Paul Gudgin and Rob Guest to lead the UK’s largest DIY music festival into its next stage of development.

Make Music Day UK is delighted to announce the appointment of Paul Gudgin and Rob Guest as its new co-directors. The announcement follows another hugely successful Make Music Day held on 21 June 2021, which saw 31,122 performers of all types and genres bringing inspiring musical experiences to over 330,300 people and with a reach of 2 million via #MakeMusicDayUK. Watch highlights video

Make Music Day is the UK’s largest single-day music event and the world’s biggest celebration of music, taking place in 125 countries on 21 June annually. An inclusive DIY festival, it encourages musicians, producers, promoters and all music fans to organise in-person and online events for their communities.

This year marked the fifth nationally coordinated MMD event in the UK. Participation has grown exponentially, growing from just 180 performances in 2017 to 3,589 live and online performances in 2021. With Lead Project Manager Alison Porter stepping down after five successful years in the role, the new Co-Directors will now lead the festival into its exciting next stage of development.

Paul Gudgin has over 30 years’ experience in the management of festivals and events including the Aldeburgh Festival, Bury St Edmunds Festival, City of London Festival, Durham International Brass Festival and eight years as Director of the world’s largest arts festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Following his role at the Edinburgh Fringe, he established his own consultancy working on a wide range of festivals and events worldwide.

Paul Gudgin, new Co-Director of Make Music Day UK, said:

“I am delighted to be taking up this role. Make Music Day is a fabulous event, connecting performers locally, nationally and globally around their shared love of music. The energy and commitment of the performers showcases all that is great about music in the UK and embodies the kind of spirit that will help revive our post-Covid musical life.”

Rob Guest has worked with creative organisations and partners throughout his career. Based in the North East, he has a background in music venues and events management that culminated in the £8m redevelopment of Middlesbrough Town Hall. He has also taken key roles with Durham’s Brass Festival and Middlesbrough Music Live, and is currently Music Director of Sedgefield Lyric Singers and Sedgefield Lyrics Youth Choir.

Rob Guest, new Co-Director of Make Music Day UK, said:

“After 18 months of lockdowns and social distancing, Make Music Day is perfectly placed to bring people together to share, enjoy and celebrate their passion for music across the whole country. The festival is such a great idea, and it’s really exciting to be getting involved as it continues to grow each year. Alison and her team have done an amazing job, and Paul and I are looking forward to taking the festival on and continuing to involve more and more performers, promoters and audiences in 2022 and beyond.”

Until now, Make Music Day UK has been overseen by a steering group of individuals connected to leading arts organisations as well as a dedicated team of part-time, freelance professionals. It is currently in the process of transforming itself into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), with founding trustees Barbara Eifler (Making Music), Darren Ferguson (Beyond Skin), Katy Spicer (English Folk Dance and Song Society), Stephen Tiernery (Reel Youth Media), Steven Greenall (Warwick Music Group) and Victoria Bates (Durham Music Service).

Barbara Eifler, Chair of Make Music Day UK, said:

“We are delighted at the growth of Make Music Day in the UK since 2017, thanks in no small part to the dedication and commitment of Lead Project Manager, Alison Porter. We are confident that 21 June will continue to grow and become a date for all diaries in the UK in the coming years under the leadership of our hugely experienced new co-directors. We are also excited at the prospect of Make Music Day UK becoming its own registered charity, recognising the public benefit the event can bring to individuals and communities throughout the UK.”

Highlights from Make Music Day 2021 include Sing Together Wiltshire with 7,753 performers across 52 schools taking part, 30,000 views and counting for a rendition of ‘Stand By Me’ by ABRSM, a host of ‘Stand By Me’ cover version submissions for a competition won by Reel Youth Media, 56 producers signed up to the MixMash Studios project receiving 108 submitted samples, a selection of wondrous Window Serenades, a plethora of Rock’n’Roll Misadventures in Libraries premieres, and much more. Find out more in the MMD UK 2021 summary report.

Alongside the support of partner organisations and their combined networks, MMD UK is proud to include as its ambassadors Nicola Benedetti CBE, Frank Turner, Elin Manahan Thomas, Apollo5, The King’s Singers, Iona Fyfe, Sam Sweeney, Emma McGann, Charlotte Hoather and Zoe Alexander of The Nick Alexander Memorial Trust.

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