Lincoln, a city rich in musical history, currently houses a diverse music scene that is emblematic of both unity and disconnection. A deep dive into the contrasting experiences of Josh Hurt, the driving force behind the garage scene at Intrusive Events, and Lee Bryne, the co-organiser of the rock-focused Badlands Festival, reveals the complex dynamics shaping the city’s musical landscape.

Badlands Festival, now in its third year, took a hiatus after the challenges imposed by the pandemic. Lee Bryne, 26, co-founder and guitarist for the band Hell’s Ditch, said; “We really have a good music scene in Lincoln. There’s been a legacy of venues in Lincoln. Years ago, just around the corner we had The Duke of Wellington, The Killers played there, Bring me the Horizon and The Kaiser Chiefs on their way up, and we have that heritage in Lincoln of being a place where up-and-coming bands come, and I feel like we need to keep that going.

Resident DJ’s at Intrusive Events. Pictures by @nearlyfriendly on Instagram.

“It doesn’t happen at The Engine Shed like, The Engine Shed’s great and we really respect what they do, but it’s a place for bigger touring bands. But there needs to be a place for D.I.Y underground music, and so if we can keep the ticket price cheap and affordable for people, especially during the cost-of-living crisis.”

In discussion about the disjointed nature of Lincoln’s rock scene, Lee was made aware of the ongoing BBC Introducing Festival at the newly refurbished Cornhill Quarter. This only emphasised the lack of cohesion within the scene, as two solemn rock events clashed on the same day. In juxtaposition, Josh Hurt, 20, the mind behind Intrusive Events, proposed a different perspective.

Josh described a collaborative spirit among Lincoln’s electronic promoters saying; “We kind of all talk to each other, and kind of plan our events around each other. “So, none of our event’s clash, in most cities, you don’t really get that. Because there’s so much competition, but with Lincoln, because it’s so small, you can kind of work with each other and have all your events be a success.”

Additionally, Josh praised gaming bar Akedo as the Mecca for up-and-coming events companies, “it’s one of the best places in the city. Akedo gives small events so many good opportunities. The amount of different events at Akedo is mad.

“I feel like if Akedo wasn’t there, there’d not really be many options for small events. Because the biggest part, or the biggest annoyance of doing events in Lincoln is venues. Either they’re too expensive, or they just won’t want you to, they don’t want drum and bass, and they just won’t hire it out to you.

“If it wasn’t for Akedo, Intrusive probably wouldn’t be a thing.”

Club-goers in Akedo, Lincoln.

In an attempt to bridge the gap in not just Lincoln’s music scene, but creative collective as a whole, Luke Smith, 20, started Empty Rooms. “My vision for Empty Rooms is for it to be a place in which creativity in Lincoln can thrive. I want any creative in Lincoln to be able to come to me with a poem or a short film or some music and I want to showcase that to people who will be able to appreciate it.” Luke stated.

“There’s nothing bridging the gap between a place like Akedo and somewhere like The Drill. “There should be more willingness on potential event space’s part to give up the space for free for a night and make money off drink sales. But these venues know they are rare, so they can stump up a fat price, it’s hard.”

Luke is planning to host his first event in January; however, he’s running into trouble finding a venue, “I wasn’t anticipating it to be this difficult to find a space, but it’s horrible I can’t lie.”

In the rhythmic heartbeat of Lincoln’s music scene, a tale unfolds—melding unity and disconnection. While Lee Bryne of Badlands Festival champions the city’s rich heritage, the clash of rock events underscores a disjointed narrative. On the electronic front, Josh Hurt lauds collaboration, citing Akedo as a crucial hub. As Luke Smith pioneers Empty Rooms, he grapples with bridging gaps, revealing the challenges of nurturing creativity in a city yearning for cohesion Lincoln’s musical journey persists.

By Noah Cole

I'm Ellis, Deputy Editor of The Linc for 2022-2023. I specialise in politics. You can find me @EllisAsherUK on Twitter or at my website