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West Midlands sector support organisation Culture Central has announced the launch of the West Midlands Music Board (WMMB) to foster the recovery and growth of the region’s music sector through ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and beyond lockdown.

The board’s founders said it was set up to address the absence of a dedicated music board in the region and the aim is to advocate for, compile data on, and lead the local music sector. It will also focus on the impact of the pandemic on the region’s music industry, which supports around 3,500 jobs.

Chaired by B:Music CEO Nick Reed (pictured) and led by West-Midlands artists Lady Leshurr, Tony Iommi and Joan Armatrading, WMMB will operate independently. Among the board members are PRIDE Festival organiser Lawrence Barton, NEC Group MD for ticketing and arenas Guy Dunstan and O2 Institute Birmingham general manager Louise Stamp.

WMMB said it will champion the region’s music industry and ecosystem, protect and promote grassroots music industry development and work with local authorities, institutions and government to develop regional data, policies and advocacy. It has prioritised four key objectives of economic growth and recovery, inclusion, representation, and advocacy.

Reed said, “The board aims to represent a unique identity, by placing music and the wider night-time economy in the West Midlands at the heart of national and regional strategy. We will work to ensure that decisions around investment, training, planning and skills allow our incredible music sector to flourish and grow, creating jobs and sustainable careers here in the West Midlands.”

He added, “A key part of our work will be ensuring that these careers are open and inclusive to all. From the national levelling up agenda to local transport policy, the WMMB will speak with a unified voice for music in the region. We are coming together at a time when the postponement of Stage 4 is causing profound and extended hardship for everyone in our sector.”

Other WMMB board members include:

  • Bobby Friction – Radio broadcaster, BBC Asian Network, regional talent development programmes
  • Holly Hollister – founder of Selextorhood and co director of BABMAG, DJ, promoter, music communicator and connector with focus on women and emerging talent
  • Pete Jordan – MD, MADE Festival and Weird Science
  • Alicja Kaczmarek – Founder and Director, Centrala, independent arts venue
  • Lisa Meyer – Home of Metal and Capsule, with focus on Festivals and Music Heritage
  • Sarah Morgan – Tin Music and Arts in Coventry – representing Coventry Music Board
  • Reuben Reynolds – Artist, producer, mentor, band leader, arranger, director and teacher, working with bands and songwriters
  • Despa Robinson – Talent manager, label owners, Founder & Director BE83 Music, management, recording and publishing