Bristol’s Acoustic Festival in association with Jelli Records, is now in its twelfth year and due to return to Colston Hall on 23 January. We spoke with Steve Parkhouse, founder of Jelli Records, about his involvement within the Bristol music community.
Bristol-born Steve, began his working life working for the Bristol Bus Company, and then moved on to work as a milkman in the Bristol area. He eventually ended up with the title of Music Chief at the Folk House, and latterly, moved on to become Concert Manager at St George’s. He worked on the Bristol Music Show for six years, in conjunction with BCFM, and now runs Jelli Records.
Formerly a part-time hobby, Steve and his colleagues have established their company as a one-stop shop for all aspiring artists and musicians, to include a radio show operating from Bradley Stoke Radio station, also available via other avenues including Bristol-based internet radio station Wire. Steve started out early, as he explains:
“When I was a teenager, I used to put radio shows and mix tapes together. I’ve always been passionate about music.”
It takes a certain level of single-minded dedication to create the all-encompassing company that is Jelli Records – with its artist management, festival programming, concert promotions and radio station, there is also a television show to be launched in 2016. Working alongside Bristol based production company Made in Bristol – with a recently filmed pilot series, there are plans to roll it out across the networks in Bristol, Leeds, Edinburgh and Newcastle. There is plenty to keep Steve and his team busy, not least the Acoustic Festival planned for January:
“The Acoustic Festival started 12 years ago at the Folk House in Bristol, and then it moved to St George’s, and then in 2014 we moved to Colston Hall. The festival is our flagship event – it’s always in January as there isn’t a lot going on that month.” Steve says.
“We tend to put local and national acts together at this festival. It does give them extra exposure and brings them to a different audience.”
Over the years, Jelli Records have worked with artists on a level playing field – a neutral, honest service that offers emerging musicians advice and real-world experience that can help artists navigate the minefield of the music industry. Including Bristol’s Beth Rowley who was born in Peru but relocated to Bristol as a child. Beth has worked with Crowded House amongst other musicians, and in 2013 she released her Wretched Body EP. Beth appeared at the Acoustic Festival in 2014 at Colston Hall.
“I was at the Jools Holland concert in Colston Hall recently and Beth Rowley came on and sang with Jools Holland, so we were quite proud to see that. Some of the other acts we’re working with are coming along really well – we’re pleased to invite some of our own acts to play at the festival.” Steve recalls.
With the recent announcement of the BBC 6 Music festival to arrive in Bristol next month (Feb 12 – 14, more details to be released on 19 January), Steve and Jelli Records are exited to learn of this news:
“It’s quite exciting because some of our artists, including The Honeyfire, have been played on BBC 6 Music. It’s a great thing that BBC 6 Music are coming to Bristol. I think there are going to be some fringe events planned alongside the bigger acts.”
“I’m a singing in the shower type. If there’s ever an open mic night and we want everyone to leave, I’ll get up and sing at the end.”
Last year’s festival included a headline performance from established songwriter Thea Gilmore, and Richard Digance, as well as offering a series of workshops designed to guide aspiring musicians and offer advice.
“One of our workshops is all about marketing and social media, and the old fashioned ways of posting flyers, posters, and gig listings. Social media is a big thing now for the music business. Everyone is on Facebook these days, and Bandcamp. We’re working to expand our consultancy service in 2016 – to bring it to schools and universities. We also offer one-to-one consultancy – and a follow up service, and we’re quite willing to respond to any questions. You can always ring us up for more advice.” Steve explains.
The Acoustic Festival will take place at Colston Hall on 23 January from midday until 11pm. Tickets are £30, which include free access to all workshops throughout the day. Workshops will include ‘Starting out in the Music Business’, by Brian Inglis; a Musicians’ Union lecture by Paul Gray and a ‘Concentrated Songwriting’ workshop by Jason Flinter.
Included on the roster will be Son of Dave, who has appeared on the Breaking Bad soundtrack, and Heather Peace, musician and actress in Waterloo Road. Bristol-based Laura Kidd, aka She Makes War will also be performing. For the full programme of events, see the Jelli Records website: www.jelli-records.com
Jelli Records present the Acoustic Festival at Colston Hall on 23 January, in association with Richmond Event Management, The Music Room and Factory Studios (among other supporters). Jelli Records support the Guide Dogs charity.
For tickets and information: www.colstonhall.org