You want to get something done? Ask a busy person. We announced yesterday that Yaw Owusu will be the new International Festival of Music’s debut curator. It’s an inspired touch, and shows that those charged with culture in the city do, indeed, have a clue. Yaw’s the man behind Liverpool’s Urbeatz, which is exactly the sort of creative organisation which Liverpool makes happen: using music to release young people’s potential. He’s a music manager, label head and judge for this year’s GIT Awards too. Music? He knows all about it.
Congratulations Yaw, so how did you get the gig?
I’ve worked with Culture Liverpool on a few projects in the past, so I was asked to do a presentation on the prospective Liverpool International Music Festival. I guess the team liked me as a candidate and my ideas and offered me the post.
What are you hoping to bring to the new festival?
Everything I have really – my contacts, experience, vision, ideas and energy. The team that exists is spectacular and I am looking forward to just enhancing where I can and supporting where needed. I am very excited to be on board. As part of my role, I’ll co-ordinate the musical activity for the festival. With a new music policy and vision being put together, this is a massive opportunity. I’m dead excited.
What are your thoughts on its new direction?
Love it! It’s a positive evolution of the Mathew Street Festival, which will see the city shine more light on a wider range of great music, artists and arts. This is a very exciting time for the city, its creatives, all those involved in the creative industries and the people of Liverpool.
What do you say to the naysayers?
With respect, I would say they should look at the “why” behind the decision. Once that is understood, I believe they should view this change in a more positive light. The spirit of Mathew Street Festival is still alive and will live on within Liverpool International Music Festival. However now there is a greater focus on new music, new artists and associated arts. This is a good thing for all and will see new groups engaged in the festival.
Talking of which, do you think it’s moving away from the Beatles?
Not at all. The Beatles and the legacy of The Beatles will of course be included in the programme and will remain a large part of it all.
What can we do to get involved?
The Liverpool International Music Festival will be engaging so many creative and creative organisations. As part of my role, I will be meeting as many as possible with a view to collaborate to make this the best festival it can be!
How important will grass roots and youth music be?
Very important. The lifeblood of the local music scene is new music, new artists and new acts. The hottest acts now and for tomorrow will be given their chance to shine.