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Getting it Together - how to find out what's on

Getting it Together - how to find out what's on

Finding live music performances once the summer festival season is over can seem an impossible task. Roger Moss talks to three local music-lovers who hope they have created the solution...

The nights are drawing in, but at least you can always keep your spirits up by getting out and catching a great live music performance. But where, exactly? If you’ve ever wondered what’s on nearby, but just didn’t have a clue where to look to find out, then you’re not alone. There’s simply so much going on around the region that chances are you’ll never get to hear about most of it, no matter how hard you search. It can be frustrating, but not as much as finding out that something you’ve been burning to see has actually been and gone, and you’ve missed it. 


Fortunately things are set to become a lot easier, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of individuals with a shared passion for music. Earlier this year musicians Steve Bennett and Carla Blanc decided to team up with photographer Ian Wilson to create a new website where details of just about every live music event could be posted for anyone to see, wherever they are. “Like everyone else, we got fed up with hearing people – including us – saying ‘If only I’d known it was on..’ when chatting about events around the region,” recalls Steve. “Back in 2008 Carla and I started posting details on the Limousin Life Blog, which people seemed to appreciate, but after a while it became obvious that it had its limitations, particularly the area we could cover.” As musicians, they also wanted not only to reach potential audiences, but also the steadily growing number of players settling in south west France. “We could see that there were lots of talented people out there who were keen to play, but didn’t have a clue how to find like-minded players. So we looked for a way to bring them together.”

Their next step towards addressing the frustrations was Benetti’s Jazz & Blues Club (named in honour of Steve’s Italian jazz violinist grandfather Stephano Bennetti), which was launched in February 2013. The evening was a huge success, attracting musicians and fans of all ages from far and wide. So to spread things around a little and add variety to the settings, the monthly event venues have included Le Soleil Couchant, Verneuil (16), the Golf Club at St Junien (87) and Au Reflet des Limousines in Ecuras (16). The result is an open and accessible meeting point for like-minded music lovers on and around the borders of northern Charente, Dordogne and Limousin – a big step forward, then.

So, how do you go about spreading the word about all the live music happening right across our own corner of France? After further brainstorming sessions, they decided to create a bilingual website to which everyone – musicians, venue owners and anyone who was keen to help – could contribute. The result went live in May this year, and while it’s still early days, there’s a steadily growing at-a-glance calendar of events happening across an area which Steve describes as being “within about an hour and a half’s drive of Confolens and Angoulême”. Obviously, the concept relies on people getting in touch and supplying event details, but as the site becomes better known more and more people should be doing just that, and the whole thing will then start to snowball. So, from now on, if you know of something happening, or you just want to find what’s on near you, you’ll know where to look. 


Words: Roger Moss

© Living Magazine - all rights reserved. Published in October 2014