CAVAN MURRAY: A LOCAL SUCCESS STORY

When the Friends of Chislehurst Rocks set up Chislehurst Rocks back in 2011, we wanted to create not just a free community music festival for everyone to enjoy, but also to establish a new platform for local musical talent.  We particularly wanted young performers to have the opportunity to perform on a professional stage with an experienced and well connected sound and stage team.

Now 7 years on, we have been told time and time again how helpful Chislehurst Rocks has been for its performers so we thought we would interview one of this year’s young performers, Cavan Murray, to find out just what a difference it has made.

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This year, thanks to the generosity of The Chislehurst Society, we were able to have an extra stage at Chislehurst Rocks, the Community Stage.  It was on this stage that Cavan performed a short set of his original music and a cover to a large audience on what was one of the hottest days of the year.  We talked to Cavan about his background in music and what he got out of the experience.

Cavan is very much a Chislehurst boy.  Age 19, he was educated at Red Hill and then Coopers, both local schools.  He credits his grandparents and also his teachers at both schools for the encouragement they gave him in awakening a passion for music and then to follow his dreams.  His first introduction was in Year 4 at Red Hill when a guitar teacher came into school to encourage pupils to take up lessons.  Inspired by the teacher, he began lessons initially in classical guitar but then moved on to more chord playing.  By the time he was in Year 9 at Coopers, staff and friends also encouraged him to sing and from that moment on he also started writing his own music.  Once he had reached the 6th form, where he was once again greatly supported by his teachers, he was in a band performing in school and also in a Busk in London competition where he got to the finals and performed at Westfields in Stratford.  On the back of that he also supported a couple of acts at The Beaverwood Club.  Currently in the 2nd year of his degree studying songwriting at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Cavan has, however, not performed on a public stage since.  The opportunity to do so in his home town at Chislehurst Rocks this summer seemed too great to miss.  Cavan applied and was one of the lucky ones selected.

So how did he find the experience? Well exciting but also nerve wracking, he says, even surreal. However, he found everyone involved, the stage and sound crew, and particularly the audience, incredibly friendly and encouraging and sums it up as a fantastic experience that has re-ignited his passion for live performance.  Inspired by Ben Howard, Ed Sheeran and early Cold Play, Cavan describes his style as pop indie.  Having written about 15 songs that he is happy with, the difficulty may have been which ones to choose to perform but Cavan quickly settled on “No Man’s Land” and “Back Up”. He is now getting his catalogue copywritten and looking at putting them on to the main public platforms so that he can reach out to a wider audience.  For now, here's the link for his song "No Man’s Land" on YouTube - https://youtu.be/i6vuY-O6ALE

The main things that Cavan says he got out of Chislehurst Rocks was a confidence to go out and perform live on a regular basis, introduction to other local musicians and a greater profile on social media.  The Chislehurst Rocks team introduced him to Daniel Russell and Tom Monks who in turn have introduced Cavan to the Open Mike circuit; he now performs every other Monday at the Iron Horse in Sidcup if you want to see Cavan perform again.  He says he would not have had the confidence to do this without the encouragement given to him at ChisRocks.  Going forward, Cavan is hoping to have his own sets at local pubs – so come on Chislehurst pubs, snap him up!  

If you would like to follow Cavan’s budding career you can find him on Facebook and Instagram under CavanMurrayMusic.


FEEDBACK FROM SPONSORS

We have supported Chislehurst Rocks for several years, not only because our office are a bunch of music enthusiasts but because we think it is important that a well-run community event provides an opportunity for local musicians, artists and bands to perform and be seen. For a small town Chislehurst has an enviable music history - a legacy that needs to continue.
— Steven Way, CollierStevens Chartered Building Surveyors
As a resident of Chislehurst for half a century and a music fan for even longer, I am delighted to be able to sponsor Chislehurst Rocks through my position as Chairman of Chislehurst Lawn Tennis Club, and thus further the community links of the club with this laudable event. I have supported ‘Chis Rocks’ since its inception, in the early years using my experience as music journalist and radio DJ to assist with auditions and even acting as M.C. on a couple of occasions!

More recently I have been able to add a little personal financial support to this important event celebrating local music and culture, and have been enthused by the growing attendances, even in inclement weather, taking the music and related entertainment to both the young and young-at-heart. This year the Tennis Club is involved as major sponsor, pleased to be of assistance to this fine event and to further enhance the reputation of the Chislehurst community.
— Clive Richardson, Chislehurst Lawn Tennis Club
I had a pleasure to take pictures for the very first Chislehurst Rocks when it was part of Chislehurst Festival back in 2011. It was a perfect day with great weather, Recreation Grounds was packed with families, friends and local supporters. The artists who performed on that day showed us that we live in a very diverse community but so talented, friendly and happy. Nothing’s changed since then and Chislehurst Rocks in 2016 was again a massive success with a brilliant line-up on stage, young local performers, food and atmosphere. I’m so looking forward to 2017 now!
— Robert Piwko, Photographer
Chislehurst Rocks, but not just for one day of the year. It rocks all the time! As a local resident, I decided I wanted to get involved and give something back to the great place I’m fortunate to live in. Being a fan of live music, this event fitted the bill. Not only does it give up and coming musicians and bands, the opportunity to gain exposure for their performance and material, but what better way than to foster community spirit and to give a fantastic day out to all ages and generations. The organisers work very hard to put on a great show and this is reflected in the amount of people that come to the event and have a wonderful day out. Local businesses are involved as well and this interaction is very positive for the event and the community as well. I look forward to this year’s event and can only hope that we get a warm and sunny day!
— Rob Archer, Countach Automotive

FEEDBACK FROM ATTENDEES 

I think it really brings out everyone’s feelings of community. It’s great to have a local event where I generally see people from all sorts of different contexts in one place. I like how people show up in all weathers because they really do feel that they want to support the local event. The kids’ performances are good too - an open forum for sharing what’s going on in the community.
It is lovely to know people have given up their valuable time to organise such a great event.
“EXCELLENT DAY. THANK YOU TO ALL THE ORGANISERS AND HELPERS.
Had a fantastic time - well done!
I loved seeing everyone getting together and enjoying the day.
A feeling of togetherness and a chance to support local businesses, whilst promoting individual businesses through meeting new people.
I’m glad that Chislehurst finally has something that appeals to ALL age groups and I think that the support it gives to local artists is great! I can’t wait to go next year. :)

FEEDBACK FROM PERFORMERS

It’s always a great day and very different to the gigs we normally do. With a house PA provided, a big stage and receptive audience it allows the band to concentrate on their performance.

Also, the daytime aspect and mixed audience brings a chance to reach other people we wouldn’t normally have at a ‘pub’ gig. Finally, there is the opportunity to observe how other artists deal with a large show and, of course, how the professional crew operate.
— Richard Sharman, "Bouncer"
Chislehurst rocks is like no other festival I’ve performed at. It’s run amazingly well and professionally. Gets bigger every year, yet still maintains that local family vibe. Being a part of it has helped me to network with other professionals e.g other artists, photographers and agents and allowed me to build my fan base. With the devastating cuts that are happening all over the country to the arts, this festival is vital to grass roots music. Best of luck!
— Nix Nugent
We’ve played Chislehurst Rocks roughly 3 times now and every time has out done the last. We’re always super impressed by the professional set up and amazing sound we get at the festival. You never know what the sound system is going to be like at a venue, let alone an outdoor festival but every time Chislehurst Rocks has pulled it off.

Getting live exposure around the Bromley / Chislehurst area can be difficult for an originals band due to the lack of live venues, so this event really helps us to gain exposure locally. We’ve actually had people at London shows come up to us after and say how they first heard us at Chislehurst Rocks, it’s definitely been a key factor for helping us build a home crowd.
— George Ivings, "Silent Crowd"
Chislehurst Rocks has provided a unique platform for over 250 of our pupils, who are all local youngsters, to perform in front of an audience of family and friends. These opportunities in the local community are so few, yet so beneficial for local young people to take part in. The sense of pride, morale and achievement it provides is so valuable for our young people and the event makes them feel part of the wider community. I do hope that the event continues to run and to provide this brilliant opportunity for our children and teenagers.
— Lucy Morgans, "All the Arts"