2017 Global Street Paper Summit closes with raucous fundraising gig at Manchester’s O2 Ritz

This year’s INSP Global Street Paper Summit came to an end on Thursday with the loud, impassioned crowd at Manchester’s iconic venue, the O2 Ritz, being led in a sing-a-long by the night’s headline act, Frank Turner.

Street Noise, a benefit concert where all proceeds were split between INSP and summit hosts Big Issue North, kicked off at 7pm on the summit’s final day, with delegates packing in after a day of more inspiring discussions and activities to join the sold out crowd.

Frank Turner plays to a sold out crowd at Manchester's O2 Ritz. Credit: Wendy Keogh.

Before Turner took to the stage, Bolton four piece Our Fold wowed the crowd with their brand of hard, Oasis inspired rock, closing their set with a krautrock instrumental jam.

They were followed by the campy, over-the-top fun of Felix Hagan and the Family. Clad in glitter and spangled gold tights, Hagan and his band moved from unexpected genre to unexpected genre, amazingly crossing hard rock – akin to the Foo Fighters – with musical theatre. Dave Hamilton, the creative director at Chicago street paper StreetWise, was enamoured with their style, describing it to the INSP team after the show as “like being at the Rocky Horror Picture Show”.

In between bands, Manchester music veteran, and member of Inspiral Carpets, Clint Boon, egged on the crowd and kept the party going throughout the night by DJing a mix of Manchester classics.

At the back of the venue, specially made, limited edition t-shirts, badges and other merchandise were snapped up by the crowd, with all money raised going towards Big Issue North.

Finally, Turner took to the stage, to an electric atmosphere, accompanied only by his guitar, and ripped through a set of popular tunes, such as ‘The Way I Tend to Be’ and ‘Recovery’, to the utter adulation of the crowd. Every song was met by cheers and every audience member knew every word.

Frank Turner surfs the crowd during his headline slot at Street Noise. Credit: Wendy Keogh.

In the downtime between tunes, Turner took the opportunity to talk about the reason why everyone was gathered for this fundraising gig.

He said: “I’m sure that everyone is aware that homelessness is a problem in our wealthy capitalist society. We should have the means and the ability to do something about this issue.

“It may be one of those things you know about, but let it slip out of your mind. We walk past people on the street and we don’t do anything about it. But for those people sleeping on the streets, the problem doesn’t just disappear when you walk past them.

“Let’s try and make a change, and try to find ways to be active and to make the world a better, more just and more honest place. If we can get together to sing dark songs in dark rooms, then we can get together to help people out.”

Delegates who attended the show, as well as Frank Turner fans, took to social media to express their excitement.

Frank Turner plays with Felix Hagan and the Family during an encore. Credit: Wendy Keogh.

After holding the attention of the crowd for over an hour, Turner returned for an encore, backed by Felix Hagan and the Family, performing covers of Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, Green Day’s ‘Basket Case’ and Felix Hagan’s own ‘Four Simple Words’. During the latter, Turner crowd surfed and led audience members in a waltz.

It was a fitting end to the 2017 Global Street Paper Summit. Delegates have had the opportunity to learn about Manchester’s social history, it’s approaches to issues of homelessness and drug use, and now they have experienced a slice of the city’s famous nightlife and music scene.