Rural Music Network Project 2019-2021

James Brookes: Project Leader

Over the past five years Young Somerset (formerly Somerset Rural Youth Project), funded by Youth Music, has been delivering a music project called the Rural Music Network. Over this time this project has developed its partnerships, such as BBC Introducing in the West and Michael Eavis (The Glastonbury Festival) that has helped shape the projects model of delivery.

The project, now moving into its sixth year has now set up a strong partnership with the Cheese and Grain in Frome (Somerset’s most influential live music venue and music studios); this partnership will bridge the gap between young people and the music industry even closer. The Rural Music Network will be based at the Cheese and Grain enabling young people to access the professional musicians, sound engineers, music promoters, event managers, stage managers etc, through a variety of “artist sessions” and master classes.

The aims of the project are to increase young people’s access to the music industry and to increase young people’s skills and confidence in music through three music pathway strands:

  • Music Performance – playing solo or in a band, dj, mc or singer songwriter
  • Music Production - sound and lighting engineering, live music events, stage management, and studio and recording
  • Music Promotion – Artist and Music Promotion, music events management and artist management.

The project will enable young people to select a pathway they wish to develop through engaging with the Rural Music Network Tour Programme.

The Rural Music Network Tour Programme offers the following:

Over two years, four tours will be delivered across Somerset.

For each tour, eight music acts and a tour production group will be selected to go on a four-month Tour. The acts will play eight gigs across Somerset (two gigs a month)
Each music act will be offered three 2-hour music rehearsal / development sessions in between each gig with the RMN music leader. Using their first gig as a baseline for their development and using video reflection of each gig as a development tool to identify areas of improvement. 

The Tour production group will comprise of 5-8 young people, each taking a leading role in the promotion and production side of the tour. For example, a tour events co-ordinator, a tour promotions co-ordinator, stage/artist co-ordinator, sound engineer and lighting crew. This group will do all the planning, coordinating, promoting and delivery of the tour, managed by the Rural Music Network Project Apprentice.

The tour is focused on Somerset, enabling young musicians to gain experience of playing in all kinds of different venues (from well-established music venues such as Moles or the Cheese and Grain to playing in Arts Centres, Rural Music Pubs, town halls and village halls). The tour will enable the music acts to gain hands-on experience of working with a diverse collection of music venues, increasing their confidence in working with them in the future. This tour is also focused at increasing the profile of new and up-and-coming music acts and increasing new audiences to support live music in their communities.

In exchange for this tour opportunity each music act is supported to put on a community music making workshop in one of the communities they perform in. This will enable young people both to develop their music performing skills and also develop their music mentoring and tutoring skills as it is essential for musicians to be able to diversify themselves in order to bring in an income from all aspects of music making, be it performing or teaching.

This exciting new phase of the Rural Music Network Project kicks off this year, with the first tour commencing in March 2019 all around Somerset.


For more information, please contact:
James Brookes – Project Leader
01278 722100

07974 575 603


Young Somerset Organisation Profile

Young Somerset is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee, established in 1997 and governed by an independent Board of Directors.  Young Somerset is the local constituent organisation for UK Youth.

Young Somerset seeks to achieve regeneration through a youth work methodology based on the principles of:

  • Informal Education
  • Empowerment
  • Equality of Opportunity
  • Voluntary Participation

In doing so, the organisation seeks to develop relationships that are open, honest, respectful, trusting with young people, partners and communities across Somerset. 

The charity’s mission is to work with young people, encouraging them to take responsibility for themselves and become actively involved in shaping the communities in which they live.  Young Somerset works to achieve social and economic outcomes with young people, through the delivery of measurable outputs and outcomes.

To achieve its mission Young Somerset aims to engage and support young people living in Somerset in a range of social, economic, educational and recreational opportunities designed to encourage social inclusion and life-long learning, by targeting the following objectives:

  • To address issues of exclusion, isolation and disadvantage that affect young people
  • To increase the take up of education, training, employment and enterprise opportunities by young people
  • To encourage community regeneration through good citizenship and participation
  • To provide access to information and advice and guidance on issues relevant to the lives and aspirations of young people
  • To generate and participate in partnerships involving young people and key local stakeholders
  • To involve young people in the organisation’s development and delivery

These objectives are delivered through three main strands of work:

  • Open Access: A universal offer to young people across the county, enabling them to access a youth work curriculum that develops skills and increases involvement within their communities
  • Skills Development: Through targeted or focused programmes, young people can gain skills which help them develop their economic and social wellbeing and employability
  • Social Action: Delivering projects in which young people develop the skills and are given the opportunities to take ownership and contribute to their local community through volunteering, raising awareness or fundraising


Address:   Unit 2, Suprema Estate, Edington, Bridgwater, Somerset.  TA7 9BF
Tel:   01278 722 100
CEO:   Nik Harwood -


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