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Live music takeover of world’s first pop up mall

The London venue, Shoreditch Boxpark, is giving students from The Academy of Contemporary Music experience in live sound, stage management and performing

The Academy of Contemporary Music has partnered with Acoustic Live UK for a month-long live music takeover at London’s Shoreditch Boxpark.

Fusing the concepts of the modern street food market and the pop-up retail mall, Boxpark stands in the heart of Shoreditch and offers a community of brands specialising in fashion, arts, food and drinks.

ACM London commercial songwriting student Jayana Akar (pictured above), championed the idea after working with Acoustic Live UK while doing her A-levels.

“(The Acoustic Live team) were very open to new ideas, and they’ve provided a platform for great artists who’ve gone on to do amazingly well; the likes of Little Simz, JP Cooper, Sonna Rele and loads more,” says Akar.

When Akar got into ACM, her initial idea was to give students one-off slots to perform. “But soon after I thought, why not have a whole month where students from all courses can experience working in the live field; live sound, stage management, social media and, of course, performance,” she comments.

“Boxpark is a unique space. The location in East London really means it attracts a great audience, whether it’s rainy or sunny there will be people either taking shelter from the rain or enjoying the warm London weather. The event that we run at Boxpark is free, which guarantees an audience…”

With no backing tracks or sample triggers, Akar says the set up is simple, with the PROFX12 from Mackie, PreSonus loudspeakers and microphones from Shure – the SM58 for vocals and the SM57 to mic up instruments.

Akar notes: “It’s an acoustic event and that doesn’t restrict the genres that get played on our stage. We have had everything from alternative acts, rappers, spoken word artists, singer/songwriters, folk musicians and R’n’B acts.”

ACM acts Raffer, Cee and the Sirens, Yana Toma and Molly Mckinna were the first to grace the line-up of the event.

A spokesperson from the Acoustic Live Team says: “We’re very pleased to be working with ACM and the next generation of musicians, providing a platform for the month to have these artists showcase and hone their talents.”

Akar agrees that it’s a real boost for her career prospects. “As a student and a musician, I always looked for opportunities within my education to expand my involvement in and knowledge of the music industry. The event doesn’t just help engineers, it helps anyone that wants to be involved in entertainment. I have learnt so much about live music and events, I have met some amazing individuals and created a great contact list for my career as a musician, and not to forget the ability to perform regularly.”

Ace, the guitarist in UK rock phenomenon Skunk Anansie, and tutor at ACM also helped Akar with the event. He comments: “We’re so pleased to put on these exclusive events in partnership with Acoustic Live UK. We’re also immensely proud of our student Jayana for coming up with the idea, showing her true entrepreneurial spirit.”

In September 2016, the Academy, which counts famous alumni from Ed Sheeran and Newton Faulkner to Amelle Berrabah and Zomboy, opened the doors of its brand new facility, ACM London, situated in Clapham.

Equipment from brands such as SSL, Tama and Avid are used by the teaching faculty.