TLDR: Concerts in Cornwall has become Soundcheck South West. We’ve grown up and become a one-of-a-kind iPhone App. Download Soundcheck here.
Back in September 2012, I was standing in a cold field in Marazion with about eighty other people, listening to Reef rocking the bizarrely empty field. It was a sensational performance, but only a handful of people were there to see it. It occured to me in that moment that live music in Cornwall needed a real kick – a jolt of energy and promotion to boost people’s awareness of the music scene locally. That evening, Concerts in Cornwall was born.
Before long I’d got a website up and running with a successful Facebook page and all the rest. I was able to share news of upcoming gigs in Cornwall with thousands of people in just a few clicks.
Throughout the process of building Concerts in Cornwall I’ve been lucky enough to work with some fantastic promotors, artists and venues to cover their events, review shows, photograph artists and get discussion bubbling away about all the brilliant concerts happening in Cornwall.
A few years later it started to dawn on me that Facebook wasn’t the most effective way of celebrating our local live music scene anymore. Posts would only be seen by a fraction of our pages fans (we’re talking less than 5% usually) and content just wasn’t getting out there. The only way to help people see the events happening was to pay Facebook to promote posts, but that simply isn’t an option when you’re trying to share as much live music as we wanted to.
There had to be something else I could try.
In 2014 I decided I could do something about this. I knew it’d take a long time and would involve a massive learning curve personally, but I decided to build a Concerts in Cornwall app.
The idea was simple – I could share all our content in our own little place, where everybody can see each post and where we don’t have to pay Facebook money just to get our information out there. An idea was born.
Over the next few months I started making prototypes, boring my friends every week by asking them what they thought, taking their suggestions and changing bits left right and center. It wasn’t quick, but I was learning how to be quicker.
Initially a very simple app was made, which essentially was a mobile version of the existing website. However, this had several big limitations which meant that it wouldn’t be easy for me to update as new gigs got announced, particularly given it took about 20 minutes to add each individual concert to the database. Back to the drawing board.
Many more months of development and coding followed, refining the key elements and improving areas I knew weren’t yet good enough. I started building a native app for iOS, as opposed to a web-app, which allowed far greater flexibility and reliability for the end user. For the first time with Concerts in Cornwall I realised it would be possible to have user accounts, personal recommendations and up-to-date information based on where you actually were in Cornwall, rather than the same information for the whole county.
This was very exciting, although far more hours than I’d care to admit were spent watching YouTube tutorials and researching snippets of code in order to get these things working. Nearly a year of coding later, and I had something nearly ready to show the world.
Last summer, while at Glastonbury, I decided to share what I’d built with people at the festival. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive, spurring me onto get everything ready for a proper launch. Concerts in Cornwall the App was looking good. But then a friend asked if I could make another app for Bristol too, or Exeter, or Plymouth? Why was I only focusing on Cornwall?
I realised that what I’d built could work far beyond Cornwall. The speed of adding a concert (reduced from 20 minutes to about 20 seconds) meant there was no time-factor stopping me expanding. I put a few feelers out with people to see if there was demand for this, and it was unanimous. A big (and partly cider infused!) decision was made during that Glastonbury weekend…
Concerts in Cornwall had to grow.
I got back to work on my computer, coding and considering ways to expand my work. The framework for concerts, photos, profiles and sharing with friends was all in place. It just needed a new name. Soundcheck was born.
This was the moment: the chance to promote music on an even greater scale, to open up new opportunities and most importantly to reach new people. Hopefully by reading this now, I’ve reached you.
It’s taken me two years of coding, staying up late watching YouTube tutorials, solving problems I didn’t even know could exist and drinking more coffees than I think is safe, but I’m delighted to tell you that you can now download Soundcheck South West for yourself.
Please, take a moment to share this post with someone, post it on your profile, tag some friends – let everyone know about Soundcheck. It’s a brand new community for people just like you – music lovers in the South West. I need your help to make this a success!
I’ll write a second blog post explaining the ins-and-outs of the app, the design process itself and most importantly – all the cool features and tips to make your gig-going experience even more fun. But for now I think I’ve done enough talking!
Jacob Woolcock, Soundcheck Creator
Thank you for reading this, please feel free to send me any feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org