Jay Beard – “He’s a Sound Guy” – From the World Spotlight to the Local Stage.

“Will you remember us when you’re rich and famous?” It’s a question asked of many a musician as they start to get recognition, and in the case of the members of Manchester Band Elbow the answer is a definitive Yes.

elbow2The point was proved recently when they asked their longtime friend Jay Beard (who was their sound engineer as they rose to fame) to step in and engineer two gigs on their current European Festival tour.

Jay, who lives in Hadfield, Derbyshire with his family, has built his career in sound engineering, and is now training the engineers of the future in his role as Head of Live Sound at SSR in Manchester.

“Sound engineering is a practical skill, and whilst technical skills can be taught in the classroom, these need to be honed in the real world. That’s why SSR put such emphasis on links with the wider industry” explained Jay

Talking to Jay, it’s clear that he believes that these links need to go in many directions.  For him stepping out of the classroom and onto the live stage at top festivals with band like Elbow, demonstrates his expertise, and allows him to maintain his skills at the top of his game. But it’s also vital to give the stars of the future (both bands and engineers) a chance to develop their craft in the real world.

It’s for this reason that Jay got involved with The Bankswood Inspire Festival in his home town of Hadfield.

“Bankswood Inspire is all about the music” explains Jay “On one level the festival is about providing an opportunity for up and coming bands and engineers to experience working on a professional stage, with a professional PA system. For festival goers that means they get to hear the breaking bands from the North West as they would hear the top bands playing at top festivals this summer. It’s a win/win situation”

Bankswood Inspire was started in 2010, when Jay got together with other local music enthusiasts with the aim to create a top community festival that showcases the best North West talent.

elbow“Although I love the buzz of being involved with Elbow at their big festival gigs, seeing the next generation of engineers making new bands sound great as they  take the first steps in their careers together, excites me just as much” explains Jay.” I was there at that early stage in Elbow’s career, and my expectation is that bands playing Bankswood in 2015 will the headliners at big the European Festivals of the future”

In 2015, with the support on the National Lottery, Bankswood Inspire is going from strength to strength. With a new stage, upgraded PA system and some of the best “tipped for the top” bands in the region, Bankswood Park Hadfield will be the place to be for music lovers on 29/30 August.