Written by Andy, Tim & Contributors

The Stories Behind The Stats: Heavy Pop

Down at the Abbey was one of our favourite days in the calendar last year. It was the first time we’d ever had the chance to pour our beers exclusively at a large-scale event, and it turned out to be the perfect day of independent music, atmosphere, food and drink combined.

The 2020 iteration was set to be expanded, developed and improved and we were excited to work with the Heavy Pop team to create an amazing experience for visitors. The event has, unsurprising, now officially been postponed until next year. We caught up with Dave Maul for some insight behind the festival itself, but also the devastating challenges facing the arts as a whole right now, and some ideas on how the sector can react.

If you weren't lucky enough to attend past events, check out some highlights:

Are You Listening '17 highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThudeEDrl18
Down at the Abbey '19 highlights: https://vimeo.com/385063333  

Tell us about who you are...

I’m Dave Maul from Black & White Music and under our banners of Heavy Pop, Are You Listening? Festival and Down at the Abbey Festival, we promote live music events in Reading and Oxford.

How has the pandemic impacted independent music in the area?

The pandemic has had a huge impact on music in the area and across creative industries at all levels. I feel the events/hospitality sectors have been some of the worst affected and one of the beautiful qualities of music is its ability to bring people together and sadly we can’t do at this moment.

Tell us a bit more about Are You Listening and its transition to online

Are You Listening? Festival is usually a multi-venue music event across Reading town centre that happens in April to raise money for local learning disability Reading Mencap but due to you know what; we managed to reschedule it to Saturday 10th October.

As the original (Sat 25th) April date grew closer we wanted to create something to in a small way fill the gap and mark what would have been the day of the festival.

We decided to do an Instagram live session in the afternoon with local artists and DJs performing and in the evening host a virtual pub quiz with any kind donations going to Reading Mencap.

It was really well received with people sharing their photos and memories, plus we raised over £200 for the charity.

A couple of the live sessions are still up on our Instagram page for you to watch.

What's inspired you during this time?

The inspiration came from watching some friends do their own live streaming events and also, in general, just being inspired by local independent businesses who were thinking outside the box and trying to adapt to the weird situation we all find ourselves in.

What does the future of Down at the Abbey look like right now?

Sadly the near future for Down at the Abbey isn’t a positive one. We were hoping the outdoor festival would be able to return for its second year in September but due to the current pandemic and wanting to produce a safe event for everyone involved; we've now postponed it until Saturday 11th September 2021. 

However, we like so many, welcome the Government's announcement of an Arts rescue package which hopefully means, we can all get through this and look to future with a positive outlook!

See the rest of the Stories Behind The Stats here: sirencraftbrew.com/stories