Notting Hill Carnival Makes Over £90 Million For London! Are Local Authorities Holding Sheffield Back From Success? Or Are We Behind The Times?
Notting Hill Carnival Makes Over £90 Million For London!
The annual Notting Hill Carnival took place again this year in August and despite Police and other authorities not 100% happy with the event it still took place with great success. As per usual, people from all over the U.K turned out to this event to embrace the culture and have a good time with friends and family. After the event took place it was reported that this year’s Carnival brought in over £90 million to London which can’t be bad for the local economy at all especially when you compare it to the estimated £9 million Tramlines festival brought into Sheffield in 2015-16.
After yet another successful financial year for the city holding this event, it got me thinking about how much Sheffield has dipped in this area as none of the big events have really taken off fully for the past few years. Despite authorities not being keen on the London Carnival with the trouble that can happen at times, they still always find away to come together so the event can take place and be enjoyed by thousand’s of people which clearly has a huge financial benefit for businesses in the city.
The same can’t be said for Sheffield though, although some businesses benefit from the annual event that takes place in different areas around the city center we still haven’t seen it have the same impact they have in London or even Leeds which is less than an hour away from Sheffield. Instead, you see a lot of unhappy people posting on social media and hear rumors that the organisation spent more than it actually made back.
This made me want to have a deeper look comparing the difference in structure Sheffield has compared to London and the possible impact these differences have on the financial economy in the city. When looking around for some answers, some of the key areas I saw a massive difference in the structure were.
Sheffield’s main sources for FM promotion via radio’s and the DJ’s supporting events are Hallam FM, BBC Radio Sheffield, and Sheffield Live. Throughout the entire city, these are the only major radio stations we have. In the past, they have been criticised for not supporting some of the local events, artists and projects in the city and also not catering to all audiences and music genres. Not that we condone it, but we also have no pirate radio stations or many online stations other than UK Mondo. In addition to this, the radios in Sheffield do not have many current radio personalities that relate to younger audiences throughout the city. Most of Sheffield’s local names either play on the still building UK Mondo, personal online streams or just not at all.
When you compare this to London…
They have a strong mainstream radio network with stations such as BBC Radio London, Capital London, Absolute Radio, BBC Radio 1, Sunrise Radio plus much more. In addition to this, they also have a mainstream radio that caters to individual cultures such as the Black and Asian communities with BBC 1Xtra, Rinse FM, BBC Asian Network, Capital Xtra, Reprezent and the list goes on. Again not that we condone it, but they also have a strong chain of pirate radio stations that cater to their local communities with the music they play.
As well as the radio stations, London has a fleet of local radio personalities that are current and popular with people across all generations which help boost the image of the stations by having them on air.
If Sheffield followed the structure of London would we see a difference in a number of people that tune in to our local stations? Could this then give radios a wider and larger audience they can promote events such as Tramlines to?
In this modern world of the internet, we now have access to it by just a click of a button via our phones, laptops, tablets and other devices. With this rise of the internet, we saw a rise in the news, videos, entertainment and other things becoming available online as well as from a shop or on your T.V. The internet also opened up opportunities for more people to start their own businesses and reach large numbers of people without the use of traditional marketing.
In this rise, we saw the birth of platforms that gave artist’s from the streets an arena to be heard and seen online by thousands/millions of people wanting to listen to this popular sound. Platforms like GRM Daily, SBTV, Link Up TV, P110, Grime Report and much more built brands that thousands of people visit daily. Notting Hill Carnival has been able to benefit from this traffic in a couple of ways. First, they have been able to promote their event to high volumes of people. second, these platforms have birthed local personalities/celebrities that have created their own content talking about the event which again raises awareness for the Carnival.
In Sheffield however, we only have 3 platforms that cater to the urban community in our city. Northside Media, Hantu and ourselves are currently the only online platforms that focus on promoting our local talent and sharing other news on events, opportunities etc for our audiences. Most other platforms are either none entertainment related or only cater for 1 particular crowd which is normally the indie bands.
There isn’t even an argument that London has a larger list of big name artists than Sheffield does but why? When you look at the last 2 points you can already see that London has a much bigger and solid structure with their media. In addition to this, they clearly cater to a wider range of cultures and communities throughout the city which allows people to watch or listen to whatever entertainment they enjoy the most.
With regular radio play and articles on multiple online platforms, London has developed a sea of big name artists that can be called upon to make appearances and perform at events all over the city through the year. These artists have attracted thousands of people to their shows and as a result, Notting Hill Carnival don’t actually need to look outside the walls of London for all the talent they need to attract people in the high numbers to their event wanting to watch these artists perform or hear them play music.
Sheffield doesn’t have this luxury and our radios are very reluctant to support a lot of our local talent outside of indie bands. We do not have a fraction of the shows in our city for these artists to perform and only have 2 online platforms that promote these artists on a regular basis.
Most creative talent in Sheffield finds themselves having to get out of the city to grow further in their careers. After years of battling in and out of Sheffield, it is crazy to think cities such as Birmingham, London, Nottingham, and Leeds answered our calls and provided a stage for many of us to be seen. We now rely on resources and links outside of Sheffield to keep our careers alive as many feel our own city has much for us.
Artists from London such as Stormzy, Skepta, JME, Giggs, Kano and a long list of others have had chart success multiple times mainly due to the consistent format they have on radio and online. As well as this, a lot of their artists have won multiple awards for their talents and gone onto sell out tours and arenas.
The same can’t be said for Sheffield yet but it will be no doubt thanks to platforms outside of the city when it finally happens. The closest we have to this at the moment maybe Coco who has been making a huge impact in music since moving out the city to pursue his career dreams in London.
Not just with Notting Hill Carnival but also events like the Red Bull Culture Clash we have seen all these big name blogs, radios, DJs, artists and others come together and the results of this speak for themselves with tickets selling out and millions of hits/views being generated. An example of this was the first culture clash were all major youtube channels broadcasted the event live, artists with thousands of social media followers each came together to form teams for this to take place (London as a city produced enough home grown talent to be able to do this) and all other urban radios and blogs were promoting the event from weeks before it even took place.
Going a little deeper for what this does on a wider scale, hotels will be booked up, taxis are busier, local shops and major chains gain more custom from the higher numbers and the local transport system gets more passengers. All of this means more money generated for the local economy in London. Looking back at Notting Hill Carnival, the £90+ million generated for the city will include all of the areas just mentioned and more.
So is Sheffield being held back or are we just behind the times?
The first thing I imagine people will say is London is a larger city than Sheffield but Leeds, Nottingham and other areas of the U.K are still attracting more people to their events. You also have to remember, once upon a time Sheffield used to attract thousands of people to past events in the city. Music In The Sun, The old Sheffield Carnival, Abbeyfield Festival, Sharrow Festival and much more brought people from all over the country to Sheffield to enjoy the entertainment on offer. Since the early 00s numbers at events have been gradually reducing as the rules surrounding these events became stricter.
More promoters have complained that they are unable to put an event together due to a number of road blocks they face from Licensing and the Police around the type of music and artists/DJs performing. On the other hand, people that have successfully put together events now struggle to make a profit from their events to keep doing them on a regular basis. Again when you look at London and how it has plenty of options for promoters to advertise events to large audiences at a low cost, it clearly has an effect on events as they are consistently successful and selling out. Also, remember that London has a large roster of performers that have huge popularity worldwide.
Imagine if BBC Radio Sheffield had more slots for Urban Music or created another platform that catered more to other audiences in the city. If Sheffield Live and Hallam FM followed the same structure as London. What if they did take some of the local DJ personalities that can deliver in this area who are popular with other audiences. Then if these radios would work more closely with a wider range of local talent other than indie bands as well as the blogs to all get behind events, artists, opportunities and other things that benefit the city on a wider scale. Maybe Sheffield would see more success as a whole like seen in some of the videos above and again attracting people from all over the country to events which would boost the local economy.
1 of Sheffield’s most popular events at the moment is Detonate that happens a couple times a year. This event is done by promoters from outside of Sheffield that bring artists from London to the city and sells out every time. These 2 events alone are enough to cover most if not all of the O2 Academy’s overheads for the entire year. Time and time again promoters are looking for artists outside of Sheffield to book at their events to pull in numbers which can cost them thousands to do. Another event that did something similar recently was the Bassline Fest that took place at Magna with similar results all put together from outside of Sheffield.
Take that same format and fill it with Sheffield’s biggest names on offer with support from the radios, press and other platforms could we not get the same results on a regular basis?
It’s not that we don’t have the talent in the city but we do not support it very well. It has been proven on a number of occasions that Sheffield talent alone can fill venues but most seem to feel deflated due to the lack of support and constant road blocks put in their way for no real reason. Some artists and DJs have said that they have been stopped from performing in Sheffield by the Police in the past despite no trouble occurring. Others say they have tried to work with the local radios and venues with very little success due to attitudes and other politics.
It’s hard to just point the finger at the authorities when in fact events do still take place so clearly, there are issues in other areas. It would also be unfair to point the blame without talking to all the radios and other authorities first on this subject. Focusing away from that, What is your opinion on why Sheffield isn’t seeing the success we have had in previous years and falling behind other cities now?
Under the current structure, it’s hard to see Sheffield generating much of an interest in our inner city events.