Faith Child Turned Down By Manchester Venue for being ‘Overtly Religious’

bandonthewall1982Yet another Christian event has been cancelled by a Manchester based event venue. Band on the Wall is an iconic gigging venue and was one of the UK’s leading Christian rap artist, Faith Child’s first choice for the Manchester leg of his Airborne UK Tour. Following the provisional booking of his concert at Band on the Wall and just before he was about to secure the booking, Faith Child received an email from the Programming Director – Sally Cook saying:

“We have to be sure that any events we schedule would fit within our programme/company aims and I’m afraid anything with an overtly religious agenda wouldn’t be suitable. Therefore I’m afraid I can’t take this enquiry any further”.

This email came only one week after Band on the Wall hosted ‘Manchester’s Christmas Gospel’ Concert on 11th December 2015. Therefore appearing to conflict their own policy and leaving the hip hop artist in a state of bemusement.

“I was completely shocked when I got the email because it’s not as if I am going to be doing the Lord’s Supper! It’s a music concert at the end of the day. I am a Christian and my lyrics are based on Christian principles but every artist has their own message – so I really don’t understand why they would take that stance with me; particularly as they had a gospel concert only a few weeks back which is probably more ‘overtly religious!’

Band on the Wall declined to talk to us about their progamming policy and why they didn’t want to proceed with Faith Child’s booking but were happy to hold a Gospel concert. However, we will continue to chase for insight into this.

In the meantime, Faith Child has not let this disappointment hinder him. The Manchester leg of his tour is now taking place at Manchester Academy 3, Oxford Street in the centre of Manchester on 12th February. He will be joined by special guests, A Star and S.O. both who are London-based Christian Hip Hop artists and Manchester based LZ7 with Lily Jo.

Get tickets for Manchester here: #Airborne

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Over to you

What do you think of Band on the Walls decision to reject Faith Child’s booking? Tell us in the comments below.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Hello,

    I’m disappointed that you didn’t follow up your phone conversation with Josh earlier by contacting me via email as requested. I was about to go into a meeting at the time you called, and knowing this was a topic that warranted time and consideration, would not have been able to give it the attention it deserved.

    I’m confused as to the focus of this article, which incorrectly asserts that I ‘cancelled’ the Faith Child show; the show was never confirmed, and therefore could not have been cancelled. I pencilled a date in the diary prior to researching Faith Child’s music, and having then looked at his website, made the decision that it would not be suitable for Band on the Wall. I would do this as a matter of course with all pencilled dates about which I have no prior knowledge of the artist, as we need to be sure that all shows, internally or externally promoted, are appropriate to our programme.

    It’s worth noting that I received no response to my email declining to host the show in question; I would have been happy to discuss and further explain the decision, had I been asked. I noticed soon afterwards that the Manchester Faith Child show had been confirmed at Academy 3, so I trusted that the matter had been resolved to your satisfaction.

    The issue here was not with gospel music itself – you are quite right, we have hosted gospel events to great success, and will continue to do so – gospel is a genre in its own right and we would not exclude it on grounds of genre-bias. Many artists across all genres have different religious faiths and we would never discriminate against artist or audience on the basis of personal faith. The issue with this show was it seemed to me that Faith Child has a very specific agenda, which can be illustrated in this excerpt from his website’s biography section:

    [sic] “Faith Child, who’s talented artistry can only be described as God given uses the word of God to positively inspire and empower all who listen. His artistry is more pointed towards the youth of today, saved and unsaved, bringing hope and an alternative to life which is Christ.”

    Where any group, whether religious or political, wished to stage a public event with the purpose of influencing the beliefs of others, and particularly – as in this case – with reference to ‘salvation’, we would decline to host this at Band on the Wall. We would not be able to market such an event, as we exist and operate without any religious or political agenda, and to market such an event could be construed as proselytizing on our part.

    I appreciate your point about our Manchester Christmas Gospel shows, and to explain the distinction, quote the marketing copy for this show, taken from the event page on our website:

    “Kick start your festive season at Manchester’s first Christmas gospel evening. Come along and enjoy the beautiful voices of Manchester and London’s finest gospel vocalists, singing popular Christmas songs with gospel harmonies. You will be entertained by talented musicians and singers from the UK’s gospel community. Wayne Ellington, International gospel artist and founder of Manchester’s ‘Singing-Community’, has teamed up with singers from London’s gospel circuit to bring you an evening of uplifting vocals, professional singing and gospel harmonies.”

    The event is advertised without manifesto, as a celebration of gospel as a genre, and with no faith-based, venue bias inferred.

    I hope this clarifies our position, and am happy to discuss further if you wish.

    Kind regards,
    Sally Cook, Band on the Wall

    • Gospel music is not a sound. It is the message. It does seem to be quite a bias, personal reaction.

      What is a Gospel harmony?

      I think it would have been less discriminative if you had enquired if their was an agenda. To cancel a Gospel artist is to pigeon hole their right to express their message of ‘Good News’. The same objective of.a Gospel Choir?

      This in my opinion was based on personal distaste, as you welcomed Christian Hymns. Which if you researched fully, also sing hope of Salvation. The Christ of the Christmas is the offering of Salvation…!

      Will you cancel a rapper whose message supports street culture or gang culture? Or a rock band, because they celebrate anarchy? An artist has the right to execute their talent in excellence without fear of upsetting the status quo.
      I think it would be well worth understanding you made a mistake here. No eloquence, nor persuasive letter writing can take away the fact that you seem to have picked and selected to have Christian Gospel Choir at Christmas, yet blocked a solo Christian Gospel rapper/artist.

      We must not control, but show non discrimination in a free society.

      I feel this is obviously bias. Gospel Music IS what it says on the tin. A genre, well revered through many nations and the founding genre of all music. Rock, Soul other. It would have been good perhaps to have a discussion, before your ‘no’.

      Kind Regards

      S

      • Hi Miracle Spencer,

        I will not repeat the points I made above, but will emphasise that my issue was not with the content of the artist’s material, but the agenda with which they sought to perform it. I assure you there is no issue of ‘distaste’ for the genre – far from it. There are many wonderful genres of music with a religious heritage, but whereas the gospel shows at Band on the Wall (and it is my understanding that a number of members of the gospel choir involved subscribe to no religious faith themselves, but identify with the joyfulness of the medium) sought only to share their music with a multi-faith audience without seeking to persuade or influence, the material I read pertaining to Faith Child led me to believe that there was a more overt agenda to that particular show. Should you wish to read it, I have given a more detailed rationale to my decision on Vinejuice’s facebook page. I hope that will clarify the matter.

        Kind regards,

        Sally

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