New multi-venue one-day celebration of new music in Chichester

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Chichester musician and songwriter Chris Simmons is offering a multi-venue one-day celebration of new music in the city.

His aim is to give bands and performers the step-up they need – and a vital chance to network. It will all be happening across eight venues across Chichester on November 25 under the title City Sounds.

“I did a first City Sounds earlier this year and this one is double the size. It's a new music festival and a multi-venue festival, and basically we're trying to bring music to spaces where there is not usually music. Most of venues are pubs and the aim is to grow the festival into the city. It will be on one day and it is going to be original music. I'm basically trying to promote local talent, and we were inundated with applications. We had more than 100 applications. On the day we will have 40 acts playing. We're looking to push acts that are ready to step up to the next level and are ready to access touring and are ready to start releasing recordings. We want to make Chichester a place that bands want to come to. We want to make it so that touring bands come here and so that local acts don't have to go to Portsmouth or Brighton or Worthing to play. We want to foster a real proper music scene in Chichester and I think everybody would benefit if we could do that. We've got a beautiful city and we just want to make it a destination place for young people and for musicians.

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“The feedback after the first City Sounds was just insanely good. That was in March, and I was walking around the venues and everyone saying this is exactly what we have been crying out for, that it was so good to have so much original music in the city. People were saying how good it was to have the bands in the pubs, and the venues also absolutely loved it. There's a real appetite for local people to be able to make music in the city and to have a more diverse programme in the city. I am hoping to make this an annual thing.”

Chris Simmons (contributed pic)Chris Simmons (contributed pic)
Chris Simmons (contributed pic)

The venues include Trents, The Fountain, The Hole In The Wall, Havana and The George and Dragon.

What happens next obviously depends how things go this time: “We don't want to run before we can walk. We will take stock after each event and just see how we can grow it. And it doesn't just have to be musical events. The aim is to get the industry down, the agents and the promoters and the digital service providers. I've always had a real grassroots feeling about music and I've always wanted to help new bands and just to push local talent. Worthing has much more of an original bands vibe than Chichester does. I was born in Worthing and I grew up there. I moved to Chichester last summer and I just wanted to create that original bands vibe in Chichester. I feel there's a lot of good people here, lots of talented musicians but it doesn't feel like they're talking to each other. There is a bit of a void.

"Lots and lots of people are doing lots and lots of good things but they're doing them on their own. I just thought that if there's a way of getting everyone to come together then something really good can happen from it, the bands would start to network and would start to tour and start to record but also the point is to grow talent in our own city.”