What does the future hold for live music in Kingston?

While the research of Kingston RPM is primarily centred around the town’s musical heritage, considering its future has always been a core consideration of the project. While the Live Venues strand has highlighted the wide variety of pubs, bars, cinemas, and even boats that hosted a spectacular cross-section of contemporary music in the 1960s and 70s in Kingston, only a small handful of those venues remain today.

Kingston RPM wanted to explore the factors behind this, and question whether we are ever likely to see a similar scene emerge in the future. What can the past tell us about the future? And what does this future look like for live music?

To gain some key insights in answering such questions, Kingston RPM researcher Jarek Zaba invited the people of Kingston to the Rose Theatre for a free public panel discussion in September 2017.

You can listen to a recording of the panel talk in full through the player below.

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The Panelists

Carl Orza, CEO of Grand Unified Themes, a Kingston-based events and record label.

As someone tirelessly devoted to championing contemporary local talent in the borough and beyond, Carl was able to provide a critical perspective of the modern day music fan in Kingston, balancing what could otherwise be a discussion based around nostalgia and dated notions of what live music is and should be. Approaching the debate from an optimistic mindset, Carl argued that instead of bemoaning the loss of ‘traditional’ venues that host conventional band set ups, we should instead be embracing the proliferation of electronic based music that comes with different requirements entirely.


Bob Salmons, Director of the Ealing Community Interest Company, who seek to highlight the rich musical heritage of Ealing and encourage a live music culture to inspire future generations in the region.

With nearby Ealing sharing much of the same heritage as that of Kingston explored in the RPM project, forming another outpost on the ‘Cradle of Rock’ that is centred around South West London, Bob has worked for decades on ensuring it is recognised and celebrated in his area. As someone who focuses on connecting this heritage to the present day, ensuring local musicians have the means and motivation to play at live venues, Bob had many tips for the people of Kingston and how they too could work towards fostering a similar culture.