I'm hoping to move to Europe within the next couple of years. As of right now I live in California and at that time I'll be 18 or 19 years old.
I'm a musician, and would like to find the best place to go for music. I play rock and blues. I would like to play sessions as well. Would anyone happen to know what it's like as a session musician in England? Here in the States it's a pretty tough business to get into.
I've heard that Europe is known for having excellent DJs. I go to raves often, and I was wondering if there was a prime spot for these events.
It's a tough world out there looking for a break as a session musician, isn't it ?
However, you will find much more opportunity towards the North of England than in the South of the country.
Music in the UK is much divided depending on what you really want to achieve. All the young dreamers think of talent shows in London and getting that break as the one in a million. The clubs in London are really not into music with up and coming musicians. It's more a place for who you know, rather that what you can play. Night clubs in the South are generally OK, but they don't rock anything like the northern venues.
Session musicians are mostly up north in the clubs and bars that specialise in music nights rather than live football, pool matches etc.
The best city in England for music venues is Sheffield. There are no ifs and buts about it. I don't live there, so it's nothing to do with pride or my home location. Whether it's a rave you're looking for, that you speak about, or playing in a small band you'll find it all in Sheffield. It's not the greatest city in the country for work, although it is a very industrial and commercial region of England.
There are some very good summer festivals where you can find good second to none dance gigs going on. 'Global Gathering' in July is just mad. It's just two days of pure dance.. Full on. 2009 performers included The Prodigy, Orbital and many famous DJ's.
For one nighters, it has to be Wigan. One of the prime nightspots for allnighter gigs in the UK and much much cheaper and better than anything you'll find in London. The last Saturday of the month is usually reserved for 'Old Skool' nights in the area. The doors open at around 9pm and close around 7am.
One final tip on session players.. There are a couple of small recording studios at The Albert Dock in Liverpool where you can record your work for promotion. It's a little expensive to do if you don't have any sponsorship, but they are amongst the best independent producers in the country. The studios also have managerial contacts on site that you can get in touch with who, if you're up to what they are looking for, will help you get heard and noticed.
I would like to add two things to what BeduinLeo wrote.
1) Dreaming of moving to Europe and actually doing it are two things.
When I was your age I dreamt about moving to the USA and studying tourism. I had never been to the USA and the only time I had seen a hotel from the inside was as a guest at a wedding reception. Yet I was sure that this what I wanted to do. Then in the summer hols before my last year of highschool I did a 3-month internship in a resort in the USA through an exchange program. This cured me of any notions of ever moving to the USA fulltime. Don't get me wrong, I had a blast during those 3 months - but after 3 months living in the USA I knew the country was not for me. It also gave me a very clear idea what it meant to be the manager in a resort, this dampened my enthusiasm for studying tourism quite a bit.
2) Unless you hold EU citizenship by way of descent you will need a work and residency permit to live and work in the UK. A US-American citizen cannot just move to Europe as s/he would move from California to New York - no, you need to have the necessary paperwork. You have to apply at the embassy or consulate of the UK closest to you for a visa that allows you to immigrate to the UK. I suggest you read the current immigration rules for artists.
Yes - I totally agree with everything t_maia says in the post above. I never go into the visa and permit thing as I'm sure people that are thinking of making such a big step as yourself, would know to check out all the legal stuff, without leaving a single stone unturned, before entering into not only a new country, but also continent. There are many websites (including the links that t_maia has put up) that will assist you in finding out all the 'cans and cannots' for foreigners wishing to resettle elsewhere.
The barriers still exist within EU member states as well, for EU members. For example people from the UK cannot work without a permit in Bulgaria and Romania and it works the other way round as well for them in the UK, unless they are self employed, or get a recognosed permit for employment in advance. The only way round it, is to work self-employed and set up your own company. It takes time and is expensive usually.
However, I wish you all the best and if you do get in to do some session work, let me know.