The Met has reached millions of people online during lockdown while (hopefully) staying relevant for our loyal and local audience. Marketing Manager Adam explains how we’re keeping going online, while looking forward to bringing people back to the building…

As we come up to almost a year of lockdowns and gig cancellations so far, I’m delighted The Met is committed to staying open for artists as we continue to find new ways to bring music to people’s lives. 

We’re looking forward to Spring and Summer 2021 as a time when, if all goes well, we can start to welcome audiences back to The Met to safely enjoy brilliant live experiences. But we’ve learned lots about how much people enjoy great shows online, and how we can use what we’ve learned to reach more people and support artists at all stages of their careers.  

Artists From Anywhere is a 4 week programme (for now) of online sessions from some of The Met’s favourite artists, recorded from their homes, studios, or great venues elsewhere in the world. We want you to hear from some of the musicians who would otherwise have been joining us in Bury over the last 12 months. It’s the first series of shows you’ll be able to enjoy on The Met’s own video player, with all shows streaming live on out for this series of double-headline shows on Thursday evenings, with live chats and interviews before and between sets. There’s a folk & Americana theme to the programme, and it’s a chance to catch up with what our Artistic Director, David has been watching and listening to during lockdown. 

We’ve also been lucky to safely welcome more local artists to The Met for rehearsal and recording. SoundOn is a new YouTube channel created by The Met and Croftwerk; an independent video production company based in Manchester who have worked with us on a number of livestreams during 2020. SoundOn is bringing brilliant band sessions online, with sound mixing from The Met’s Edwin Street Recording Studio and visually unique performances in the Derby Hall space. SoundOn is helping independent artists and labels create fantastic online content to support their releases. We’re excited we can do this to work with new acts and widen the scope of who hears the music made in our venue. 

As the live music industry recovers The Met is also going to be working with more local and emerging talent to provide a professional online platform for performance. Look out for new live Met Sessions with some of the best new talent in the region coming soon. We’re hoping to use what we’ve learnt about digital production during 2020 to improve artists and help them connect with the music-loving audience of The Met who are so open to new discoveries and supportive of emerging musicians. 

The last 12 months have been so challenging for everyone involved in live music. Not every venue has survived. Not every venue has found a way to keep working. And not everyone in our industry a year ago is lucky enough to still be working in the job they love. But there are a couple of positive signs, however long it takes to recover… 

The audience is still there. Events like our New Years’ Eve party online with United We Stream proved that people all over the world are still craving music, dancing, discovering new artists and taking refuge in their olfavourites. We know you’re there, and that you will return when you can. We can’t wait.  

And we also know that music venues like ours’ can still play a role in this digital world. We are organisations packed with knowledge and passion that can be shared online when you can’t make it to our building. We’ll keep finding artists and sharing them with you; the people who really make The Met a place people love to play.  And when we can fully open up again we know how important this building can be in bringing people’s social lives back into focus. 

There’s a bittersweet note to all this excitement for me personally as I’ll be leaving The Met in March to take up a new role at a venue outside the area. I have loved my (second) stint in The Met marketing team and it’s a wrench to leave this group of friends and actual family who have worked so hard together over the last 12 months. But if I’ve learnt anything here recently it’s that we have to keep trying new things: if a folk music venue can become a global clubbing hub in the middle of a pandemic then who knows what else can happen? 

I’ll soon be either in the venue again or watching The Met from home, taking pride as a punter in how the team in Bury keep getting new music into people’s lives.