As a big music fan, it took little persuasion for Craig Hopkinson to take his passion, use his skills and spin a new career.
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Determined to help drive a change for alternative emerging artists in the north west, he set his sights on building a bigger music scene in his adopted town Chorley.
Last year he teamed up with talented musician and producer Dave Page to help promote his business White Bear Studios as the promotion and studio manager.
Now the 31-year-old, who lives in Standish, has embarked on his latest project founding promotion company ‘Grizzly Promotions’ which looks after the studios’ growing roster and portfolio of artists.
Craig says: “I have loved the Chorley area ever since I moved here and want to work and develop a great music scene here after recognising there isn’t yet an organised music scene solely for original unsigned music.
“I created a hiphop movement in the Blackburn area in the early 2000s creating groups and music to perform live and since then have developed in to a music promoter and marketer.
“I worked for a marketing department at a blue chip company for four years and honed my craft and left to work in the music industry.”
It was a bold move but one Craig says he is relishing – in his first month running Grizzly full-time, the company has a roster of 15 acts, across a wide genre from rap to heavy metal.
“The studios had built a roster of really great artists but they all lacked that third party input from promotion and management companies because of the cost and harsh nature of the industry.
“So that’s when I thought up Grizzly – we have a team of content creators from photographers to graphic designers and already have events to promote and releases with our roster to go on digital download, one of our acts Circle Casino has been making local headlines.”
Craig’s services for acts include social media management, graphic design, artistry, calendar management and videography. Bands and artists pay a small monthly retainer.
“The clients with also receiving hands on logistical support from me and I have a broad understanding of the industry and how it works.
“We will work with any artist, band or act of any sort and we never operate on a contractual basis, it’s done on a month by month basis and is reviewed every month.
“The retainer starts at £100 a month which gives the client a minimum of 10 hours work incorporating the range of our services.
“The aim is to provide the one thing all musicians and artists need; promotion!
“I’ve heard horror stories about management and promotion companies their charges and clients getting very little for their money.
“I have been working in promotion for the past year exclusively to musicians using White Bear Studios but now want to expand to all artists and bands across the North West and to give them a vehicle to promote themselves without breaking the bank (or their parents bank as the case may be).”
Craig is hoping to have his new website up and running soon.
Dave set up is studios in 2011 and relocated to its premises in Foxhole Road in 2014.
The state-of-the-art facility is equipped with a mixture of analogue and digital equipment and recording takes place in the sound enhancing live lounge, an ultra-precise isolation booth, or a bespoke control room.
The studio has also invested in a professional camera and green screen set up for music videos and other media content creation.
White Bear also operates as a cafe and bar, named The Marauders Bar.
It opens up for monthly gigs held in the studios main live room and a seating area has been created outside.