• Liam Machin

Spotlight Festival: A Truly Special Musical Valentines

Jaime Flores Suarez is on a mission to bring back live music to masses through the brilliant Spotlight Festival.

For the first time in almost a year, Moth Club in Hackney will see four live acts perform in a new live streamed event showcasing London-based independent artists.

The project has seen support from local businesses including Goose Island Shoreditch who are raising money for the charity Help Musicians as well as feature four upcoming artists, including Malady who we picked out in our Eyes on for 2021 feature.

However the festival's journey starts over 5,000 miles away in Guadalajara, Mexico after the pandemic forced founder Jamie to move back home temporarily.

“I study in London but in Mexico I used to work at a radio station so when I flew back home, I was offered the opportunity to jump on a slot and I decided to put the ‘spotlight’ on up and coming artists,” explained Jaime.

“Initially this was going to be a physical festival but obviously that isn’t possible at the moment and when my uncle texted through the idea of a live streamed event, after some encouragement from my mum, I thought why not give it a go?!”

With the third lockdown coming into effect in November, things got a bit sketchy after one band from Bristol had to pull out due to the travel restrictions.

Jaime said: “There were points when I seriously worried that we couldn't even host a live streamed event! Having spoken to all the guys performing, I didn’t want to let them down as they were just so excited to be back at a venue, playing music.

“Two of the original bands pulled out in December, the venue was asking if this was still good to go ahead and it was a little nerve racking but I invited Bamily, a band that I had interviewed in the past and thankfully they were raring to go so everything was back on track.

The event will have all safety precautions securely in place, abiding by the regulations set out by the government, and despite the rocky outlook at points Spotlight Festival is set for a Valentines date.

The Sponsors

Goose Island is one of the lead sponsors of the event after an ‘in-desperate-need-of-alcohol-mid-lockdown’ trip to the bar in Shoreditch led to yet another brilliant collaboration between beer and music.

Jaime spoke highly of the bar and for their support throughout the buildup, including the launch of a special 'Spotlight IPA' brew of which all profits will go to the charity Help Musicians.

Furthermore, all ticket holders will be sent a 10% off code to use across Goose Island’s web shop, as well as 10% off the exclusively brewed beer, ‘Spotlight’, available direct from the Goose Island London Brewpub.

In an email to ShinGig, Goose Island European Brand Manager, Fred Nesbitt, praised Jamie’s efforts in revitalising the music industry and spoke of his joy in supporting such a positive project.

“At Goose Island we’ve always worked with our local community in our hometown of Chicago, and we’re proud to continue that tradition for our London backyard as well.”

“Beer and music have the amazing effect of bringing people together, whether it’s at your local, at a gig or at home.

“The arts are so important, especially now for the positive effect they have on so many people and communities throughout lockdown - we should celebrate them as well as supporting artists.”

There’s also strong support for the event from the London-based scratch bakery Crosstown.

The Lineup

Jaime has single handedly managed to pull together an international lineup featuring some superb emerging artists such as Malady, Bamily, Attawalpa and Stella Talpo.

Check out the artists performing on the night below...

Jaime concluded: “It’s the entertainment and artistic industries that have kept us going. Whether we’re watching movies, TV shows, reading books, listening to music, playing video games - these are the things that have kept us sane!

“Spotlight is a passion project that I’m super proud to be able to run despite the ongoing circumstances. I hope it can bring some joy for people and get everyone excited for the return of live music!”

If like me, you’re going to be even more bored and lonely this Valentine's, why not consider tuning in? Tickets are £10 per person with the event being streamed exclusively on Bandcamp, starting at 7.30pm.