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Celebrating 30 Years of More Music

Posted by More Music on 19 July 2023

The latest issue of Sounding Board by Sound Sense includes ‘More Music celebrates 30 Years, The Wonderful Story of Community Music Making in Morecambe’ – written by More Music founder Pete Moser. Pete tells the story of his long-running involvement with More Music, from his beginnings as a community musician and his first projects in Morecambe, to community music creative partnerships that have connected people around the world.

This article originally appeared in Sounding Board 2023 Issue 1 and is reproduced with permission. Sounding Board is the quarterly journal published by Sound Sense, the UK professional association for community music.

Listen the full article in the Sounding Board here


The start of a new adventure for me in the seaside resort that was to become both my home and the place where I was able to work with a developing crew of people to make music, create community and support individuals to develop their lives in new ways.

(Morecambe Bay)


I left the charity More Music four years ago and now find that that I am still working in the community, now mainly as a volunteer, and that the charity gives me opportunities as a resident in all sorts of ways… such a great circle.

Pete Moser 2017 .jpg

(Pete Moser)


I arrived here from Barrow in Furness after completing a 4 year community music residency working with Welfare State International in which I developed values, methodology and pedagogy as well as making some amazing musical events. In contrast to Barrow, where the business was armaments, in Morecambe it was about tourism and when I arrived the slogans were all about More Beaches, More Ice Cream, More Festivals, More Fun…

As I started to develop work as a solo community musician the name More Music in Morecambe became an obvious and easy choice and an invitation from the local Parish Council gave me a first £500.

That was the beginning … a journey of discovery and learning, of innovation and training, of astonishing events, of a building in a community and a county exploration, and fundamentally about people – their stories, creativity and connection to each other and to a sense of place…

In that first year were two key projects – one a commission from the local tourist board to develop a Song for Morecambe and the second the start of a new streetband, called Baybeat. Inspired by a recent Blackpool Song the head of tourism, David Christley, invited people to send in songs and then invited me to judge the results! Being the ‘right on / non-competitive’ community musician, I invited everyone to some songmaking workshops so that we could listen to everything and make a new song! With lyricist and poet, Boris Howarth, we sat in the round room of the dilapidated Midland Hotel and the result was the Big Bay View – an enduring melody and lyric that I still sing today. In the process I met a young singer/songwriter Geoff Dixon who became a best friend and collaborator for the next 15 years and a brilliant community musician.

Baybeat Streetband was created through drumming sessions in schools, in the Arndale Shopping Centre and a variety of open access workshops across the district and for our first outing for the Lancaster Carnival I worked with percussionist Steve Lewis, who also became one of the first key musicleaders. Over the years the band grew to 160 people – dancers, brass and percussion players – and has changed in size and leadership over 30 years but still holds strong to the belief that anyone can join. The band still makes a great noise in the street whether in Manchester Day Parade or the Winter Lantern Parades in the West of Morecambe.

(Baybeat Streetband at the West End Winter Lantern Festival)

Projects developed in Morecambe and across Lancashire and the next development was the arrival of Kathryn MacDonald. I had just been offered a significant three year grant from the local ‘Single Regeneration Budget’ to tackle issues around youth crime and drugs and, as it was to be run within the council, we had to employ an administrator. She arrived in post with a history in theatre and not knowing anything about community music but her social conscience, her passion for people, her great communication skills and her understanding of the power of great art became an essential force in the development of the charity.

We rented a room on the ground floor of a Snooker Hall in the West End of Morecambe and the deep community development started for real. This was a classic ‘deprived’ seaside community that had issues around multi-occupation houses, crime, drugs and a transient population and was exactly where we knew we could start to make a difference.

30 years later the More Music building is a unique community music centre with sessions, events and gigs and a key role in the positive development of the local community and the whole district. At the same time it is an inspiration to people from across the country and has an international reputation as a beacon for the transformational power of music.

(The More Music building)

Crucial to the next 25 years was our relationship to Arts Council England and the regular annual funding that supported our ambitions to make ‘Great Art for Everyone’. We have also been supported by many trusts and foundations including Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmee Fairburn, Garfield Weston and F.C Scott.

“I’ve got thirty two photos of thirty two children

All round the shelves of my room.

Thirty two faces – pink faces from places

From over the whole of the world.

And they all smile at me from their merry-go-round

And their smiles hug me tight like a warm dressing-gown

I’ve got thirty two photos of thirty two children

Who smile from the shelves of my room”

This is a lyric from our ‘Parish Map’ in song created over three years from 1996. In ‘Morecambe Streets’ we made 450 songs and poems written by old and young inspired by where they live – full of detail and personal feelings.

We performed them in community centres, schools, cabaret nights and on walking tours of the local streets. We made a beautiful book, a CD and a ‘reading desk’, which toured the county libraries and we created a methodology for working, making songs with people who had never written before.

(Morecambe Streets)

“I keep it in the toilet, I do

It’s my bike.

I’ve got a little brother, I have

He’s a terror.

He tries to pop the tyres, he does,

On my bike,

So I keep it in the toilet, I do –

It’s my bike.

Get off!”

(Morecambe Streets)

The One Man Band Shebang and Streetband Festival were our first two big outdoor events created with support from Jon Harris at (Lancaster Council) Arts and Events Service… and our skill at bringing brilliant acts from across the country and profiling diversity in music soon found a place in the best festival of them all.

Catch the Wind is a kite festival on the beach and the promenade, which has captured the hearts and minds of local people and with its inspiring music and street entertainment programme has become a key feature in the regeneration of Morecambe. Alongside the more local events – West End Festival, That Spring Thing and the Winter Lantern Festival – these not only bring great acts from across the country but also give a showcase for music from the huge range of ongoing projects.

(Catch the Wind Kite Festival)

The team at More Music has become a family of musicians, managers and administrators whose belief in the work and commitment to the values and politics of community music has been strengthened over the years by the learning programme. Starting with weekend workshops in the 90s – With One Voice, Approaches to Composition, Beat the Bay and Songmaking. To run these inspirational weekends we brought together musicians including Johnny Kalsi, Tony Haynes, Steve Berry, Mary Keith, Sian Croose, Brenda Ratray, Rob Worby, Bosco D’Olivera, Tyndale Thomas. People came from across the country to learn and Morecambe became a centre for Community Music.

This grew to the Ways into Workshops weekends created with Hugh Nankivell, Steve Lewis and Katherine Zeserson and then the book – Community Music – A Handbook.

In 1999 along came Youth Music and their director, David Sulkin visited us and we started to talk about an idea he had for creating music zones – centres of excellence. So began our amazing partnership with this great lottery funder. We became one of 20 centres and one of a group of organisations who shared learning, projects and music. We contributed to an extraordinary change in inclusive musicmaking that ultimately led to the Music Manifesto working parties, Sing Up and the Music Education Hubs. At More Music, our youth programme encompassed early years, ‘cold spot’ projects, an extensive Special Needs programme, the Dhamak Beats project in East Lancashire with Abdul Salek, Chinese music workshops and what was to become the flagship young peoples’ programme – Stages. Thousands of young people were, and are involved, in making their own music – creating and performing and gaining confidence in their ability to shape the world in which they live. There are so many case studies and stories … Matt Robinson was a participant on many projects in his teens, went away to study and came back to work as a multiskilled community musician for many years and now runs the Community Music Programme at the Dortmund Konzerthaus.

(Community musician Matt Robinson)

My own personal journey took a deep turn in 2004 with the tragedy in Morecambe Bay, which saw 24 Chinese migrant labourers lose their lives in the sea on a cold February night. The piece we created, working with Lemn Sissay, was called The Long Walk and saw us working with the Chinese community and our other groups to reflect on the dangers and horrors of economic slavery and migration. It became a semi theatrical piece in two acts, which we made in Morecambe, Liverpool, Gateshead and Hong Kong, each time working over six months to write new songs and music within an overall story and musical structure. With amazing professional Chinese musicians, Guo Yue, Semay Wu, Seaming To and Sun Zho playing alongside the More Music team and hundreds of community participants we made beautiful music, powerful music and changed our worlds.

Following the actual performances, I then started to develop what became a 16 year community music journey in Hong Kong and southern China working with Mok Chiuyu and his organisation CCCD (Centre for Community Cultural Development). Training programmes, song and music projects, shows and events generated a whole new world of community music which hopefully brings some joy and positivity out of a tragedy.

(Seaming To performing in The Long Walk)

More Music’s journey over the past four years has been led brilliantly by Kathryn MacDonald and a new programme of Health and Wellbeing work in partnership with Spirit of 2012 and the NHS. The building is undergoing its fourth capital ‘expansion’ with improved social facilities downstairs to match the great venue upstairs, where every month another extraordinary national star brings their music to the heart of the West End.

(Seagull Cafe, a community singing group and social occasion for over 60s)


Some of the core team at More Music who are making this happen now:

Helen Chapman, Anna Daly, Maxine Dixon, Ben Farmer, Frenchy, Darren Leadsom, Rebecca Lockley, Leroy Lupton, Shane Johnstone, Ben McCabe, Rick and Sam Middleton, Ashley Murphy, Rachel Parsons, Anna Read, Bill Roberts, Kelly Thurston, Anni Tracy, Emma Williams, Joe Hargreaves and Sandra Wood.


More Music became a charity in 2000 and have had brilliant support over the years from our trustees who have over the years had to put in significant time and energy as volunteers. They include:

Rob Cairns, Fiona Gasper, Adrian Lochhead, Gary McClarnan, Oliver Plunkett, Liz Neat, Tina Redford, Gavin Sharpe, Sam Ud din, David Wood, Steve Varden, Lauren Zawadzki, Dave Smith and more…

Peter Moser is a freelance composer, performer, teacher and producer and was the Artistic Director of More Music for its first twenty five years. Find out more about Pete and get in touch at

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