The people behind a popular steel drum band in Reading have made an exciting bid to host music events and a pop-up bar at its base in the town centre.
The CultureMix Arts creative industry company, which is best known for organising the Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra (RASPO) has applied to hold live music events and sell alcohol at its new base in Queens Walk in Broad Street Mall.
The company took over the unit formerly occupied by the Vibes Caribbean restaurant in September last year.
It has now been transformed into a hub for CultureMix Arts, which is made up of musicians, educators and entrepreneurs who perform music, provide lessons and provide skills training sessions.
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The company has submitted a licensing application to Reading Borough Council to hold music lessons and performances, play music indoors and have a pop-up bar for events.
CultureMix founder and artistic director Mary Genis said: “It’s about having outside seating, we’ll have that in the summer and a pop-up bar.
“The reason we’re only doing a pop-up bar is because we only want the bar when we have particular events when the bar is needed.
“So it won’t be permanent. It will be there so we can host live music events, because we are specialised in live music, so mainly a steel band, the Reggae collective and other artists.
“We’ll sell food as well, although we’re not a restaurant and to have outside seating so we can create the best experience for people who want to come in and participate in the joy of playing music with other people or developing their talents in a way that will get them employment in the future.”
CultureMix Arts has applied to hold live music indoors from 5pm to 10pm from Monday to Wednesday, play recorded music from 6pm to 11pm on Thursday, and sell alcohol from 5pm to 1am Friday to Saturday, and 12pm to 10pm on a Sunday.
Although events will be held at CultureMix, a key part of its mission is its professional development programme for young people seeking careers in the creative industries.
Ms Genis explained: “We change people’s thinking from ‘oh, I’m just an artist or I’m just a musician, I’m never going to get a job’ to saying well, we are doing this full time and if we can do it, and if you’re determined enough we can help you set up a business, access investment and funding, and develop your knowledge so that you gain the confidence you need to access opportunities in the creative industries.”
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CultureMix Arts is best known for its steel band, Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra, which has existed for over 25 years and has performed at Notting Hill Carnival, the BBC, the Royal Albert Hall, Womad and Glastonbury.
It also performs the ‘Calypsos and Carols’ Christmas event in Reading.
Anyone interested in getting involved can find out more on the CultureMix website.
The company has been based in various locations including Reading College and South Streets Art Centre before it acquired its new home in Queens Walk.
Members of the public can make representations about the application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org .