The Community Action Stage (John Robb & Emily Oldfield)

The Community Action stage puts the issues of Manchester’s music scene at its centre – with three lively panels, discussing themes including representation, diversity and grassroots gigs. Intended to be ‘Action’ by nature, not just by name, this is a place for solutions to be raised, as well as debate.   Panellists are to be announced, presented by John Robb and Emily Oldfield.


John Robb is a musician, writer and presenter, known in particular for fronting The Membranes, and also Goldblade. He is the Editor of leading culture website and magazine Louder Than War and is the author of a number of books including: ‘Punk Rock – An Oral History’ and ‘The Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British Pop’. A key figure behind a number of conferences and festivals including ‘Louder Than Words’ and ‘The Universe Explained’, he has extensive experience in broadcasting and networking – with international impact. John lives in Hulme, where he has for many years.


Emily Oldfield is a writer, journalist and poet – regularly covering the city’s music and popular culture. She is currently the Editor of HAUNT Manchester, a website ‘exploring Manchester’s mysterious side’, with a particular interest in underground music and alternative arts. Emily is also Editorial Assistant at I Love MCR and writes much of her music coverage in Louder Than War and Bittersweet Symphonies. Since moving to Manchester in 2016, Emily has been significantly involved in Valentine Records and is a keen supporter of AnalogueTrash. She is also based in Hulme.


John Robb photo by Karin Albinsson
Emily Photo photo by David Fox


Why is Manchester music marketed as so white, male and heterosexual? Is this a problem?


Does Manchester grassroots music have an ‘age gap’ problem when it comes to engagement?


There are a number of big organisations (i.e. HOME, MIF) investing in the city, but how do/can they connect with the grassroots in a meaningful way?