Next month’s AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run on Sunday, 7 May, will hit the right note as it aims to raise awareness of the city’s exciting music scene. We caught up with JO JEFFRIES, Founder/Director of Music for Birmingham and Birmingham Music Awards, to find out how the event will shine a spotlight on local talent.
Can you explain why you are amassing an army of musicians and supporters to take on the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run?
We have brought together the local music community over the past five years through the Birmingham Music Awards. But the scene was brutally affected by Covid so we set up Music for Birmingham CIC (Community interest company) to raise funds to give back to all those struggling. Musicians need our help. Everyone in our community understands that, so the run has drawn effortless support, with everyone rallying to have each other’s backs.
To kick off the fundraising we want to rally musicians and the wider music community to take part in the Great Birmingham Run on Sunday, 7 May. We’re on loudspeaker in the local music community. We hit the phone, we’re on socials, we’re calling our celebrity and music industry connections to join in and spread the word. We’re inclusive. Anyone with a passion for music is invited to join the noise.
What is Music for Birmingham?
We’re a new CIC raising funds that we can grant to musicians and music projects, without the bureaucratic red tape. Public cash pots are notoriously difficult to access and too few are able to tick the boxes or survive the grant timelines. So you apply to us quickly and easily, we say yes, and you get paid to make music.
How does this highlight the city’s live music scene?
Any microscope on the talent and plight of the region’s contributors to music shines a light on grassroots life. The scene has been diabolically hit, we’ve lost venues, and there is less disposable income to chuck behind a bar or buy a gig ticket. But if we enable musicians, they get back in venues, and music is performed, people experience that joy, and get happy; musicians and venues win.
You recently held an event at The Jam House to highlight the collaboration with the AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run. Can you tell us what that was about?
Two of our runners hosted their own showcase. Thomas Atlas and Christie Reeves are trailblazers on the Birmingham music scene and staunch supporters of their contemporaries. The event was all about a celebration of each other. It was applause for fellow musicians at the end of two years of the pandemic when they were unable to perform. It was a very fitting launch pad for Music for Birmingham while rallying the troops to get their trainers on!
As well as encouraging musicians to run, you’re also providing course entertainment with bands or performers on the day?
We are delighted to be providing entertainment on the Great Birmingham Run route. Look out for The Assist, Stella, Tom, Christie and more. We can’t have a world without music. Please help us keep music alive!
Whether you’re a musician or simply someone who enjoys entertainment, this year’s AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run will definitely hit the right beat. The 10k and half marathon take place during the May Bank Holiday weekend, with the routes showcasing the best of Birmingham.
Runners will head off from the starting line on Broad Street before heading through historic St Paul’s Square towards Digbeth. The finish line is at the Smithfield site near Bullring, home to last summer’s Commonwealth Games beach volleyball and basketball.
With less than a month to go, now is the time to sign up to join thousands of runners and walkers who have set their own challenges or are raising cash for charity. Everyone who completes their race receives an AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run medal, an exclusive (optional) finisher’s T-shirt and a goodie bag.
Sign up for The AJ Bell Great Birmingham Run by visiting here.