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Rugby Live - The Story

Rugby Live

Rugby Live what a wild idea!

Rugby Live was born out of a series of chats by three friends and colleagues from Rugby Art Gallery and Museum just a few short weeks ago during the height of lockdown. With the live music scene in tatters with little or no platform to perform, we wanted to do something to give musicians and artists a way to get their music and art out there and create something for people in Rugby to enjoy.

We enlisted the support of local music producer Jake Barnes who explained to us how a virtual festival, live-streamed over social media, could be made possible. Jake helped us draw up a proposal based on a tiny budget. Once approved, we moved into full swing.

In just eight short weeks, Rugby Live moved from an idea to a well-executed reality. Borrowing, buying and hiring equipment. Finding a Covid-safe venue with protocols that protected everyone’s wellbeing. Creating a logo and visual identity. Recruiting live acts and sourcing pre-recorded content. Promoting the event through radio, local press and social media. This inevitably meant working very long days and on weekends - while two of the three organisers were home-schooling small children.

Jake’s role was pivotal in making the event possible. Apart from perfecting the technical set-up for the live-stream, he was also asked to create a promotional video and the filler videos shown between band change-overs. This involved reviewing and editing hours of video sent in from local artists, theatre groups, poets and storytellers and driving up and down the Midlands motorways to borrow equipment from fellow musicians and producers.

And then, the event itself, hosted at The Benn Hall in Rugby. Sally, Jo and Caroline welcomed the first act. An amazing experience in itself after weeks of email contact with them. Jake and fellow engineer Nathan Gardner, fully masked and gloved, met the first act, loaded in their equipment and began the sound check. On time, with the artist sounding great, Jake activated the live-stream on Facebook. Rugby Live was live.

But would the people of Rugby actually watch? To our great relief, they did. Thousands of them – and not just in the UK. The live stream attracted over 10,000 views over the three days.

Of course, not everything went to plan and there were a few hiccups. Technical problems with streaming the filler videos, two extremely inebriated gentlemen wandering in claiming to be from Saturday’s headline band, Anomaly. Facebook themselves stopping the stream at one point, due to ‘copyright issues’. But all in all, Rugby Live was a resounding success and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who helped us turn our idea into a reality.