Lee Harman runs the website and live music platform Warrington Music [WAM]. In his column for Weekend the former Woolston High School student talks about the importance of supporting ‘fragile grassroots music’, the launch of [WAM] magazine and highlights of last year including hosting a gig at Parr Hall.

LAST year was the best yet for Warrington Music [WAM], thanks to a fantastic birthday show in March at a sold out Parr Hall with Burtonwood heroes Slydigs.

Bands playing alongside them included The Winachi Tribe who went on to tour the West Coast of the United States twice in the year, as well as The Ks from Earlestown who a few days ago announced they had sold out this Friday’s gig at Manchester Academy 2.

I wish them the very best for tomorrow.

Not only did we sell out an iconic venue which has welcomed everyone from The Stone Roses to Buzzcocks, but we streamed the gig live on Facebook with more than 55,000 views on the night.

We’re going to be doing the same from [WAM] Festival in March, allowing the world to experience our music.

Which takes us to 2019, and I haven’t been feeling it so far.

The announcement that Old Town House would be closing their doors in April and that Porters would close (but then announce soon after it would reopen as if nothing had happened), would show how fragile grassroots music can be and how important it is to support alternative events.

[WAM] will be doing its bit so watch this space very soon.

Stood outside The Lounge after a fantastic gig featuring Fez, Kula Bay and The Lotts, we were all talking about the new wave of bands who are coming through ‘the scene’.

Not only have they been performing in their hometown on a regular basis but they have also been making a name for themselves across the north west.

And while it is unfortunate that almost half of the bands who played the main stage at Warrington Music Festival in 2017 have split up or could be considered ‘inactive’, this year’s event should have a whole host of bands who are making waves and present a bright future for the town.

As we all know, this year is definitely our year over at The Halliwell Jones Stadium as we are delighted to be working with the club to bring Warrington’s music to Jack Fish Corner at every home game.

Millennial mash-up trio Scratch will be entertaining the home fans during the Super League opener against Leeds Rhinos next Saturday, February 2, so go and show them some support.

The rest of the year has lots to look forward to, with Neighbourhood Weekender putting on some great bands you’d never expect to see in Warrington (super excited for Slaves) and we don’t have long to wait for Lymm’s Ian Brown to drop his first solo album for 10 years.

Meanwhile, I’ve been blown away by the response to the new [WAM] Magazine, the 40-page issue is available all across Warrington, Widnes and Runcorn and now online at warringtonmusic.co.uk/wammagazine.

Expect a second issue in the summer with even more original content.

Come to think of it – 2019 – you’ve changed my mind, I’m feeling inspired and ready for what you have for me.

There will always be live music, why not give new artists your time?

You may just find your next favourite band.