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Image of several people during the soundcheck of singer Caoilfhionn Rose. Three people stood on raised platforms behind cameras filming.

The festival run by students is back but things are a bit different this year…

Art School Live (ASL) has returned but with a twist as the festival will be live-streamed on 25 and 26 June, hosting an array of talent from across the North West.

Students from both MMU and the Manchester School of Art are leading the production duties on the event, focusing on three key areas of event planning, marketing, and technical roles.

Many have never taken on responsibilities like these before, allowing them to learn a range of new skills in camera operation, vision mixing, sound engineering, and brand management.

Image of a man with brown hair wearing black headphones and a black face mask stood holding a camera.
Most of the production duties are done by students (Credit: Joel Schaegis)

Aidan Mckellar, a filmmaking student doing live vision mixing for ASL, said: ‘We’ve not had a lot of time on-campus; so when the call came out to actually come in and do some physical work on set, I just jumped on it straight away.

‘It’s so fun, and really good to be around people who are actually involved in the industry.’

For several freshers, this is their first experience of being on-campus at university since teaching moved to online-only in October last year, due to the increased cases of COVID-19 across Manchester.

Previously, ASL has been a series of gigs and events hosted in the Holden Gallery and the new studios in the MMU School of Digital Arts.

Image of a man taking a picture of another man sat on a stool holding a guitar
A snapshot of previous Art School Live events (Credit: Evan Wilson)

Before the start of the first lockdown in March, ASL was rescheduled as the new rules implemented by the government meant there could not be a live audience present during the event.

However, this was only a minor hurdle as ASL has now grown into an online festival, featuring a blend of live and pre-recorded performances in the line-up.

Sam Heitzman, one of the festival’s directors, said: ‘We’ve learned and adapted to the different bands throughout, and I think there’s been continuous improvement all the way through.

‘I think every group we’ve spoken to this week have talked about the return to playing live music being really positive; even though it’s a bit of a strange setting for them for their first shows back, I think they’ve really enjoyed it.’

Image of a lineup poster titled ‘Art School Live’ with nine coloured boxes titled IAMKYAMI, NII, HYPERDAWN, TBA, ELLE MARY & THE BAD MEN, CAOILFHIONN ROSE, ALFIE SOY, NATALIE MCCOOL, DREAM ENGLISH KID. At the bottom there is a text box stating ‘Art School
Introducing the line up for Art School Live festival 2021 (Credit: Nicola Broadbent)

There are nine artists and bands performing in the festival, each collaborating with a visual artist to create a backdrop of graphics and film during their set.

Each artist brings their unique style ranging from bold, almost psychedelic like sequences to bold and colourful anime-inspired illustrations that complement the live music.

The festival aims to promote talented local musicians from various genres, including mellow folk singer-songwriters, epic pop-rock fusions, and the indefatigably enthusiastic sounds of electronica.

There is something for everyone at ASL, and you can watch the festival for free on YouTube, watch Day One on the 25th here and Day Two on the 26th here!

Make sure to check out the official ASL Spotify and Apple Music playlists too.

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