The first acts have been confirmed for United We Stream, the new GMCA streaming service that will broadcast home-grown Greater Manchester art, music and culture to audiences around the world during the COVID-19 outbreak.

United We Stream launches tonight (Friday 3 April) at 7 p.m., with one half of global house music double act Solardo, followed on Saturday by Radio XS DJ Gareth Brooks.

The service is free, but viewers will be able to donate to help support Greater Manchester’s night-time economy, cultural organisations and charities. The channel will also be used for positive public service announcements and messaging regarding safety and social distancing.

Other acts confirmed for the coming days include: local indie band Slow Readers Club, a live cooking show and Q&A with famed restaurateur and chef Gary Usher, poetry readings with Lemn Sissay and Tony Walsh, a special acoustic set with Twisted Wheel front man Jonny Brown, performances by comedian Justin Moorhouse, actresses Faye Brookes and Catherine Tyldesley, disco and house music sessions with DJ Paulette, an official Hacienda night, Madchester classics night, and DJ Elliot Eastwick will revive his Big Pub Quiz.

Created over the last week by Sacha Lord, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), and local and national partners, United We Stream (opens new page) will broadcast a diverse blend of entertainment and creativity on one free online platform.

“I want to keep our vibrant music and entertainment scene active”, explains GMCA Night-Time Economy Adviser Sacha: “It was only last Sunday, that we asked acts, artist, DJ’s to come forward and play their part in United We Stream. I am absolutely overwhelmed by the response and also by the enthusiasm and diversity of the talent we have lined up.

“The programme will be announced each and every week and we’ve tried to make sure that there’s something for almost everyone.

“As a city-region, we are known as 24 Hour Party People. In the spirit of this, I’m delighted that our home grown global DJ’s Solardo have stepped forward to give back to the city and to help support the grass roots venues they started out their DJ careers in.

“As an example of how we should all be acting and as an example of social isolation, for the launch, it has been agreed that just one of Solardo will be appearing!

“This is a free streaming service, available to entertain everyone, however, I encourage as many of you as possible to please make a small contribution to watch. Anything will help, whether that's £1 or £50. It's only by working together as a community that we can be at our strongest."

The project has also seen a host of local businesses generously offer consultancy and support including: Industry Collaboration Zones digital team at Salford University, Manchester Arena, Unity Radio, dbn Audile, Modern English Digital and the Manchester Evening News.

The United We Stream model was pioneered in Berlin by their Night Tsar Lutz Leichsenring, with Sacha working round the clock with his international counterparts and the GMCA to enable Greater Manchester to be the second city-region worldwide and first in the United Kingdom to launch the concept.

Amsterdam, Madrid, Vienna, Sydney and Melbourne are all expected to launch United We Stream platforms in the coming days.

All income of the stream will go directly to a relief fund with 8% of funds raised donated to Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Charity, 22% donated to the Mayor Of Greater Manchester’s Charity, meaning 70% of all funding generated going specifically to support the Greater Manchester’s night time economy music venues, restaurants, bars, freelancers and cultural organisations who are unable to work or operate their businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

United We Stream launches on Friday with one of Manchester’s best known international house music sensations: Solardo.

Crowned DJ Magazines Best Breakthrough act in 2016 and Best Duo of 2017, James Eliot and Mark Richard’s rise to fame has been prolific. They have sold out Manchester’s Albert Hall, alongside tours in USA, Australia and South America and have remixed hit tracks for the likes of Duke Dumont, Carl Cox and MK.

Following Solardo on Saturday 4th April is XS presenter, Gareth Brooks. Renowned for his old school RnB and Hip Hop sets which have made Hula Bar in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, a popular destination venue.

Performances will take place at artist’s homes, gardens, or from selected host venues around the region, making sure all performances adhere to government advice around isolating, distancing and infection control.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham said: “Supporting our culture and music organisations, venues and artists is so important through this difficult time. We want to be entertained and still be able to see bands and performances, but it’s important to do this within the Government guidelines and from our own homes.

“United We Stream is a great way for us all to be involved in Greater Manchester, helping to support the people and organisations that make Greater Manchester’s music and culture quite so special.

“I want to thank Sacha Lord for leading on this initiative and ensuring that even in these difficult and unprecedented times, Greater Manchester continues to lead the way with our world renowned music, arts and culture.”

“As well as helping our local night-time and creative industries, it’s great to give support for Nordoff Robbins, a national music therapy charity, who have a base in Greater Manchester, and offer music therapy for those affected by life-limiting illness, isolation or disability.

“From a Greater Manchester perspective, I’m thrilled to see us directing some of the money raised towards fighting homelessness in Greater Manchester, something I know all of us care about deeply here.”

Since United We Stream Berlin launched on March 19th they built up £100k and had 1 million hits in 24 hours, and in total has amassed over £700,000 in donations, and had millions of hits on the website.

Manchester Arena recognise the value United We Stream will bring to the Greater Manchester night time economy and culture industry, and are backing the project through their vast networks.

General Manager for Manchester Arena James Allen said: “There has never been a more important time for our city, this industry and its event professionals to stand together, which is why we’re showing our support for United We Stream.

“We implore everyone across Greater Manchester and beyond, to get behind the initiative and the causes it supports. During this period of pause, technology allows us to continue to shine a light on incredible talent, until we are able to enjoy live experiences together again.”

The Manchester Evening News is the official media partner for United We Stream. Their Head of Commercial Entertainment, Guy Keeble, said: “In such testing times for the music and entertainment sector, it's clear to all that we need to pull together to find ways of supporting the thriving creative talent within our region. This is something we do brilliantly here in Manchester, something this city is built upon, and United We Stream allows us to maintain that spirit, in spite of the daily challenges we currently face. 

“The success of the scheme over in Berlin demonstrates that we can still, in some way make a difference. On behalf of the Manchester Evening News and CityLife, I encourage everyone to show their support and be part of what will be a vital help to artists and business owners across the region”

And Gemma Snow, spokeswoman for Nordoff Robbins said: “At Nordoff Robbins, we believe that music brings us closer together. It can be made and enjoyed by anyone, and at times like this, the connectivity that music and performance brings is more important than ever. 

“We want to champion music as a way to help the wider community - as well as those who are vulnerable and isolated - to stay as connected as possible. Whether it’s listening, creating or performing, the shared experience of music will help bring us together in the face of uncertainty.

“We are absolutely delighted to be chosen as a charity partner for United We Stream in Greater Manchester. A huge thank you to Andy Burnham, Sacha Lord and the GMCA, for bringing this amazing initiative to Greater Manchester and allowing us a platform to showcase the power of music.”


Article Published: 03/04/2020 07:59 AM