BASS Festival 2008 Commissions

The BASS Festival (British Art and Street Sounds) was initiated by Punch Records 2006. Intrinsically it sought to bring a national focus to the wealth of talent present in the region, develop and showcase the unsung excellence of our black and urban music and art communities. To date the festival has blossomed into an annual event and its breath has spread to include both the West and East Midlands.

It works with regional, national and international artists, small lesser known venues, prestigious national institutions, established and niche promoters, educational organisations and a wealth of innovative arts companies.

Its key drivers are to:

  • Forge communicative and appropriate artistic partnerships between venues, artist and promoters within the region.
  • Challenge current practices regarding programming and audience targeting in an attempt to expand, diversify and improve the image and accessibility of urban arts.
  • Develop a united, innovative and progressive urban arts scene within the Midlands.
  • Build concrete foundations to establish the festival as a long-term partnership for the regions annual cultural programme.

This year the festival will be following the theme of:

The Elements of Hip Hop’ – traditionally these are indentified as:

MCing, DJing, Graffiti and B-Boying but are sometime extended to include beatboxing, fashion, double douching (rope skipping) and slang.

‘BASS EFFECT’ commissions

A key part of the BASS program has always been its unique commissions. Here artists, organisations and promoters have been individually commissioned to produce an event or new piece of work specifically for the festival. For BASS 2008 Punch Records are pleased to announce they are opening the commissioning scheme and have 7 awards for £1000 to support new work developed for the festival.

What you can apply for

BASS welcomes applications from any art form (music, film, fashion, visual art, theatre, dance etc.) but will favour those that have a bias towards urban or black forms of expression or content. BASS are looking for exciting, challenging and innovative work that hits one or more of the festival drivers and in some way ties in with the theme of this year’s festival.

It might be a completely new project or an exciting extension of your current practice – we want you to use the commissions as an opportunity to explore those ideas you wouldn’t normally see as viable.

In past years commissions have included:

  • A grime theatre production with the Birmingham Rep
  • A photographic exhibition of Hip Hop legends with Ian Reynolds
  • A film screening and Q&A with graffiti legends Henry Chalfant and Goldie in partnership with Heducation
  • A live jazz ensemble with Mark De Clive Lowe’s Free Soul sessions in partnership with Birmingham jazz
  • A book launch on the history of Reggae Dj’s and sound systems with Dr Lez Henry

How to Apply

BASS would like you to submit a simple proposal of 250 words max describing what you would like to do. If we are grabbed by your idea we will ask you to come in for a further chat to look at capacity and management.


Each award will be to the total of £1000 cash. Please complete the basic budget to give us an idea of how you’d mange your finances. These commissions are intended as artistic ventures rather than commercial money making incentives. Remember to include a management fee as any door takings will be retained by the festival which will go towards the overall running costs. Both the BASS festival and Punch Records are completely not for profit and limited by guarantee.


In additional to the budget BASS will offer each project considerable support in terms of national marketing and PR. Each commission will receive a full page in the BASS festival brochure (40k national print run) and inclusion in the official documentary and potentially our external ad campaign which includes radio, print and TV. We will also support the management where required and will be on hand to help and offer our expertise at any point.


The deadline for proposals will be January 21st  2008. Please email to: Or call 0121 224 7444 for more info

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