Freakpower @ 100 Cub, London, April '22, (c) Rupert Cheek
Having been active on social media since 2007, I started Sharing and Retweeting content published by various musicians. I started blogging around 2010, then doing interviews with some of them, including singer-songwriter Tom Cuneo, event organiser Adrian Silas, and musician Raphaella.
I wanted to provide a space for musicians, to encourage and inspire them to connect with other people who could help them; somewhere where I felt like I fitted in, to make friends. I wanted to help them to use social media, to be social, to communicate, to think about what, how & when to share your stories. I set Cheeky Promo up in 2013 as a Facebook group & gradually created the Facebook page, Flickr group, Instagram, LinkedIn page, Mixcloud, Pinterest, Soundcloud, Spotify, Tumblr, @CheekyPromo, YouTube profiles. In the last 10+ years I’ve interviewed countless musicians & entrepreneurs.
Having been involved in an accident in Sept 2011, in 2016 I started thinking about organising an event to fundraise for the London Air Ambulance service who rescued, treated me and took me to hospital. Then I wanted to fundraise for another charity - Nordoff Robbins; the UK's leading music therapy provider as I had music therapy at the age of 3 or 4 - as well, so I thought ‘let’s split the profit 50/50'.
Whilst talking with a friend in the USA around 2018, the idea of a one off music gig grew into a UK-USA music festival tour, then into an arts community & series of festivals — initially in London, and then in other cities / countries around the world.
Cheeky Space(s) will be our physical home(s) for all Cheeky people & things.
We help humans, including artists, creatives, entrepreneurs & performers, through the creative & performing arts; art, dance, film, live art aka performance art, music, opera, photography, poetry, sound, theatre and/or video.
The Cheeky Foundation will provide funding to keep artists, creatives & performers alive & venues open through the pandemic and post-Covid. A number of groups and platforms / businesses are enabling, curating & promoting online / livestream events.
I want to help people who want to help people; Cheeky Ventures will offer funding, mentoring & work space as well as coaching / consulting / marketing / promotion to entrepreneurs working on social impact focused startups.
Help us to carry on doing what we do
"And that's when art's not a luxury, it's actually sustenance. We need it. OK. Well, what is it? Human creativity is nature manifest in us. ... And to thrive, to express ourselves, alright, well, here's the rub: we have to know ourselves. What do you love? And if you get close to what you love, who you are is revealed to you, and it expands. ...
[Creativity is] vital. It's the way we heal each other. In singing our song, in telling our story, in inviting you to say, "Hey, listen to me, and I'll listen to you," we're starting a dialogue. And when you do that, this healing happens, and we come out of our corners, and we start to witness each other's common humanity. We start to assert it. And when we do that, really good things happen." (Ethan Hawke, TED talk 2020)
We all have mental health. Many people have mental illness at some point in their life. Mental health issues such as depression and bipolar disorder are a terrible thing if left untreated. I have struggled with depression at various points, and have family members with their own challenges. I have 2 friends who live with forms of psychosis / schizophrenia. Many of us have experienced the correlation between creativity & mental health.
In late May 2019 tragedy struck in my own life, and I lost a friend & musician with whom I used to play between 2004-2012, who had died by suicide after struggling with bipolar disorder. A number of famous musicians have died by suicide as a result of mental health issues e.g. Chester Bennington.
Cheeky aspires to raise awareness, approach and challenge any stigma, provide safe space(s) for people to share their challenges and provide resources to help artists, creatives, entrepreneurs & performers to manage their mental health. What mental health resources are specifically aimed at artists? Are artists such talented and creative communicators because of trauma and difficulty in life? Do artists have particular mechanisms or processes or brains/minds to understand & manage mental health?
Through our experience, we have come to recognise that there's often a correlation between creativity and mental health. As a society we need to create and maintain timely access to support for those who are struggling. Many of us express, share & work through our struggles through creative endeavours. We can come together and support struggling artists so that they thrive rather than survive. We are committed to active listening, advocating, educating, and supporting people through the arts. We remain focused on ensuring that help is at the ready for people struggling with their mental health.
"Always remember that the reason that you initially started working was that there was something inside yourself you felt that if you could manifest it in someway, you would understand more about yourself and how you co-exist with the rest of society." (Bowie)
'Being in bands & choirs made me feel valued. Music ensembles are welcoming places. People need to feel valued and part of something authentic, meaningful, and purposeful. Music ensembles provide this, and more. Being in an ensemble teaches you to think about, & value, those around you. The magic of collaborative creativity is manifested through friendship. Just as music strengthens our neural pathways, it also strengthens our connection pathways.
When you make, rehearse, and perform music with others, you bond beyond the norm. You bond for life. Music bonds us. The Arts is where we finds our voice, where we realise that our unconventional thinking makes sense, where we discover that we're not alone, where we come out of our shell; where we find ourselves.’ [Adapted from tweets @VFleischfresser]
With campaigns such as #SaveOurVenues, and Own Our Venues, we need to encourage, enable & inspire collaboration, communication & community, provide relevant education and empower artists, creatives & performers in all fields as well as those in associated roles to continue to be active and to make money doing what they love.
The Covid pandemic through 2020-22, the cost of living crisis in the UK in 2022 + Brexit have lead to many more people in the UK experiencing economic, social & mental health challenges. Artists, creatives & performers, like everyone else, need to be able to pay rents / mortgages, buy enough food to feed themselves & their families and maintain their wellbeing.
Cheeky Fest supports creative / performing artists; the Cheeky Foundation will provide funding to keep artists, creatives & performers alive & venues open through the pandemic and post-Covid. A number of groups and platforms / businesses are enabling, curating & promoting online / livestream events.
Artists have long struggled to access to affordable arts education / funding and suitable performance opportunities to keep them going; through social entrepreneurship, we can change that. In the future, Cheeky Space will be the physical home of all things Cheeky.
Join a human-focused social enterprise, apply your skills & develop your experience in the arts, business / startups, education, events/festivals, funding, digital marketing / social media, social enterprise, non-profits or legal, Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about you.
With your help, CheekyFest will re-embolden the arts around the world!