event it would have to be the fourth and most recent Battle of the Bands which was held in September. Ten bands fought it out at Oakengates Theatre in front of over 500 people and judges from sound and lighting engineers and BBC Shropshire’s Jim Hawkins to a representative from Island Records.

What is the most rewarding part of the job?

CP: The most rewarding part of running is knowing the bands that are starting to find success.  A great example is a local favourite; ‘The Fatal Mistake’ who have recently been signed to the Australian arm of Sony BMG and will be going on tour out in Australia early 2006. 

I have known the guys for the majority of my time in Telford and being mentioned in the leaflet of their debut album “Die Trying” was enough for me to realise the time I spend on is really worthwhile.

How often do you hold gigs? Are there any major events coming up?

Casino Twist

CP: The Battle of the Bands is held once a year, whereas gigs are held as often as the local venues wish. Not all are organised solely through although we do help with procuring bands. Our next big event is ‘TelfordRocks on Tour’ on 17 December where the winners of the 3rd and 4th Battle of the Bands will be playing in the Barfly in Liverpool. 

We are taking up a couple of buses with people from the local area and should start off a series of trips outside the region for bands to play in larger full time music events in some of the top venues in the UK. however will be holding a gig on the last Saturday of each month through 2006 with two or three established local bands hopefully being a showcase for the real quality in the county.

What are your hopes for the future?

There are several projects currently underway to assist, and the local scene to grow. However, we like to keep the larger things close to our chests as we still like to be able to surprise the bands occasionally! More regular visitors both to the site and to gigs would not go amiss, and we would like to raise people’s awareness of the site around the county, outside of Telford.

last updated: 14/12/05
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