I am the drummer for a band from La Crosse, WI, USA. We are currently planning our move to England for personal and career reasons. I would welcome any information on finding a house for the five of us, which music scenes in England welcome different music, particular city choices, and any other cultural help with the move. Thanks.
You've not given us much to go on there but I would say that any of the big cities, London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol etc. all have loads of opportunities for every type of music and probably offer the widest variety in terms of employment depending on what skills you guys all have. Short-term i would go through an agency although i'm not sure what restrictions there might be with visas and work - would you have to have a job before coming over here and stuff like that? Best place to check is the foreign and commonwealth office website, www.fco.com, as they'll have all the practical and legal info.
I'm a tad biased as im at uni here but Brighton is famously cosmopolitan - extremely diverse music scene from goths to hard house to r'n'b and a beach as a bonus. Downside to this, Brighton, London and anywhere south really is that it's EXTORTIONATELY expensive to live here.
If you guys are on a budget i'd definitely advise looking north, i.e Manchester, Liverpool, Nottingham, Newcastle etc. as it is soooooo much cheaper but they're also cool cities. Despite the traditional jovial enmity between southern 'snobs' and northern 'commoners' the city centres have all had huge revamps and can definitely rival the capital plus they've all got their own independent scenes.
London is of course the biggest and its always exciting (but stressful, dirty and dodgy in places) but if your musical taste is quite eclectic then you might be more likely to find fellow fans there i suppose?!
If you're targetting somewhere primarily for music then i'd look on a site for bands like yours and ask for fans based in certain areas as a start..
Great response from Lex. Let's see if I can add to it. Firstly accommodation. Keep in mind that it is very difficult to show up and find a house to rent unless you have a job first. You CAN find the odd place that doesn't care whether you're employed but it is rare. You might find this difficult especially since you're all muscians. If you are going to work here in other jobs while you build your band rep here best to tell them that THAT is your career. I am a professional actor who moved here from Canada 3 1/2 years and I had enough to live off of for 6 months and had proof and landlords still didn't care. Why rent to an actor when you can rent the house tomorrow to a city worker. I was refused everywhere when I said I was an actor. I even had a casting agent interested in me at the time. So, I started temping as soon as possible and told them I worked at that company and it was okay. I have been acting in the west end of London for the past couple of years now and I still have hard sometimes sometimes when I move. So, be warned. Another thing a bit different to America is that they rent houses by the week. That does not mean you can rent it for a week only it means times the amount by 52 and then devide by 12 and you will get your monthly rent. Go into some estate agents websites and you will see what houses go for. I would think a house in zone 3/4 with 5 beds would be around £1500 per month. Remember then you have about £30-£50 travel cost on top if you work in the centre of London. You will also pay council tax (everyone has to) and I am guessing about £100 per month? Wages. If you are working in a shop you will make £5.90-6.90 per hour. If you have admin skills you will make £7-8/hr out of the city and about £10/hr. in the city. You wkill get less pay in the other cities but rent will be way cheaper too. Banks can be a pain too. They tend to like you to be here for 6 months before they will open an account for you which is rediculous becasue you need a bank account to get paid by most temp agencies. Try Barclays they were the only ones to give me an account (again despite the fact the other banks new I was transferring a chunck of money. Also, DO make sure you have working visas - you won't get by without one.
Lex, was right, London is extremely expensive. I make really decent money and I never seem to have any. If you want to focus on your career and don't want to have to work 40 hours a week on top then London perhaps isn't for you. I don't want to scare you BUT it is a really difficult place to learn to live, esecially if you are from North America because we are so spoiled there. But London can be great obviously. If you have enough to gain (as in my case) you can be really happy here too but it isn't easy at first. Brighton is lovely and has a lot to offer music wise. I think the advise is good to check out these other cities such as Birmingham and Manchester etc. You might have better luck and can always make your way to London eventually and might have less chance of getting discouraged.
Make sure your band has a really good quality demo and professional photos would not hurt either. I should think you could do a fair amount of leg work before you come. Once you're here, hit the bars. If you have a professional package they will look at it. The crap ones go in the bin.
Check out www.Loot.co.uk it is a must for property searching. It will give you an idea of cost first off.
Best of luck!!!!!!!