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Music centre to open in city’s Cultural Quarter

Published on Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A NEW music centre is set to open its doors in Leicester's Cultural Quarter next week.

Leicester City Council has helped to fund the transformation of a previously empty building into the Echo Factory as part of the on-going development of the area. 

Located at 68 Humberstone Gate East, Echo Factory is the new home for the music education organisation of the same name. It will offer professional music industry training, combining music, performance and business.

The city council provided around £74,000 to support the development as part of a programme of work to encourage the use of empty buildings in the Cultural Quarter.

The scheme has been delivered by the Howie Smith Project, a social enterprise that brings empty and derelict spaces back into use for artistic and community benefit. The council’s funding was matched by investment from the Howie Smith Project, Echo Factory, and property company Bildurn, which owns the building. 

Cllr Sue Waddington, assistant city mayor for jobs and skills said: “This is an innovative project which will open up a range of exciting opportunities for anyone in Leicester who is interested in music.

"It is an excellent example of how the city council, property owners and developers in the Cultural Quarter can work together to bring empty buildings back to life for creative uses.”

Ajay Naik, CEO of Echo Factory said: “We were delighted that the city council, along with our other partners, invested in this project. This state of the art facility will enable us to launch the careers of hundreds of aspiring music professionals over the coming years. I encourage people to use the new centre.”

Rob Howie Smith said: “The Howie Smith Project have been seeking ways to bring this building back in to use for many years, with various projects that have involves the community and the arts, but with no long term solution proving viable.

“Working with the building owners Bildurn, Leicester City Council, and The Echo Factory, we have been able to deliver a potentially sustainable project that promotes creativity and development in music and education, within a reasonable budget and minimal investment. Having a creative education facility in Leicester’s Creative Quarter will benefit this area of the city and perhaps encourage other property owners to follow suit.”

Echo Factory will open to the public for the first time on Thursday July 7. Doors open from 5.30pm and entertainment runs until 11pm, including poetry, hip hop, and DJ sets.

It’s currently accepting applications for its music degree courses which start in October 2016.  More information is available at

Leicester’s Cultural Quarter is one of four key business investment areas highlighted as a priority in the council’s Economic Action Plan. The council has been working with building owners and creative businesses to stimulate investment in the area.