Our reaction to the Covid roadmap

6 person limit

So Bojo the Clown Prince has given us something to work towards that almost sounds like a good idea. We have dates, which are the earliest points by which certain activities can be done, but what do they mean in terms of rehearsals and who qualifies?

Firstly, we need to explain our definition of professional musician. We feel that anyone who gets paid for a performance, no matter how infrequent, is a professional musician. If you are a weekend warrior getting a split of the door, play in a social club every few weeks for £50, or tour the world performing to thousands of screaming fans, we consider you a professional musician.

UK Covid Roadmap Step 1

Step 1 – 8th March / 29th March

Professional Musicians

During this time, any professional musicians / groups can rehearse if their rehearsal is for a paid gig. We are including rehearsals for gigs far in advance (are there any that aren’t that right now?), so anyone who is in a band that gets paid to perform is allowed to rehearse with us.

Solo musicians

Drummers, guitarists who want to test out their equipment and run through things at full volume without their neighbours complaining, singers who can’t get through the first verse without someone banging on the wall are all allowed to practice at the studios as this is considered work that cannot be undertaken at home.

Saturday Music Club

We’ll still be online for this step as only outdoor parent and child groups are allowed for this step, but you guys are going to love step 2!

Private teaching

The Musicians Union has published a post that says that private tuition can happen if the lessons are “…for the purposes of obtaining a regulated qualification, meeting the entry requirements for an education institution, or to undertake exams and assessments“. So if you have students that are studying for examinations, then you can bring them to us. We are also an RSL Awards examination centre, so if your students are studying towards an RSL award exam, then come to us and they’ll be more comfortable come exam day.

Amateur Musicians

I’m afraid, you guys are still not allowed to come and throw down in the studios. You guys are covered under the no internal mixing rules for the time being.

Step 2 Covid roadmap UK

Step 2 – 12th April

Professional Musicians / Solo Musicians / Private Teaching

It’s business as normal for you guys – what you could do before, you can do now.

Saturday Music Club

So what’s changed? Not a lot for most people, but you SMC people are finally welcome into our studios. We’ll be starting in-person tuition after the Easter holidays. We can’t wait to see you all again!

Step 3 Covid UK

Step 3 – 17th May

Professional musicians / Solo musicians / Saturday Music Club / Private teaching

You know what you could do before. That. Again.

Amateur groups

Here’s the date we’re all waiting for. For our studios, pretty much everyone and anyone can come down and rock out from this date onwards, as long as the rule of 6 is not modified in the meantime. Most of our rooms can accomodate up to 6 people, so from this point on, if you want to come down and throw your musical sounds around the room you can. If there are more than 6 people in your band though, you’ll need to wait for Step 4 a month later.

Step 4 Covid UK

Step 4 – 21st June

Everyone can do everything at our studios. If you are a person who wants to come to our studio, then come to our studio. You can do whatever you want here. Practice music, scream and rage out, have an impromptu rave, do whatever comes in to your head within reason.

We won an award!!

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been one of the toughest years we’ve all had to go through. 2021 didn’t get off to a great start either, but then we were told that we have been chosen to be South West Rehearsal Studio of the Year 2020/21!!

We were picked from a shortlist of 5 studios in the South West and given how difficult it is for our industry right now, it’s nice to have something positive to share. We’ve worked really hard to build up the business since starting out in 2015 and it’s great to have some recognition of how far we’ve come.

We’re proud to have created a space that everyone says is one of the nicest spaces they’ve rehearsed in. We’ve also built up a fantastic community through our Saturday Music Club music school and have been told we serve the best coffee in Bristol.

We’ve continued to upgrade our rooms and equipment in the studio and we are now able to offer a incredible 60m2 performance and production space – The Engine Room – for 2021.

It goes without saying that we couldn’t have done it without the bands, artists, musicians, teachers and students that have used our studios and helped make it what it’s become.

Thank you all for being with us on our journey and we hope to see you very soon.

Our response to the new 6 person limit

Work Not Play

Our response to the new 6 person limit

Firebird Studios

The new limits that have been set out for social gatherings are quite severe, but we are of the opinion that they do not apply to us. Musicians come here to practice their craft and prepare for paid engagements and with that in mind, we consider our studios a place of work. We are also fortunate that a lot of the bands that use us fall under the 6 person limit anyway and as such, they are not subject to this new law.

In any case, we will be carrying on as normal, as, we hope, will the musicians who are using us. We have set out in detail on our website the things we are doing to keep everyone safe – wiping down all equipment, touch points and surfaces, and booking bands in to rooms that incorporate them safely and allow for the 2m social distancing.

Saturday Music Club

As Saturday Music Club has an education purpose, we are exempt from the new law and will be carrying on as normal. We have already put in place new measures to ensure that children and their parents are safe whilst on site and given the size of classes, again, these measures wouldn’t affect us even if the education exemption didn’t exist.

Studio re-opening update

Hi everyone, we thought we’d give you a quick update on what’s going on here and how we’re preparing to welcome you back to the studios. We know it’s been a crazy few months and we hope that Covid hasn’t impacted your lives too greatly.

Latest Updates!!

Given the latest updates from the government, we’re asking all bands to wear masks around the communal areas of the studios and, where possible, in the rooms as well. We want to help drive down the R number in any way that we can. We’ve also put up posters with a QR code which allows you to check in via the government’s world beating track and trace app.

Follow the latest Government advice

Please remember to follow the latest advice from the government and if you do have any symptoms, do not come to the studios. We will still allow last minute cancellations due to band members becoming symptomatic on the day of rehearsals without any charge. No shows will be charged for the room as per usual.

Room sizes

Given the need for social distancing measures at the moment, there will need to be a maximum number of people we can safely allow into each room. Rooms 1 – 4 will be used for bands of up to 3 people. Rooms 5 & 6 will be for 4 piece bands. For bands bigger than 4 people, we’ll be using our new sister space The Engine Room, which is opposite the main studios. You can book all spaces as per usual through our booking form.

Timed Entry & Breaks

We are going to have timed entries for the bands in the evening starting at 6pm, this will be the start time for your rehearsal so that people with the 6pm arrival time would be finishing at 10pm, 6:20pm at 10:20pm and so on. Please let us know the earliest you can arrive at the studio when booking your rehearsal and you’ll be given a 20 minute window for your band to load in to your room. If you arrive late, please call the studio and wait in your car and we’ll try to get you in as quickly as possible.

We’ll also be giving each band a timed break when it’s raining, as we can only have two bands in reception at any one time. At times when it is good weather, we can have a more relaxed situation as bands can use the car park.

Musical Equipment

To begin with, we’ll be asking wherever possible for you to bring your own equipment in. We will still hire out items, but would prefer to keep this to the bare minimum. We will also be using a UV system to bathe the microphones in UV light as this has been shown to eradicate viruses within 10 minutes. We will be wiping down the rooms, all equipment and cables after every rehearsal.

Cleaning and hygiene

We will be deep cleaning the studios so that when you’re finally able to come back, everything will be good as new. We have repainted all the rooms and upgraded some. We are installing a hand sanitiser station at the entrance of the studios, so that you can clean your hands before you come in. We’re upgrading the toilets with new floor, new sinks and undercounter water boiler for hot water.

Contactless payment

We will only be taking contactless payment or bank transfers for all bookings and will be providing payment details on all bookings going forward. If making payments via bank transfer, please use the rehearsal date and band name as reference so we can keep track of payments. We can also send invoices that can be paid online by direct debit or bank card as well.

Everything changes but you…

This is obviously a very fluid situation and things seem to be changing week to week. We will endeavour to keep up with current guidelines and will make changes where we have to. Hopefully with the R number going down in Bristol again, we will be able to get back to normal sooner rather than later but please bear with us whilst we try to get everything back up and running. We’ve really missed having bands around the place and hope to hear some of you rocking out very soon.

Charlie, Naomi, Lucy and the team x

Coronavirus precautions

Coronavirus Precautions

Due to the raising of the risk level by the government to high, we are now having to put in place the following measures to try and ensure that everyone who comes to our studios, feels as safe as possible:

Read the latest advice

Please take a look at the latest government advice on steps to reduce the risk of transmission. This includes tips on the best way to wash your hands (it’s a lot more involved than you’d think!) and will change depending on how the virus progresses in the UK and abroad.

Recent travel

If you have recently travelled from an affected area up to 14 days before you come to the studio, please don’t come to the studio. Let us know, and we’ll either move or cancel your rehearsal.

If you develop symptoms

If you start to develop symptoms (these include a persistent cough and high temperature) and you’ve been to the studio in the past three days, please let us know. That way we can take appropriate actions to clean any spaces that you have been in and notify people.

The likelihood is that we would have to notify the Public Health England and the studios would then be shut for two weeks to try and minimise the damage.

If you start to develop symptoms and have a rehearsal booked with us – even if it is within the 48 hour cancellation period – please do not come to the studios. Let us know and we’ll cancel your rehearsal free of charge regardless of timescale.

Don’t be selfish

If we feel that anyone is flouting the advice and has knowingly brought Coronavirus into our studios, they will be asked to leave immediately and will be charged for their rehearsal.

General precautions

We will be cleaning all door handles, light switches, mixers, microphones, amplifiers, drum kits, keyboards and anything else we can think of that could be a possible source of transmission. We are currently still going to be using reusable cups on site, but will ask you not to bring your own with you.

We have plenty of hand soap, paper towels and a hand dryer for you to use whilst you are at the studios. We do not have hand sanitiser as standard, so we will ask everyone to visit the toilets and wash their hands when they enter the studios. When possible, we will put hand sanitiser out at the front of the studios. If you have your own, please bring it along.

From now on we will only be taking card payments for all transactions. Where possible, could you please ensure that any small payments are paid for together (anything under £2 as a guide). We can also issue invoices for rehearsals, which you can pay online. Hopefully this will avoid the need to take any cash payments on the day.

Microphones

Please could you bring microphones and cables to the studio if you have them. We will continue to give out microphones, but any help in reducing the amount of cleaning and sterilising we have to do will be appreciated.

Saturday Music Club

We’re happy to see that children seem to be the least affected by this virus, but we will ask you not to attend if you have travelled from an affected area or your child’s school has been shut down due to an infection on-site.

Staff & Teachers

All staff and teachers will be subject to the same guidelines and precautions outlined here. If we feel that any of our staff are a potential risk, they will be asked not to work at the studio during this time.

RSL Awards Graded Music Exam Centre

RSL Awards Header

We’re very proud to announce that we are now an RSL Awards Graded Music Exam Centre. Today was our first session with students coming along and taking exams in Guitar, Piano, Drums, Vocals and more.

If you don’t know who RSL Awards are, then you might know them as Rockschool. They provide graded exams in contemporary music and were the first exam board to do so. Having started in 1991 with a guitar, bass and drums syllabus, they have now grown into a worldwide music education institution. They provide exams, diplomas, vocational qualifications in all aspects of music and the creative industry.

To find out more about them, you can visit their website: https://rslawards.com.

Firebird Festival

Naomi and Lucy

We can’t believe our 5th birthday and festival was already a couple weeks ago! It was such a brilliant day – the sun shone all day long, the Lost & Grounded beer flowed, the I Scream Tacos tacos were delicious and the music was all so good!

The Publicans
The Minke Whales

Things kicked off with The Publicans whose Celtic stompers got everyone’s toes tapping. They were followed by The Minke Whales whose stomping folk-led tunes got people dancing.

Waldo's Gift
White Parker

Waldo’s Gift played a chilled set of the improvised jazz inspired melodies and then Hot Contents got people back up on their feet with their funk led covers set. Pure rock followed with White Parker and then some fun covers medleys from Fake Plastic Chairs.

Fake Plastic Chairs
Hot Contents

Firebird Studios violin teacher and brilliant rapping violinist Mike Dennis played a beautiful set as the sun started to go down and the day closed with one of our favourite bands, The Travis Waltons.

Mike Dennis
The Travis Waltons
Recycled Percussion

As well as all the live music, there were free ukelele workshops for kids, a toddler musical play room, a jamming room for all ages and a brilliant pallet instrument made from recycled bike wheels by litterARTI and other materials in our new studio space for everyone to enjoy. It was our busiest festival yet and we loved every minute. Thank you to all of you who came out to support us and celebrate with us and to all the amazing bands that rehearse here and whose music is what doing this is all about!

Lost & Grounded beers at Firebird Festival

Lost & Grounded Firebird Festival

We’re excited to share that Lost & Grounded Brewery here in BS4 will be providing kegs of their brilliant, locally brewed beer for our festival. We had the tough job of tasting the full range to decide which ones we wanted for the day. They’re all very tasty, but we’ve gone for the popular Keller Pils hop bitter lager beer and the Hop Hand Fallacy which is their take on a farmhouse ale to have on tap as they are two lovely and easy-drinking festival beers! We are going to have a few cans of No Rest For Dancers too (for the name especially!) which is a delicious fruity and hoppy red ale. There will be plenty of cider, wine and cocktails available too as well as our locally roasted coffee, teas and soft drinks.

Pete Riley – Drummer’s Odyssey Teachers Profile

Pete Riley drummer

Pete Riley has been a rising force in drums for the past 20 years. His explosive technique and ability to switch hands and feet with apparent ease is the reason why he has been asked to play for the likes of Guthrie Govan, Phil Hilbourne and Republica.

Recently he retired as tutor at ACM, where, for the past 21 years, he has given students the benefit of seeing his incredible technical prowess up close and shown them first hand what it takes to be a session drummer.

Come and learn up close with one of the best drummers in the UK, you won't regret it!