Target Group: Young people and communities

Geographical Reach: UK

Project Duration: 2013 – 2015

Project Funder: Department of Communities and Local Government and Creative Scotland

Project Manager: Katharine Lane

Project Aim

Our Big Gig is a UK wide initiative which supports young people and community volunteers to organise free music festivals in their local area.
All events take place across on one weekend in July (10th – 12th July 2015) and year on year reach over 200,000 people.

The Our Big Gig EXTRA programme also supports longer term projects in five communities across the UK (Birmingham, Bradford, Tower Hamlets, Ealing and Luton) reaching a further 5,000 people.

The reach of Our Big Gig:

388,000 people have attended Our Big Gig events since 2013
• Collectively the weekend event draws larger audiences than Glastonbury Festival
45,000 members of the public participate in new musical activities at events
28,375 hours volunteer hours donated at events

Superact trialled a crowd funding programme with Spacehive for the first time in 2014, enabling an additional 14 events to take place, raising a total of £11,500 for local events. In 2015 all Our Big Gig are crowdfunding through Spacehive to make events possible.

Once again Our Big Gig has helped stimulate significant local fundraising; for every £1 invested through Our Big Gig £3.90 is generated from local sources.

The project is funded in England by the Department of Communities and Local Government and in Scotland by Creative Scotland as part of the Glasgow 2012 Cultural Programme.

All Our Big Gig events take place across one weekend in July – creating a unified sense of nationwide, community celebration.

Our Big Gig presents community organisations with a fantastic opportunity to hold a musical celebration in local villages, towns and cities, bringing diverse members of the community together and provide a platform to showcase positive community achievements.

Events are eclectic and will see all kinds of music played at a real mix of venues, including parks, community centres, schools, faith centres, bandstands, sports clubs and community run pubs.

Our Big Gig events will all have some element of participation, inspiring attendees to actively engage with music-making and learn more about the music scene in their local area.

Superact hope that Our Big Gig will also rejuvenate underused public performance spaces such as bandstands and town centres, giving them new relevance and drawing attention to the importance of local performance opportunities for all members of the community.

Our Big Gig has grown out of Superact’s Bandstand Marathon project which started life in 2008 with the aim of rejuvenating under used community spaces such as bandstands and provide performance platforms for amateur musicians in local communities.

In 2012 the Bandstand Marathon was the largest community event of the London 2012 Festival closing celebrations. Taking place on Sunday 9th September, there were over 230 events across the UK involving over 9,000 amateur and voluntary musicians and bringing together audiences of over 200,000 people.  The event received celebrity endorsement from Coldplay who supported all of our participants to perform their hit song Viva La Vida at 2:00pm across the whole of the UK.  We had a range of musical renditions of the song, from bag pipes in Musselburgh to Ukuleles in Stourbridge!


Evidence from local organisers has suggested that Our Big Gig is an effective way of bringing the community together with 70% of respondents saying that they met new members of their community at an Our Big Gig event.

69% of attendees to an Our Big Gig event felt that the event fully reflected the diversity of the local community with 49% saying that their sense of belonging to their local community had improved since attending an Our Big Gig event.

57% of respondents felt that Our Big Gig had changed their attitude towards the way that people pull together in their community and 63% of respondents said that they were now more likely to get involved with groups, clubs and local organisations in the community following an Our Big Gig event.

A number of towns and cities have provided evidence of Our Big Gig having had a considerable positive impact on their community; for example in Lincoln, two young organisers have now set up an community group ‘Action LN2’ who organise regular community events throughout Lincoln as a result of Our Big Gig in 2013. In many cases, music was performed in unusual spaces such as libraries, housing estates, shopping centres, skate parks and beaches.

Events were seen as a real way to break down barriers in community like in Middlesbrough where young people who were struggling with bullying in the local area, were brought closer together to celebrate musical talents and improve relationships. This was also seen in Newton Abbot where a centre for young people with disabilities opened up their doors to welcome the local community to celebrate the musical talents of the young people and the wider community, as a way of bringing people closer together.

Visit the Our Big Gig project site for more information