Salford is a local government district. In 2010, it was the most unequal urban district in England and Wales. Its drum shops are a symbol of rural communities, an indication that they have been left behind and it was only by becoming an integral part of the town that they could sustain themselves. And not just drum shops: this was a city’s problem in 2007, a serious problem.
Today, it is a more integrated part of English society. There is a thriving art scene and shops still have a distinctive taste in dance. When the drum shops were closed, that culture would have been lost. It is easy to dismiss the drum shops as being somehow anti-local and anti-English; in fact, they have been instrumental in helping to establish many, many local communities in the city. It was a decision that took far more than one city to enact and to protect.
But now, drum shops are being such kind of success especially for jazz drum set. It is a matter of pride for a city to have two drum shops, and to be able to use two different styles of music to create this difference.
The two drum shops are both at the back end of the town square. In the center of town, the most successful neighborhood of these two houses is, by its very nature, a commercial area where, in some years, this can be a very attractive selling place for shops, and where there is also a very active area of the city for retail. Those two drum shops have taken this to the next level and are also part of a broader regeneration process that is bringing many shops out of their commercial areas, and building a much bigger space for people to live and work and create in.
The two drum shops share a common history in English history. Both were started by drummers themselves. Drumming was an important part of English life through at least the 15th century. But as the world changed, it was also increasingly associated with culture and with the arts, especially in the city, and drumming, and the music on its instrument, fell out of favour.
Especially in Salford, drum stores are part of a wider regeneration project, as part of a wider economic revitalisation of the area. With the shops to the side of the shop, the shops go back to where they were born. The old Drum Shop on the corner has been transformed to a shopping centre with very many shops on the same page, which creates a lot of diversity, diversity within the local shops, the neighbourhood.
The three Drum Shop on the other side of town has been changed to the three drum shops, the main market being right next to the two drum shop on the corner. Drumming still gets some attention in the neighbourhood as part of the history of Drumming, but it is often more of a cultural element. It is a different experience from what you might normally have at a pub, where everyone has a small section in front of them and you are in a crowd with a bar, there’s nothing on the bar behind them and there’s not the crowd going back and forth between you. You are on your own, making an noise, creating music on your own. But at the Drum Shop, you’re not, you’re in a group that’s together. Like the Drum Shop on the other side of town, it has a different atmosphere, there’s not a bunch of drummers and then everybody leaves after a show.
There’s a lot of people in there going through. And I think there’s even an older people’s market going back to the middle of town because there’s a lot of hipsters and old folks out there and it’s very cool to do this without being pushed out of your comfort zone by people you don’t know very well. It’s like that.