‘Access has some great tutors and I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for them pushing me to do my best. Thank you for helping me realise my potential’.
Everybody loves music and everybody loves food. Ashley Edwards, an ex-Birmingham student decided to combine the two to make the ultimate dream.
Ashley studied the Popular Music Performance degree and is now the owner of deepsouth styled bar & cafe, Riverside Blues cafe & Music Rooms.
‘Access gave me the skills I needed to not only be a better musician, but also to understand the world of music business. This, to me, is the formula to success’.
At Ashley’s venue, everything is themed around blues music. His reason for this, ‘it’s my passion and the whole reason I ever picked up a guitar’. The background music, American style food, drinks and memorabilia, all contribute to creating the blues atmosphere.
‘We create a place that is different to your average American style bar. We are right next to the River Severn, with great views adding to the ambience. It’s like a mini Mississippi right here in the Midlands!’
To begin with, Ashley wanted to teach guitar and vocal lessons. It was the experience from his own lessons that led to the decision to set Riverside Blues up.
‘I thought about my own experiences and who was involved. I remembered that my Mom and Dad would be sat outside my teachers house for an hour or more. This gave me the idea of giving the parents, or whoever really, somewhere to wait whilst lessons took place.Somewhere they could get coffee or bite to eat in a cool place. The idea grew and then we thought, ‘why not have a bar and do live music? So we did’.
Ashley has big plans for the future of his venue.
‘I aim to build the place up and up and maybe take over the premises next door and extend. Failing that, open another Blues Cafe somewhere else that offers the same as we do now, but bigger and better’.
When asked what advice he would give to students he said, ‘take everything you possibly can at uni. Every bit of extra tuition, every extra class offered, take it and use it. Knowledge is power. I did a lot of extra classes and still wish I had done more now. It seems a lot of work at the time, but every bit of learning and assignments in modules, in every trimester is 100% worth it’.
To keep up to date with what’s going on at Riverside Blues Cafe & Music Rooms head to their facebook, @riversidebluescafe.
And remember, every music venue needs musicians!