Local musicians given new platform to showcase talents as busking launched at Leeds railway station: The Dunwells headlining the launch of Busk in Stations at Leeds, Network Rail (2)

Wednesday 17 Apr 2024

Local musicians given new platform to showcase talents as busking launched at Leeds railway station

Region & Route:
| Eastern: North & East

Musicians in Leeds now have a new opportunity to showcase their talents to fresh audiences as Network Rail launches a busking spot at the city’s railway station.

Network Rail has partnered with Leeds Beckett University and Found in Music to offer a space in Leeds City station, the UK’s second-busiest outside of London, where up and coming musicians can apply to busk to passengers as they arrive and depart from the city.

Today (Wednesday 17 April), the scheme was officially launched with eight artists and groups, headlined by popular Leeds-based indie-folk-pop band The Dunwells, playing their music to the thousands of people who pass through the station each day.

The Dunwells were joined by Her Orange Coat, Augustin Bousfield, Joseph Moore, Jake Keating, Nick Keating, Hollie Mackenzie, and Iz & Liv who each performed three songs to the gathered crowd.

The project is an extension of the original Busk in London scheme which has seen thousands of musicians busk in the city’s Network Rail-managed railway stations and at landmarks since 2015.

The Leeds launch has received support from world-renowned bassist Simon Rix from the Kaiser Chiefs. The original Busk in London scheme has ambassadors including Nile Rodgers, Fatboy Slim, KT Tunstall, and Corinne Bailey Rae.

Leeds City station is the first station outside of London to have a regular busking spot which is located on the station’s main concourse close to Marks & Spencer. It is hoped that Network Rail can expand the scheme further to other stations around the country.

Julie Swift, Station Interface Manager for Network Rail at Leeds City station, said: “We are thrilled that we can offer musicians the opportunity to come and showcase their talents at their music at Leeds station.

“We are constantly looking at ways that we can improve the passenger experience at Leeds station, and, through this initiative, we can’t wait to hear the station filled with the sound of new music.

“It has been great to work with Leeds Beckett University and Found in Music on this project and we are looking forward to that partnership continuing.”

Speaking of his and the Kasier Chief’s support of the scheme, Simon Rix explained: "It's brilliant that Leeds will be the first station outside of London to welcome buskers as part of the Busk in Stations programme. Leeds has a rich music heritage that is second to none, and today, the city buzzes with live music, whether in grassroots venues or from those artists who include Leeds on their tours. 

“At a time when up-and-coming musicians need all the support they can get to access venues, build a fan base or get their own music heard, we’ve seen that busking has a really valuable role to play."

Kate Jones, Programme Director for Busk in London / Found in Music, said: “We are delighted to be part of Busk in Stations at Leeds City Station in partnership with Network Rail and Leeds Beckett University.  

“Building on the long running and highly successful Network Rail and Busk in London programme that has been running for 10 years at Network Rail stations in London, it is now the turn of talented musicians from Leeds and the surrounding area to enhance the visitor and passenger experience at Leeds City station.  

“Busking is a hugely valuable part of the grassroots music scene and Leeds Station will now give performers a great platform to showcase their music and build their fan base.”

James Chinneck, Senior Lecturer at Leeds Beckett University, Leeds School of Arts, said: "Leeds has a powerful, thriving music scene. The Busk in Stations partnership between Network Rail, Leeds Beckett University and Found in Music is an extraordinary example of how working collaboratively across broad geographical areas of the UK enables positive and exciting opportunities to flourish. 

“Leeds Beckett University, Leeds School of Arts is honoured to be playing its part in the continued growth of the cultural provision of Leeds and beyond." 

Budding musicians are being encouraged to apply to perform at the station in the coming weeks and months by visiting www.buskinstations.com.

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Joshua Chapman
Media Relations Manager
Network Rail

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