Locals warned to value grass-roots music before you lose it

A musician-promoter who has presented shows for thousands of music fans in Birmingham over the last six years has cautioned that live music in the city will continue to decline without more support from the public.

Now preparing for a rare headline show of his own - at Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds on Wednesday 12 April – Neighbourhd founder Michael Bird is concerned that without the right infrastructure or backing of music fans, the next generation of promoters and musicians could choose to relocate to other UK locations which enjoy a more vibrant live music landscape - especially following COVID, cost of living and energy crises.

Bird has drawn together a band featuring some of the best musicians from across the city for a one-off concert at the Kings Heath venue. The vocalist, guitarist and keys player said:

“For years, I and other creatives have invested a lot into Birmingham's grassroots music community. Founding Neighbourhd as a place that grows larger with the generosity of its individual has felt like planting a fruit tree that everyone waters and everyone picks from.

“Despite Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, it’s a space where we’ll always aim to grow with our skills and build as a family.

“Birmingham has a knack for producing stars and incredibly innovative artists, despite a significant lack of industry infrastructure. After all this is the city that has given us Back Sabbath, Joan Armatrading, Laura Mvula, Jorja Smith, Lady Leshurr and Soweto Kinch.

“But those of us working in live music have seen venues and gig-goers drop in number over the past few years.

"But I’ve also come to accept that without sustainable career opportunities, musicians, promoters and other industry professionals will move on in search of better cohesion and opportunity be it in London, Manchester, Brighton, Leeds or Bristol. Many of my friends have and I don’t blame them. They need to do what is best for their career.”

Neighbourhd founder Bird, who moved from life on a sheep farm in rural Kent to eventually playing a role on the front line of live music in busy Birmingham, has built up a family of creatives around the monthly jam night - relying on his own initiative and the generosity of everyone involved.

The event and community grew for four years solely on donations, is now supported by the Night Owl and the next step for the team is to secure funding to help develop this growing scene further.

The Leeds Conservatoire-educated guitarist, pianist, and vocalist – who released his own EP ‘Bloom’ in Summer 2022 – will host his 50th Neighbourhd show in Digbeth in April 2023.

With a house band of creative music professionals playing and recording across Birmingham’s jazz, hip hop, soul, electronic, classical and funk genres, Neighbourhd has opened its doors and offered a platform to hundreds of instrumentalists and vocalists of many different ages, backgrounds, and abilities. 


Add a comment

Rating *

Recently Played


  • Available on the App Store
  • Available on Google Play

Useful Links


Travel News

How To Listen

Latest Podcasts

92.2 / 102.5 FM
'Play Black Country Radio'