In case you haven’t noticed, the entire underground music community in Bristol has been rallying around SWU.FM (South West Underground) in support of their massive fundraiser at Motion this Easter Sunday. It’s a party worth going to by any stretch, but supporters are drumming up a sense of duty owed by enjoyers of Bristol’s underground to cough up for a ticket to this.
Coming in cheap for any Motion lineup at £15 for final release (£12.50 second release tickets are still available), the lineup up they’ve pulled together is once in a lifetime – and all of them are playing for free.
Just a few of the names billed include: Roni Size & Krust, Joker, Pinch, Bandulu Ganag (Kahn, Neek, Hi5ghost, Boofy), Sam Binga, DJ Die & Dismantle, Foreign Concept, Gemmy, NYTA, Just Now, Stryda, Facto, Laid Blak, Blazey Bodynod, OH91, and dozens more, including some special secret guests.
For a bit of background – SWU.FM is a project from producer Ollie 303, his brother Will, and MC Koast, who decided to do something about the fact that there is a near-obscene amount of great music coming out of the city’s underground, but no legal FM radio station to play it on.
Broadcasting 24-hours a day for 27 days, their trial broadcast on 87.7FM in May last year saw almost 6.5 million website hits, and a huge level of involvement from established Bristol artists (Roni Size, My Nu Leng, Bandulu, Stanton Warriors) and too many names from the current and emerging scene to even begin to mention.
Although they had to switch off after their agreed 27-day trial, they’ve been lobbying OFCOM for a full FM license with overwhelming support from the city. Their Does Bristol need a new radio station? campaign surpassed their target of 10K ‘YES’ votes with 10,008 : 32 (anonymous) NOs in just over a month, but in January they were dealt the bad news that their building was being sold to a flat development and they would have to up sticks and move.
It was a low blow after such a positive response from so many people, but they decided to dust themselves off and find another way to bring SWU to life. ‘It would feel wrong if we were to walk away now. We have to keep trying to give this to people,’ says Koast (SWU.FM – Celebrating Bristol Music Culture).
Every penny made on the door on Sunday will go toward the station’s relocation and planned return to the airwaves this September, Ollie 303 explains:
‘The fundraiser was put together to aid the station’s re-launch in September. After our successful trial broadcast last year on 87.7FM, we had planed to get back on air in May this year. Unfortunately In January we received the bad news we had to move out our studio and offices as the building had been sold and was pending conversion into flats.
‘This caused us a few set backs and forced us to postpone the re-launch. After agreeing a party was the best course of action to get back on our feet we reached out to some of the key artists from the city who had been involved in the station, asking them to play.
‘The lineup reflects the huge variety of sounds and talent, both old and new, that SWU is dedicated to pushing. All artists are playing for free – we’re very lucky to have so many people support the cause and all share the vision that SWU.FM can represent the full spectrum of the city’s music and arts, on a full-time basis.’
Dubkam’s DJ Stryda is just one of the Bristol artists who has been involved in SWU. He’s also playing the event for free and plans to re-launch his influential Sufferah’s Choice show on the station if and when it returns full-time.
He says: ‘I’ve worked on so many stations over a twenty year period, and I’ve never seen a station be able to come together and get so many influential DJs to back it. It’s quite a force, and they’ve proved themselves with the amount of website hits they had. It’s what Bristol deserves. It’s madness that it doesn’t already exist!’