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Worker Bee: meet Ed Blaney, the musician and founder of Salford Music Festival

Musician Ed Blaney on Mark E Smith, Neil Diamond and birdwatching

Ed Blaney grew up close to the old Salford Market and began working in music aged 27 and is just as hungry as he was when he started. The former member and manager of The Fall is the organiser of Salford Music Festival and is about to release his band’s third studio album which was recorded over in Berlin. 51 year old Ed is a proud father to five ‘amazing now fully grown-up’ kids and recently became a grandad. 

What got you started in your field of work?

“I’d been in trouble a lot as a kid and got off to the wrong start but always wanted to sing and be in a band but never found the confidence until later on. Since I was four years old, I kinda knew one day I’d do it and to be honest it was something Bez once said to me in the Hacienda that really made me get into it proper.”

Who have been the biggest influences on your work?

“I’m a massive fan of Bob Dylan and equally Neil Diamond, both are brilliant songwriters. My late father loved Neil Diamond and every weekend he’d be playing him full blast with the windows wide open. It was pretty common in the 70s and early 80s, definitely had a massive influence on my career and both have resonated with me over the years and also helped me through some difficult times.”

What is your proudest achievement so far?

“Being current now, I suppose, and living very much here in the present. I’ve always said “you’re only as good as your last gig“. My new single Othello is causing a bit of stir in a few circles. I have already achieved so much and done pretty much everything you’d wanna do in relation to playing in a band and touring etc all over the world, so yeah these days now are the most exciting and challenging.”

What does your typical day involve?

“I like to get up early, check my emails and get everything done by 11am. I’ve always had this thing about it. Even when I did the markets, I’d be done and sold out by 11am, then I like to mooch about charity shops and different places buying interesting things, from antiques to modern art and collectible stuff.”

And how do you relax on your days off?

“I struggle to be honest if I’m not doing things. I like to be busy, not too busy but there’s nothing worse than doing nothing to me. I enjoy going out in my camper when the weather permits. It’s amazing just pulling over somewhere and chilling with a brew and cooking some nice food.”

What is the best advice you have been given or can give?

Mark E Smith’s last words to me were, ‘Ed, I value you a lot, you are a true friend, but stop letting people take the piss out of your kindness’. That’s always stuck with me. My advice would be: do what you love, do things your way, trust who you trust and swerve who you don’t.”

Montecruz Foto (cropped)

If things hadn’t worked out, what else could you have seen yourself doing?

“I’ve only ever had two proper jobs in my life. Had I not been in trouble so much as a kid maybe I’d have probably played football professionally but I’d settle for what I do now any day. A job is a job but you gotta love what you do I suppose.”

Tell us one thing about yourself people might be surprised to hear

“As a kid I was an avid bird watcher with binoculars and all the best bird books. I used to save little chicks and injured birds.”

Red or Blue?

“One million percent Red.”

If you could change one thing about Manchester, what would it be?

“I’d stop all the new builds – it’s killing or already has killed the great spirit it once was so great for. You’d go up town and always bump into someone you knew. Now that’s pretty rare and almost alien-like.”

And finally, what do you love most about Manchester?

“The old places and old pubs and all the real Manchester characters that exist. We have the best football teams, make the best music and have the best club history second to none. People are one of a kind, despite the rain. The dry wit you inherit is priceless.”

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