Pier-based studio is nurturing new talent

The young rockers with Jon Davenport from Arts At The Mill and Youth Worker Gavin Newton
The young rockers with Jon Davenport from Arts At The Mill and Youth Worker Gavin Newton

YOUNG rockers are getting the chance to pick up their instruments and turn them up to 11 after being granted their own free rehearsal space.

Four teenagers with a passion for rock music and an ambition to get on stage have been granted access to studio space at Wigan Pier, thanks to a deal betwen community interest company Arts At The Mill and council youth workers.

The deal was done to enable the new band, made up of drummer Josh Boyle, 15, vocalist William Watts, 13, and guitarists Joe Ely, 12 and Liam Fenn, 15, to rehearse after the youngsters approached Wigan Gateway Service, saying they were struggling to afford to pay for somewhere to practice.

The group are now making the most of their chance to plug in and rock out, teaching themselves a set of cover versions of classic rock anthems including Heart-Shaped Box by Seattle grunge pioneers Nirvana.

Wigan Gateway activity worker Gavin Newton said: “We were first approached by some of the local schools asking if we could help some of the pupils who wanted to make their own music and possibly form a band but couldn’t afford to use professional facilities.

“We spoke to Arts At The Mill because they are focused on getting more local people involved in the performing arts and they have got the perfect studio and rehearsal space at Wigan Pier. They were only too happy to help. The sessions are pretty unstructured, the lads know what they want to do so we just let them get on with it.

“They could all play a bit before and we knew they didn’t really want music lessons, they just want to play their guitars and make music together. It’s really helped them because they are learning as they go and because they are in a rehearsal room complex they get plenty of tips and advice from other bands and performers using the space.”

The studio and performance complex now hopes the link with Wigan Gateway will be the start of getting more talented young Wiganers using the venue to unlock their creativity.

Jon Davenport from Arts At The Mill said: “Up until now we’ve been one of the borough’s best kept secrets but we really want young people to get involved.

“We are hoping not just to appeal to young musicians but artists of all types. We’ve welcomed painters, graffiti artists, designers and even people who want to get together to have a discussion.

“We believe we’ve got our very own creative hub here right in the heart of Wigan’s cultural quarter.

“As the lads have found, taking part has done more than just improved their playing, it’s helped to build their confidence and social skills as well.”

For more information on Arts At The Mill, contact Jon on 07921 628072 or visit www.facebook.com/themusicquarter