Get on board the Gospel Summit Roadshow! by Juliet Fletcher

Following the recent Gospel Summit held at The Drum, Birmingham, plans are now in motion to hold a roadshow targeting those involved in the UK’s gospel music scene.  Juliet Fletcher reports.

The success of the recent Gospel Summit – the music industry business event – has spurred plans for an exciting roadshow which will take place from July onwards, in key cities around the UK, including London, Liverpool, Leeds, Leicester, Manchester, Nottingham, Bristol, Birmingham and Brighton. Although a series of online webinars and workshops had been staged, it has become clear that something more sustained – and even permanent – is needed. The GMIA Gospel Summit Roadshow may be the answer to this.

Music industry guru – rights and arts management expert, Linton Beckles – will lead the charge to make hundreds of gospel practitioners ‘industry-ready and fit for purpose’. It was his presentations that became the ‘star attraction’ of the Summit music industry-focused event.

Support for gospel music was expressed by bishops, reverends and pastors, leaders who attended the GMIA Executive Board Complimentary Luncheon sponsored by the Bible Society.  The three-course luncheon was attended by a mix of leaders who were impressed by the food, as well as by matters highlighted at the gathering, which included plans for a new songbook featuring the compositions of writers of gospel hymns, worship choruses and themed songs.

“The feedback has been fantastic,” says Linton Beckles. “However, we knew time-wise it wasn’t going to be enough; therefore the Summit has now become a springboard to get this knowledge and skill-based training on the move, to places around the UK. We are using the support of the leaders we know to proactively bring this right inside our church networks and events.

“Some may say that it’s the leaders who don’t seem to have an interest; I say differently, because even our Lord began with those who were willing to follow Him. It’s with the visionary and the proactive that change comes, otherwise the energy is given to that which is negative and not positive.”

A former pop star, hit songwriter, music producer and A&R manager, Linton has gone through all the stages of working in the music industry. He has taught Musicians’ Union members, as well as members of the Federation of Entertainment Unions, and he specialises in rights and contracts. To have someone of his skill and knowledge at an accessible rate is a real coup for our scene.

So, what does Linton plan to bring to those attending the Roadshow events?

Linton Beckles (LB):  “There are four things most important to me about running the GMIA/Gospel Summit Roadshow.  I’m going to give everyone information that will make them:  1. Business-ready – All you need to know about setting up and running your music and media business; 2. Rights-ready – Where you need to go for royalty collections, and how to secure your copyright and IP portfolio; 3. Charts-ready – All you need to do for chart eligibility and sales monitoring; 4. Marketing-ready – Getting the key components of your arts management and publicity to work on building your fan base and public profile.”

JULIET FLETCHER (JF): “So how can church leaders help gospel artists right now?”
LB:  “First, STOP seeing them as something separate from what the Church is doing – especially those who do contemporary art forms. Secondly, START seeing them as key components in God’s end time harvest; they are both Levites and evangelists, and should be treated as part of the church leadership, whose gifts and callings are key to reaching the hearts of men for God. Thirdly, mentor and train them, and bring them to spiritual maturity. Fourthly, be their covering and provide support in developing their craft. A tall order some might say but, if we are truly discerning of the times, we would see why music is so key in the last days, and why the enemy always targets our artists and musicians.”

The Roadshow will come to any town in any city, with the proviso that a minimum of 15 persons are booked – to make it cost-effective.

The Roadshow programme may vary with special sessions, for example on ‘How to produce a great music video’, led by experienced music video producers, and ‘How to become a gospel music administrator’ (someone who looks after artists: managing music royalties, registering music for rights management and bookings).

It suits anyone who is a performer, promoter, event organiser, booking agent, songwriter – at any level of involvement or with no experience at all.

If you would like the Roadshow to come by your local church or community event, call the GMIA on 020 3086 8348 or visit www.gmia.org.uk.

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