Our latest Open Artist Series event gathers local artists and industry professionals to offer their insights into being heard and getting your music out in the world. The session will be split into three sections…

An Artist’s Perspective

Musicians IORA and Artist Lebo share their approaches to releasing music, including challenges they faced and how they reached their audiences.

The Helping Hands

Samuel Nicholls (or whiskas) and Claire Hamilton from Music:Leeds talk about Launchpad+, and how they support emerging artists with their day-to-day challenges.

Approaching Labels

Ruby Tingle (No Such Thing Records) and Mark Lippmann (Scruff of the Neck) discuss how to approach a label, what they look for in artists, and what to expect from the relationship.

You’ll have opportunities to ask questions after each section, with time afterwards to connect with other local artists and industry professionals.

We’re always listening out for your support needs and community-building interests. You’ll have a chance to feed into our future planning, offer your services and reach out to potential collaborators throughout the afternoon.

Who it’s for

Open to anyone working in music - as an artist, independent or facilitator - or any combination. We recognise many of you have a varied portfolio career.

Whether you're just getting started or have been doing this for years, everyone's welcome!

Booking information

Tickets are free, with an opportunity to donate if you can.

Spaces are limited so make sure you register to secure your place.

Registration comes with a free ticket to the Scruff of the Neck BBC Introducing gig that night at Band on The Wall. More information.

If you've registered but are no longer able to make it please email [email protected] let us know so we can offer your spot to someone else.


The Yard is 0.7 miles away from Manchester Victoria Station.

The venue has step-free access and an accessible toilet.

Find out more about getting to The Yard and their access services on their website.

About the Open Artist Series

A series of free informal events to connect and support the North's independent music scene, and help artists to build and develop sustainable careers.

To stay in the loop about future events you can sign up to our newsletter at the footer of this page.

Who'll be there

IORA sat wearing a minty green blazer looking off camera.


IORA's music is melody driven alternative electro-pop, this summer enthralling audiences with electrifying live shows at events like Glastonbury, The Great Escape and radio plays of her latest single 'Feel it' on BBC 6 music. IORA's recent EP and lead track 'Devil in Me' in collaboration with David O'Dowda, released through Extreme Music (Sony/ATV Music Publishing), placed 16th on Romania's Shazam charts. 

Artist Lebo, covered in multicoloured paint, on a black background. Her eyes are shut and her hands are outstretched in front of her.

Artist Lebo

Artist Lebo is a UK based Afrotech, Amapiano and Afrohouse DJ/vocalist/Songwriter. From the small, quiet region of Vaal in South Africa to the cold streets of Manchester, Artist Lebo’s name is beginning to light up the Afro-house and Afro-tech scene like a new ray of sunshine. In an often difficult socio-political environment in her home country, music has always been a way for her to express herself and feel like herself, whether she’s behind a mic or the turntables. She is currently in the process of finishing her debut EP “Growing Pains” which is set to add some excitement to the Afro House and Afro Tech music scene.

A close up of whiskas looking up outside on a street. Sun rays bleed into the shot as they encroach over the roof of a building behind whiskas.


Samuel Nicholls, or whiskas as he is mainly known in the music industry, is the founder and director of Music Local and Senior Lecturer in Music at Leeds Beckett University. He is responsible for delivering the Yorkshire-wide talent development program Launchpad, establishing Music:Leeds as a vehicle to support the local music sector, advocating for regional music support across Yorkshire, and founding the BA (Hons) Music Industries Management course at Leeds Beckett.

Claire Hamilton smiling off camera sat in front of a door and wearing a stripy red and pink shirt.

Claire Hamilton

Claire Hamilton started out in the events and programming aspect of the industry, working closely with organisations such as NYMAZ and Come Play With Me, as well as receiving funding from Youth Music and Leeds Inspired. She co-founded Bloom Sessions, a youth-led not for profit which aims to encourage and celebrate underrepresented creatives in Yorkshire. Currently, Claire works as a project coordinator within Launchpad+, a service within the wider Launchpad universe, which supports artists, managers and labels to release their music effectively and maximise their royalty collection. Even so far this year, from January - November 2023, Launchpad+ has worked with 51 artists on over 115 releases.

Ruby Tingle wears a light green dress with flowers in her hair stood amongst tall grass and trees. Her hands are black, possibly caked in mud.

Ruby Tingle

Ruby Tingle is an award winning audiovisual artist working with expanded collage, performance, installation and music, creating unique, swamp inspired progressive electronica. Originally from Sheffield, she lives and works in Manchester where she co-founded independent record label No Such Thing with collaborator Dirty Freud; her roles at No Such Thing include devising contemporary visual arts collaborations across the North, with an aim to bridge the gap between creative industries, co-managing the roster and running the label's social media.

Mark Lippmann stood by a white brick wall with flowers on it looking off camera.

Mark Lippmann

Still proudly independent, Mark Lippmann has built Manchester based Scruff of the Neck from its humble DIY beginnings, into the wide-reaching organisation it is today. With emphasis on the development of new artists, Mark has enabled Scruff of the Neck to go from strength to strength, evolving from local concert promoters into an award winning independent label (‘Best Small Label’ AIM Awards 2019), publishing, creative, management and live company with a dynamic in-house set-up to self serve their artists whilst remaining collaborative with third parties.