The misadventures of a rock ‘n’ roll Library


IDLES live at Coventry Library, 22 April 2018

The story of Get It Loud In Libraries is now 16 years old and counting. This deserves some kind of film right?

A film that documents the library roofs that have been razed in sound, or in some cases lifted in dream clouds of classical  folk bliss include glassy futuristic new buildings on the northern tip of Scotland, where sopping swimmers plodded surreally from pool to changing room behind a Saturday afternoon matinee stage where a Scottish indie heritage legend growled out his latest acclaimed album, to high street libraries on the Isle of Wight, where a UK library tour with the white- soul crooner Mr Hudson  (and his band called ‘The Library’) played a vital part in this affably enjoyable library caper. 

From 2005 -2021 Get It Loud in Libraries has scored a unique groove in the fabric of library history. 

This is a bookish 15 year old pop culture adventure that has featured artists from Adele to Florence + The Machine and Jessie J to Disclosure and from Young Fathers to Marina And the Diamonds and Ellie Goulding to The Vaccines in a wow factor series of doorstep gigs. 

In-between the chapters rove household name DJs from BBC Radio 1, 2 and 6, Yorkshire-born rock stars bothering libraries with their kids in tow, Hollywood icon Juliette Lewis quoting e e cummings on stage, Strictly Come Dancing finalists and Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet.

The delicious juxtaposition of burgeoning superstars roaming around ‘out of the way’ libraries in ‘out of the way’ towns is beautifully depicted as tour buses bring small towns centres to a stand-still and tour managers, too many to mention, scratch their heads and mutter, ‘So it really is a library, then?’ 


IDLES live at Coventry Library, 22 April 2018

The story of Get It Loud In Libraries, to some extent, revolves around the legendary performance of international superstar Adele who was a last minute stand in for Kate Nash when she supported the band Mr Hudson & the Library. But the film will also shine a spotlight on the glorious and unexpected joy libraries can bring to sometimes tumbleweed towns when deployed to their maximum capacity. 

Doorstep gigs where the best artists play, and audiences of all ages come and enjoy and young people learn and are mentored to benefit their future careers in the creative industries or the live music industry itself.

The GILIL tale enjoyably maps the grassroots beginnings of Get It Loud In Libraries: the mission to achieve great things, both social and cultural, in libraries through fabulous pop music; the breakthrough gigs with cult underground NME darlings The Long Blondes; then  willowy and shy up ‘n’ comer Florence Welch; a chatty, wide-eyed Jessie (no J back then, oh no) and of course, ‘you-know-who’. Then there are the Hollywood stars (well, just one); the urbane well-read Americans seduced by quaint English bibliophilia (‘Good evening Library Patrons!’ – We Are Scientists), and the small matter of misnaming Alt-J ‘The Triangle Band’ at Kendal Calling, where Get It Loud In Libraries hosted a ‘library tent’ in 2011. Sorry, lads. At least you were paid double to support Ghostpoet a few weeks later.


IDLES live at Coventry Library, 22 April 2018

The film rocks and rolls like the rollicking yarn of one music librarian’s (me!) lifelong affair with his two great childhood loves: pop music and libraries should do – charting the genuinely affecting and unexpected social impacts live music in libraries has on its audiences, the musicians who perform, and the young people who are often given an important career leg up as the music plays. It ultimately make a persuasive argument that libraries are, in fact, the original venue.

So for Make Music Day UK 2021 we are going to be producing a film with the young people involved in our Academy programme that charts this shush-averse misadventure in library sound. We will be releasing this documentary on the 21 June 2021 online and in libraries across the UK, to celebrate bringing live music to unique venues. 


IDLES live at Coventry Library, 22 April 2018

Watch this space for more information about how your library can get involved and host an online or offline screening. 

-Stewart Parsons, Director, Get It Loud In Libraries

Get It Loud In Libraries thanks it’s valued funders, Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Youth Music for their continued financial support.