2023 In Review

2023 In Review

We had such a year of highs and lows, looking back at 2023 seems like a decade rather than just one year.

In January the Unglamorous Project started again with a new set of women ready to be in bands. This attracted to a lot of media coverage, local interest like Leicester Mercury and BBC Radio Leicester lead onto national media like The Guardian and Channel 5 News. The Verinos appeared on Stephs Packed Lunch. Then there was International interest from 2 different German TV stations and even reports in New Zealand about the Unglamorous Project! We got quite used to having press here all the time, although from our perspective it meant a lot of setting up rooms for photo shoots and interviews, and lots of hoovering. The project climax was International Women’s Day event on 8th March, held downstairs at Firebug. It was the busiest I have ever seen it.

In March we launched the ‘Yellow Room’ This was a joint venture with Beats and Vocals Studios. Together we were able to offer an hourly production room. The room has been very popular with Podcasters but also has had a steady stream of solo recordings and producers.

Our first four Showcases were scheduled during March – June. This year we decided to mix up the format a bit and make them free entry with donations taken for local children’s charities; ‘Highfields Adventure Playground’ and ‘Woodgate Adventure Playground’ The events were held at The Big Difference, Duffy’s Bar and Firebug. Another 12 Stayfree bands had the opportunity to perform. I will go into more details on the Showcases in another blog post.

As always, over the course of the year we purchased various new amps for the rehearsal rooms, including 2x Fender Champion Combos, 2 sets of PA speakers,  and a Peavey TKO Bass Combo. We also replaced our can machine, which doesn’t sound interesting but these things are not cheap!! Probably the best upgrade was the the till system, which again sounds super boring but for the staff it was the best thing ever! Until the WiFi drops and we have to restart – but you cant have everything!

During the year we hosted 6 Rockschool exam days, which at a rough guess would be about 70 Exams in total.

A second Unglamorous Project started in April – June,  (I like to call ‘3rd Gen’) this was again a lot of fun and attracted loads more media attention and produced 6 more women bands! A German TV crew documented a lot of the Unglamorous Activities which was another thing we had to get used to.

We had spent a good part of this year looking at various other properties, our best unkept secret soon got out and people were asking us all the time what the deal was. There was a very big possibility that we were going to have to move the business elsewhere, which if anyone remembers, took almost 2 years to move from Lillie House to The Frog. Knowing we need such a huge lead time (mainly for the building work involved) it was necessary for us to start the process well in advance. We were in negotiations with 3 different premises when we were able to secure an additional lease with our current landlord. It was a lot of stress but turned out to be the best outcome.

On October 16th, our wonderful friend and colleague Ruth Miller lost her battle with cancer. She spent the past year running the Unglamorous Projects, working with the media and organising and performing at many gigs. The amount she packed in to the last year of her life was phenomenal. The last time I saw her perform with The Verinos was on 20th August at the O2 Punk Festival – pictured here.

Our second quarter of Showcases ran from September – December, this time events were held at OMC Music Venue and The Big Difference with our year ending at  Firebug for our Christmas Party.

2023 was by far the busiest year to date and we met tons of new bands and had a lot of fun. The stress of working out where we were going to move, – to us actually sorting it out with our landlord, took the best part of 1o months so its been a bit of a rollercoaster. We miss Ruth a lot. Everyday. But we have lots of plans for 2024 that will make her proud. But that’s another blog post.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *