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issue 195 April 2016 UK ÂŁ6.25

Blast with the past The 1975 take it up to arenas

Law change helps small venues Ticket fraud up 55 per cent Committed to the unsigned and emerging live sector see pages 14-17

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contents I 3


issue 195

4-12 News

20-24 Sector Focus Audio Hire

The business of live music

8 Forthcoming Events

Reviewing a vital business sector driving the live music industry

Key industry gatherings

27-28 Production News

14-15 NXT News

Developments in technology and show production

Business activity in the unsigned and emerging artiste sector

31-34 City Limits Edinburgh 16-17 NXT Feature Keeping Track Of The Money A look at the people and venues Indie promoters offer guidance on behind live music in the city building artiste’s live careers

15-17 NXT Profiles Insight from venue operators, artiste managers and A&R executives

18-19 Festival News The business of festivals, with a festival founder profile

34-37 Tour Plans Artistes, their agents and tour periods

38 Backstage Stars

Interviews with the key people who shape the industry



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April 2016 • Issue 195 •

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Newsbites THE BRIT Awards was live streamed on YouTube to more than a million viewers outside of the UK, spread across 32 countries. The MasterCard sponsored, twohours-and-twenty minutes ITV programme, which took place took place at London’s The O2 on 24 February, was most watched on YouTube outside the UK in the US and Brazil, accounting for 24 per cent of viewers, while the average streaming time was 26 minutes. The audio of the performances are also available to download and stream on Google Play Music. KILIMANJARO LIVE has appointed new promoters Rhea Taylor and Georgie Donnelly. Taylor, who will be working across the post punk, garage, rock, alt-pop and soul genres, joins from Live Nation Entertainment-owned MAMA & Company, where she booked London venues including The Barfly (cap. 200) and Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen (450). Donnelly is a comedy promoter with more than six years experience, and will work on the company’s comedy and spoken word events. THE ENTERTAINMENT Agents’ Association (TAA) and event organiser Champions have announced details of this year’s National Tribute Music Awards. Sponsored by TAA, the ceremony takes place on 29 June at Leicester’s Athena (cap. 1,500). Categories include the best male and female tributes, the best band and best agent. Interested parties have until 15 May to register nominations. Tickets for the event are yet to be released.

Planning change gives venues more protection A CHANGE to planning law means developers converting commercial property into residential will have to take into consideration the potential of noise issues from existing businesses in the area, such as music venues. From 6 April, local Jo Dipple authorities will need to examine whether such developments have taken sufficient steps to mitigate potential noise complaints by new residents, which can threaten a venue’s licence. The amendment relates to Class O developments under the Town and Country Planning Act. “Our new measures will help to protect well-established music venues by ensuring that before residents move into new housing alongside such venues, local authorities can ensure appropriate noise mitigation measures are in place,” a DCLG spokesman tells LIVE UK. The move is being hailed as a victory by groups such as UK Music, Music Venue Trust (MVT) and Musicians’ Union (MU). lobbying to protect music venues. The change was also confirmed in a letter to UK Music CEO Jo Dipple and co-signed by the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Brandon Lewis MP, minister for housing and planning and James Wharton MP, minister for local growth. “This is a positive measure which will ensure that where the right [to develop] is delivering much needed new homes, local authorities are able to protect wellestablished music venues from having unreasonable restrictions placed on their operations,” says the letter.

Production News April 2016 • Issue 195 •

See pages 27-28

Chris Sharp

“A developer will be required to seek prior approval from the local planning authority in relation to the noise impacts on new residents, before a change of use from office to residential can be carried out under permitted development. It will in effect allow local authorities to take account of national planning policy and guidance on noise, in a similar way to a planning application, as well as any material concerns raised by owners of music venues in relation to noise.” The letter also confirms that local chief planning officers will be notified of the change and reminded of national planning guidance on noise. UK Music CEO Jo Dipple says, “If these new regulations have the desired effect, The Fleece grassroots venues around the UK will have additional powers to help them survive and prosper.” MVT’s Mark Davyd adds, “There is more work to be done, but this is a precedent that means a venue operator has a valid point to push back to the councils.” One such operator who has been

lobbying for change is Chris Sharp of The Fleece (cap. 450) in Bristol, with the ministers’ letter also copied to him. He has concerns about the potential impact of commercial-to-residential conversions taking place adjacent to and opposite his venue. “The irony of this situation is that it’s the venue which was at the forefront of campaigning to get the planning laws changed, which has been left unprotected,” he says. “The two developments affecting us have already been granted planning permission,” says Sharp. “We haven’t had a noise complaint for 34 years and have installed extra sound-proofing. The developer next door is talking to us, but the one opposite is not.”

The Fleece has a 2am licence extended to 4am Thursday-Saturday, with live music events followed by club nights on Fridays and Saturdays. It also has an outside smoking area. The change does not cover new build residential developments, only the conversion of existing commercial premises.

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Online ticket fraud up by 55 per cent FIGURES RELEASED by the City of London Police (CLP) and Government-backed organisation Get Safe Online (GSO) showing that incidents of online ticket fraud rose by 55 per cent last year, have been described by a ticketing security expert as “just the tip of the iceberg”. According to the data, online ticket scams cost the public £5.2 million in 2015, with around 15 per cent involving concerts and festivals and more than a quarter related to major sporting events such as the Rugby World Cup. But Reg Walker of The Iridium Consultancy says the real figures for online ticket fraud related to music events are at least 10 times that. He says many people either get a refund from the website or their bank, or cannot be bothered to report the crime to police. “We had 209 people with fake tickets turn up for a Beyoncé concert on one night alone and only 18 reported the crime to police,” he says. “Once they get their money back from platforms such as Seatwave or Viagogo, or their bank if they

Sector Focus

used a credit card, many don’t see the point of telling the police. “Ticket fraud is massively under-reported, probably by at least 10 to one,” says Walker. “These figures are just the tip of the iceberg.” The CLP and GSO report also shows that those most at risk of buying fake or non-existent tickets are aged between 20-29 (28 per cent) followed by 30-39 and 40- to 49-year-olds (at 23 per cent for each age group).

“These figures are the tip of the iceberg” Reg Walker

The report also showed that 21 per cent of ticket fraud was instigated via Facebook, six per cent on Twitter and 22 per cent on Gumtree. “Criminals have captured a market of fans who will do anything to get a ticket, which makes

festivals, concerts and big sporting events a prime target for fraud,” says GSO CEO Tony Neate. “If people really want to get tickets to one of the big summer festivals, it can be Tony Neate really tempting to try and get them from all kinds of places other than the official websites. Unfortunately, the nature of ticket fraud means the higher the demand for an event, the higher number of potential victims the fraudsters can target. “Often ticket prices are ramped right up, so the public risks losing a lot of money if they turn out to be fake or don’t exist,” he says. “Likewise, if the price seems too good to be true, it’s quite likely that they are being scammed.” GSO urges music fans to only buy from official primary ticket outlets and anyone who has been ripped-off should report the crime to Action Fraud.

See pages 20-24

Back to the future THE 1975 seem to have navigated the tricky second album waters well, scoring a No 1 in five countries, including the UK and US. Alongside the rising trajectory of their recorded success have been increasingly bigger live dates, having already sold out four nights at Glasgow’s O2 Academy COVER ARTISTE (cap. 2,500), two at O2 Apollo Manchester (3,500) and one at Dublin’s 3Arena (14,000). The Cheshire band now head to Europe to play venues including Germany’s Sporthalle Hamburg (7,000), Norway’s Oslo Spektrum (8,700), Bank Austria Halle (3,500) in Vienna and Italy’s Fabrique (3,000) in Milan. Then North American dates will include the Coachella (90,000) festival in California, concerts at Shrine Auditorium (6,300) in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara Bowl (4,562), Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre (7,200) in Vancouver and WaMu Theatre (7,000) in Seattle. “The 1975 are one of the hardest working bands I have ever known,” says Matt Bates, the band’s agent at Primary Talent International. “They’re about to be a huge global act who have written massive songs, marketed themselves superbly and worked their socks off. They are a glowing example to any new band of what it takes in the modern market to achieve success worldwide.” The band’s manager is Jamie Oborne at All On Red Management in London.

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April 2016 • Issue 195 •

6 I news

Protests fail to halt Fairfield Halls closure CROYDON’S FAIRFIELD Halls (cap. 1,750) will close on 15 July, for a twoyear closure to allow £30 million of refurbishment, owner Croydon Council has announced. The plans are part of a wider, £750m regeneration of parts of the town, which will see a revitalised Fairfield Halls and a new purposebuilt college. The council has promised new technical equipment, bar areas, roof-top seating and dining space. However, opponents of the plan fear the venue may not reopen or

the venues will be sold off to a private company. The Halls’ incumbent operating company Fairfield Croydon has also opposed the closure, preferring that the work was completed in phases and an online petition opposing the closure plan has attracted more than 9,000 signatures Croydon Council claims phased work would be too expensive, hence its decision for full closure. Fairfield Croydon CEO Simon Thomsett still hopes he can convince the council to change its mind,

fearing the venue may never open again if forced to close for such a long period. “We have suggested the phased work, but they are not going for it, although it’s still an argument worth making” he tells LIVE UK. “For our part, we have to make sure a version of our operating company exists, maybe putting shows on at other venues in the borough. On a personal level I am looking at other South London music projects.” Upcoming Fairfield Halls shows

feature Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr Feelgood, Little jimmy Reed and Bob Hall. The last show will be a comedy performance by Jimmy Carr on 9 July, with the last musical act, Christian singer Noel Robinson, on 18 June. Meanwhile, the council has announced the appointment of new creative director Paula Murray to oversee the refurbishment, on an initial six-month secondment. Murray previously oversaw a revamp of Brighton’s Royal Pavilion.

Court backs George appeal THE LANDLADY of 150-capacity The George Tavern in East London’s has told LIVE UK of her surprise and joy after a court granted her the right to appeal against development plans threatening the venue. Pauline Forster feared her battle with Swan Housing was over after an initial appeal against the planning decision to allow flats to be built next to the 600-year old, Grade II listed building was turned down by the High Court. But the Save The George campaign was handed a lifeline at an oral hearing at the Old Bailey last month. “I’ve been battling Swan Housing for nine years and I really thought it was the end of the road, to be honest,” says Forster. “I am overjoyed because the court showed sympathy to what’s going on, with licensing regulations making it almost impossible for music venues to survive when planning permission is granted near by.” The fight now returns to the Court of Appeal, and has become a test case for venues

concerned about nearby developments. “We’re in a much better position to appeal now, because if they reject our appeal they will be rejecting the court’s decision,” she adds. “If we win, it change the whole way the local authorities look at the plight of live music venues.” The George Tavern was represented by Annabel Graham Paul of Francis Taylor Building and Harry Campbell of Richard Buxton Environmental and Public Law. “At the moment the law is failing licensed operators,” says Paul. “Local authorities are confused about the relationship between planning and licensing decisions, and I’m pleased that the Court of Appeal has recognised it needs to examine this”. The George has hosted acts such as Nick Cave, Plan B, John Cooper Clarke, The Magic Numbers, Kodaline and Sir Roger Penrose. Future performances feature Will Black and Slow Falling Sun. A date for an appeal hearing is yet to be set. Swan Housing declined to comment.


EASTBOURNE f: /eastbournegoeslive @EBGoesLive April 2016 • Issue 195 •

hastings brighton

The George Tavern

Clarification LIVE UK would like to clarify a few points in its story Touts exploit cancer benefit shows at Royal Albert Hall, in issue 194. Ticket prices for The Teenage Cancer Trust concerts range from £25 to £110. Meanwhile, the venue says the exact number of privately-owned members’ seats is 1,276 and the Hall’s Ticket Return System has been in place since the late 1970s.

Capacity: 1800 standing / 800 seated Hire: £2500 - includes Full box office, Marketing, Production, Distribution support; PA, Lights, Barrier, Crew, Runner, Technical staff and a manager on the day of the event. Full in-house concert PA and lights Access to South East coast database Large capacity but intimate, historic setting Developed live music audience; highest growth in a youth market along the south coast Past acts include: The Vaccines, Beirut, Animal Collective, Blur The Maccabees, Friendly Fires, Keane, Example dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip, St. Vincent Easy links between Brighton, London, Kent and rest of Sussex area

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Empire closure extended Echo partners with Radio City

O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

LONDON’S O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (cap. 2,000) will remain closed for a further month, with repair work to its roof extended to mid-April. The 112-year-old, Grade II listed building, was closed suddenly on 4 December, on the afternoon of a concert by The Courteeners, after structural problems were discovered during routine maintenance checks. The show was cancelled. An initial announcement said the Academy Music

Group-owned venue would remain closed until March while repairs were carried out, with concerts scheduled up to 31 March rescheduled or moved to other London venues. “We are sorry that these extended restoration works mean that further shows will either be moved to other venues in London or rescheduled as necessary,” reads a statement from the venue. Shows affected include Newton Faulker, promoted by Metropolis Music, which moves to the O2 Forum Kentish Town (2,350) on 18 April and Animal Collective, co-promoted by Eat Your Own Ears and Coda Agency, moving to Troxy (3,050) on 11 and 12 April.

Echo Arena

Tim Banfield

LIVERPOOL’S ECHO Arena (cap. 11,000) has signed a one-year deal making Radio City its official broadcast partner. Famous in Liverpool for its towering presence on the skyline, Radio City will work with the arena team on advertising and marketing as well as promotional activity around a selection of events. The station’s listeners will get the chance to win tickets to events that include concerts by Ellie Goulding, Little Mix, Rod Stewart and Elton John. “Radio City is Liverpool’s most vibrant and dynamic station which is going through some really exciting Radio City developments,” says Echo Arena commercial director Tim Banfield. “It is a perfect fit for the Arena.” The venue, which opened in 2008, will also host Radio City Christmas Live on 17 December, which last year featured Ben Haenow and Olly Murs. Tickets cost £22-79. The Liverpool Echo newspaper remains the waterfront venue’s naming sponsor.

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

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Forthcoming events 18 May Music Cities Brighton 19-21 May The Great Escape Festival Brighton 28-29 May Liverpool Sound and City Liverpool 08-09 Jun XPO North Scotland 09 Jun BVA Awards London 19-20 Oct The Showman’s Show Newbury

(L-R) Isle of Wight Festival team Lindsay Winton, Daniel Wavell, Annie Horne and founder John Giddings

THE ISLE of Wight Festival was presented with the Best Activity/Event of 2015 at the annual Visitor Attraction Association Awards, held in March at the Needles Landmark Attraction on the island. The award was voted for by the public following a survey of thousands of people at various localities on the island last summer. The 2015 festival featured acts such as Fleetwood Mac, Blur and The Prodigy. Headliners at this year’s 9-12 June event include The Who, Stereophonics, Queen + Adam Lambert and Faithless. April 2016 • Issue 195 •

Bataclan memories and industry’s top executive speaks candidly we’re going to create this LIVE NATION Entertainment president Michael Rapino discussing sec- environment where a lot of people are making money ondary ticketing and memories of except most of this room,” the terrorist atrocity at Le Bataclan he said, claiming that “50 (cap. 1,500) Paris were stand-out per cent of [tickets listed moments at the 28th International on rival] StubHub are spec Live Music Conference (ILMC). selling”, meaning purely The retro-computer gameILMC 28 - Salamon Herzot-Arnaud Meersseman-Steve speculative. themed convention, the largest the annual Arthur Awards were “You have to be part of the gathering of international promotSteve Tilley of Kilimanjaro Live market to find a solution. We’re not ers and agents in the world, took who won The Promoter’s Promoter going to let someone else place on 4-6 March at and London’s The O2 (cap. 20,000) corner the market while London’s Royal Garden which won First Venue To Come we stay pure,” he Hotel in Kensington. Into Your Head. told delegates. In his opening Q&A “We’ve had some great feedback In the session on Show session, Rapino defended Safety, a room packed with on panels and a lot of people have LNE’s activity in the delegates listened in stony told me they did some good busisecondary ticket market, ness, so we’re happy” says ILMC silence as survivors of Le through its Ticketmaster Michael Rapino director Greg Parmley. Bataclan outrage shared division’s ownership of Organisers say more than 1,000 their first-hand accounts of resale platforms Get Me the event, and wider security issues. delegates attended the event. In! and Seatwave, and said the A fuller review of the event Other conference sessions covindustry needed to get better at ered the emerging markets, perfor- will appear in our international “pricing the house”. sister publication Audience, out in mance royalties and sponsorship. “As long as we carry on believing mid-April. In the evening, among winners of the front row is worth $150 [£105],

Girl-power heads for Wide Days SCOTTISH MUSIC convention Wide Days has announced a female-heavy band showcase programme, with organisers aiming to address a perceived gender bias across the industry. Acts performing include Be Charlotte, Best Girl Athlete, Elle Exxe, The Van T’s, Tongues and Scumpulse. “We are really excited with the range of showcase acts, and we hope to inspire those festivals where the line-ups still consist of 10 blokes for every girl,” says organiser Olaf Furniss. Shows take place at Edinburgh city venues such as the Pleasance Theatre (cap. 320), La Belle Angele (550) and Electric Circus (250). Organisers have also revealed its first wave of

speakers which include Codruta Vulcu of Romania’s ARTmania and Glastonbury Festival booker Martin Elbourne for the event, which takes place on 22-23 April. Katch Holmes of world music festival Knockengorroch, Paul Cardow or Glasgow’s Stag & Dagger festival, Olaf Furniss Nick Roberts of Dumfries in Electric Fields and Claire O’Neill of eco-group A Greener Festival also contribute. Panel topics will include the rise of city-based festivals and how to make outdoor music events more environmentally-friendly. Two-day convention passes cost £80.

The House is still rocking PARLIAMENTARY music showcase Rock the House is open for submissions once again. Unsigned and emerging artistes and grassroots venues have until 1 May to enter via their constituency MP who ultimately nominates one entrant per competition category. Led by member of the Culture,

Media and Sport Select Committee Nigel Adams MP and Lord Tim Clement-Jones, chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Music, the contest engages more than 300 MPs and culminates in performances by the winners on the House of Parliament terrace. Further rewards include

recording sessions, equipment and show bookings. “Young bands are the lifeblood of music’s future success in the UK,” says Clement-Jones. “Through Rock the House we can encourage them and give public recognition to their talent.” See NXT News on pages 18-19.

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Bristol census says live music generates £123m for the city operators, musicians and INDUSTRY LOBBYING body UK audience members. Music has published a census of The team also used online the live music scene in Bristol, surveys and ticketing data in which half of the 94 venues held by UK Music to presenting live music that create its report. were surveyed said they Among its faced challenges from findings was that local developments, noise Colston Hall nearly a quarter of complaints or planning million to the Bristol economy last audiences travelled more regulations. year and supported 927 full-time than 10 miles to the city The research was jobs in the city. to watch a show, and 41 conducted by Teresa Of venues facing challenges, it per cent of people said Moore, at the time head of Teresa Moore names The Fleece (cap. 450) and they attended three or music and event manageThe Exchange (250), whose operamore shows per month. Of these, 32 ment of Buckinghamshire New per cent spent between £20 and £50 tors both fear potential problems University, who along with her from local building development. on tickets per month. students attended 23 of the venues Researchers would not reveal the The report calculates that live on 22 October, and conducted 232 names of other venues that felt music events contributed £123 interviews with venue owners and

O2 Academy

threatened, due to “a privacy agreement”, says Moore. Among the 23 venues visited were the O2 Academy (1,700), Colston Hall (1,886) and Motion (1,600). The research is the first project to be published through the Music Academic Partnership, set up by UK Music to try and build data on the live music industry.

Roundhouse coy on Half Moon campaign expansion rumours fails to win reprieve OWNERS OF the Roundhouse (cap. 3,118) in London have played down newspaper reports that it is looking to build a new venue in East London, on the site of derelict flour mills. The Evening Standard reports secret talks between the Roundhouse Trust and Roundhouse Silvertown Partnership (TSP), which is overseeing a £3.5 billion requests yet submitted. TSP would redevelopment of the Silvertown also not comment. The Roundhouse is a 169-year-old industrial docklands area. The alleged plans include a 2,500- former railway steam engine turning seat auditorium, with studio, func- shed reinvented as a music venue in tion rooms and a gallery inside a cur- 1966, following which acts such as rently empty Grade II listed grain silo. Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Blondie and The Standard quotes an anony- The Who played the venue. Future shows feature Flumes, mous source saying, “The idea is to create a Roundhouse East. At the Kodaline and James Morrison. Meanwhile, there are plans to moment east London has The O2 [20,000] for huge established acts build a new centre of excellence, a and lots of very small local venues, campus dedicated to the musical education of young people on the but nothing much in between.” A Roundhouse spokesman existing Chalk Farm site. The development will mark the declined to comment to LIVE UK, other than to laugh-off reports of a venue’s 50th year operating as an 2018 opening date, with no planning arts centre. April 2016 • Issue 195 •

A POP-UP music festival, protesting plans to scrap live music at The Half Moon in South-west London has failed to convince its new landlords. The pub, a Grade II* listed building in Herne Hill, has been closed since being damaged by floods in 2013, but is due to reopen after its landlords Dulwich Estate granted the lease to Fuller’s brewery. Despite having a live music heritage which includes performances by Frank Sinatra, U2, Eric Clapton, and The Police, Fullers says live music is not economically viable and is planning to turn the stage area into a new kitchen. A petition to London Mayor Boris Johnson has attracted more than 7,000 signatures, and a free festival on 5 March in neighbouring Station Square was a final attempt to halt the plans. Hosted by comedian Jo Brand, it had a line-up including DJ Food, O’Connell & Love from Alabama 3, and a range of local acts. However, a spokesman for the

The Half Moon

brewery’s premises owning company Fuller, Smith & Turner tells LIVE UK, “Our aim is to create a wonderful pub that the local community can be proud of for many years to come. There has been a lot of focus on live music – and we do understand that there are some in the local community who feel that the pub should bring back live music in dedicated surroundings. “However, we do not believe that the pub is economically viable with a strong focus on live music and we are not experts in late night entertainment.” The company says the pub is due to re-open “later this year”, but would not specify a date.

news I 11

Sound changes at Paper dress tailorGenting Arena made for music

Genting Arena

BIRMINGHAM’S 15,685-capacity Genting Arena has introduced a new hearing assistance system, for hearing-impaired music fans. The system uses a radio frequency which allows customers to book a headset, or pre-book facilities to receive sound direct into their telecoil hearing aid, to boost their hearing in any of the venue’s seats. It replaces older infra-red and induction loop systems that use numerous emitters on the roofs of venues. “This is the latest in a long line of improvements we have made to ensure all our customers have the best possible experience at the venue,” says Genting Arena general manager Guy Dunstan. Originally opened as NEC Arena in 1980, the Arena has upcoming shows with Nickleback, The Vamps, 5 Seconds of Summer, Il Divo and Busted.

HALF CLOTHES shop, half live music venue Paper Dress Vintage (cap. 100) in East London’s Hackney is attracting bigger artistes than its diminutive size might suggest. The shop/venue is run by Hannah Turner Voakes with her partner Steve Dix, also manager of bands such as Public Service Broadcasting, Flamingods and Tara Priya, for Liquid Management. The venture, which started in Shoreditch in 2007 and relocated to Hackney last summer, is already working with Live Nation Entertainment, AEG Live’s Goldenvoice division, Robomagic Live and Kilimanjaro Live, with Dix keen for promoter involvement. “We are working with some big established names, but at the same time there are some really eager young promoters who are putting on shows and want to establish a career in music,” says Dix. “We are filling that 100-capacity space, important for growing fanbases. Some of our acts can fill much bigger venues but we offer something unique.” Upcoming shows include a four-day residency by Slow Club, Animal Noise and Sample Answer. The venue also self-promotes nights with local acts where audiences can pay what they want, encouraging more people to support live music in their community. The clothes shop stays open during shows.

Newsbite THE MUSIC Venues Trust (MVT) which seeks to mobilise grassroots music venues to act collectively, has announced three new events outside of London. Delivered in partnership with UK Music and supported by Arts Council England, they will take place at Manchester’s Band On The Wall (cap. 350) on 6 April, The Cookie (350) in Leicester on 13 April and Bristol’s The Exchange (250) on 14 April. “It is important for us to demonstrate that we are a UK-wide organisation so these regional meetings are the first part of a programme of MVT travelling around to talk to venues rather than expecting them to journey to London,” says MVT’s Beverley Whitrick. Delegate passes are free to venue stakeholders. MVT’s annual Venues Day will take place on 18 October at London’s Roundhouse.

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

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Pop quiz for BPI Australian Bolt

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

worrying decline in the number of small venues that groups in particular rely on to learn their craft and build their fan-bases.” He says BPI representatives have since met with lobby groups Music Venue Trust and UK Music to discuss the theory that the rise of pop and decline of smaller venues may be linked. The organisation’s analysis of the top 1,000 selling artiste albums of last year, using Official Charts Company data, show Adele and Ed Sheeran – who both worked their way up from bars and clubs, along with Sam Smith, helped solo acts outperform music groups, for a seventh consecutive year. This is in stark contrast to 2005, when groups were at their most popular. The biggest selling group last year was Coldplay with new album A Head Full Of Dreams.

joins Bridgewater

SMG EUROPE has appointed Andrew Bolt, former general manager of Australia’s Perth Concert Hall (cap. 1,200), as CEO of The Bridgewater Hall (2,300) in Manchester. Australian-born Bolt was general manager of Perth Concert Hall for 21 years and previously in the management of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for 13 years. Starting on 14 March, Bolt replaces the outgoing CEO Nick Reed, who left last December Bridgewater Hall to take up a new role with Birmingham’s Town Hall (1,100) and Symphony Hall (2,260). “Our vision for the Bridgewater Hall is to establish it as a leading international venue and we’re delighted to have secured an international talent to help us deliver this ambition,” says SMG Europe executive vicepresident John Sharkey. The SMG-managed venue is Manchester’s international concert with upcoming shows at the venue John Sharkey feature Gregory Porter, Tindersticks and Josh Groban. The SMG-managed venue is owned by independent charitable trust Manchester Concert Hall, on behalf of Manchester City Council. © Jan Chlebik

RECORD LABELS body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) suggests the rise of pop music artistes over rock produced by groups is down to a perceived lack of grassroots venues suitable for bands. Analysis by the organisation shows solo pop artistes currently hold 60 per cent market share, its highest for four years. BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor says a decline in smaller venues, which traditionally incubate rock acts, could be a facGeoff Taylor tor, alongside the rise of TV talent shows such as the X-Factor. “There may be any number of reasons why solo stars are currently outperforming groups, but certainly over the last few years pop has enjoyed a particularly fertile period,” says BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor. “BPI is concerned that the recent trend may be exacerbated by the

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Dedicated to the business people who drive the unsigned and emerging artiste sector, ensuring a future for the UK music industry

Commons people Clearer broader rock the house Focus on Wales “A panel of top industry executives Rock the House, the annual competition that gives grass-roots artists presides over choosing the finalists a chance to perform in the Houses of and winners, looking for acts with Parliament, is now accepting submis- good musical potential.” Adams adds that the competition, sions for this year’s event. Current MP sponsor Nigel Adams which will stop accepting applications says that the project, which is also on 1 May and judge finalists on 20 backed by major artists including Alice June, has already helped talented Cooper, Brian May and Rick Wakeman, acts find firmer footing within the was originally conceived as a platform music industry. “Collibus won the discretionary for making positive changes to rights for artists, but has since gone on to metal award in 2013, and have gone become a highly-anticipated yearly on to play festivals such as Download Festival (111,000) and Graspop event in its own right. “Rock The House began in 2010, and (45,000),” he says. “Due to their exceptional live talent was set up to primarily raise awareness of the importance of protecting they’ve earned a great reception since winning the award.” Intellectual Property Rights Artistes can enter among legislators and the themselves into one of five general public,” he says, competition categories: “but we decided to do it in a Under 19 Solo Artist; Over fun way that engages both 19 Solo Artist; Best Live new talent and industry Music Venue; Under 19 with Parliament.”; Band and Over 19 Band. Adams says that the Last year’s winners application process is a Nigel Adams MP included Mark Sullivan simple one – entrants need simply fill out a brief online application (Hitchin and Harpenden constituency) that sends samples of the artist’s music in the Over 19 Solo Artist category to their local constituency MP for and Mohawk Radio (Hazel Grove in the Over-19 consideration – and notes that a large constituency) Band category. number of acts are likely to apply. The event involved more than 300 “It’s now Parliament’s largest competition, with two thirds of all MPs making submissions from artistes and venues in their constituencies. MP’s taking part,” he says.

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

CONFERENCE AND showcase artistes need to take.” A particular new feature of festival Focus Wales (FW) has announced a slew of new artistes the event is introducing an added to the weekend’s line-up, international theme. “It’s the first time we’ve had a alongside additional keynote country of focus, and speakers and the in our mind a real step debut of an internaup,” says Thompson. tional theme. “This year will The live and be Canada and we conference sides of the have live showcase event are held on 12performances from 14 May across multiple acts such as Sonic venues in the Wrexham Unyon and Music area and attract up to Ontario, as well as a 5,500 people to the Neal Thompson panel on breaking showcase events. “It’s important to point out into the Canada music scene. “The whole Canadian angle that what we’re definitely not is a group of high-flyers talking has been invested in by the Welsh about areas of the industry Government, which has been that have little relevance to the fantastic in supporting us.” Thompson notes that the live emerging, DIY professionals,” says FW interactive coordinator Neal line-up otherwise does a good job of showing off new talent Thompson “We’re keen to make sure from across Wales, including that each day’s structure, and Castles, Tibet and Fleur de Lys. “As you might imagine we had the people speaking, will be completely appropriate for a to look through thousands of grass-roots crowd. So for instance submissions,” he says. “The choices really do represent on Thursday we’ll have the MMF [Music Managers Forum] taking the talent that’s spread across the over a day of the conference country and, as always, we’ve had and the likes of [Biffy Clyro co- to make tough decisions about manager] Paul Craig will be who’ll be playing, because there’s talking about the steps emerging been so much talent on offer.”

NXT news I 15

in association with

Getting a break in Scotland T IN the Park, the 85,000-capacity festival held in the grounds of Strathallan Castle, Perthshire, is offering emerging acts the chance to play at the event on its T Break stage. T-Break manager Claire Blackwood says that the initiative, which was founded by Tennent’s Lager in 1996, aims to help unsigned Scottish talent find bigger audiences. “Each year T Break gives 16 of Scotland’s upand-coming musicians the chance to play at the festival – acts need to be over 18, based in Scotland and recording original music,” she says. “Their submitted Soundcloud links will be assessed by a judging panel made up of leading

Scottish music industry professionals, including bookers, A&Rs, journalists, managers, music business academics and artistes.” Blackwood adds that those applying can be from any style, genre or format. “That variety is something that we actively encourage – year-on-year, T Break has been praised for the variety and eclectic nature of the line-up and this is something we are really proud of,” she says. “It reflects the variety and breadth of talent coming through Scotland’s unsigned music scene, which has included acts such as Biffy Clyro, The View, The LaFontaines, Hector Bizerk and Honeyblood.”

Fund-amental advice Help Musicians, the BPI [British THE UNSIGNED Guide has released Phonographic Industry], MusicTank a free 37-page booklet entitled The and Pledge Music.” Essential Guide to Music Funding, Dodgson says that alongside which has been created to help explanations of each funding option emerging artistes appreciate the and relevant contact details, there wealth of options available, says ediare additional pointers for those tor Louise Dodgson. unsure of how to get started with “A lot of acts will of course already Louise Dodgson applications. of heard of the likes of PRS for Music “Putting together a proposal is addressed Foundation, Creative Industry Finance and Arts Councils England. “But they’ll perhaps know inside the guide, with general information on bits and pieces about each one, and might how to communicate what you need and what not be aware of the differences in what they you’re hoping to achieve,” she says. The Unsigned Guide has more than provide and how they provide it. “So there’s comprehensive information on 8,500 directory listings and approximately each of those entities, as well as the likes of 5,000 subscribers.

Stage break Stage Break OPEN 20 Bank Plain, Norwich NR2 4SF Bookings: Rick Lennox T: 01603 763 111 E: W: Capacity: 275 (main room 1,400) PA/lights: Yes Dressing rooms: 6 Booking policy: Events are mainly staged by local promoters but we do some In-house shows. Best acts currently playing venue: Real Life Charm, She Makes War, Happy Coloured Marbles, Mega Emotion, Keep Up, Lobster, Lonely The Brave, Maya Law & Harry Edwards Best advice for managers: “No fancy packaging. Let the music speak for itself and keep high-profile on all social media, re-tweet positive band mentions or info for future gigs, instead of just clicking Like or Favorite.” Acts who’ve played the venue: Public Service Broadcasting (3 times), London Grammar, Stormzy, Rae Morris, Lucy Rose, Marmozets, Nothing But Thieves, Ed Sheeran.




16 I

in association with

Taking things into account Artistes need to file their tax returns like everybody else, but the nuances of the live music industry and whether an act is a partnership or company are not always easy to manage when the most important thing is the next gig. But proper accounting from the start pays off later, as Rob Sandall reports


ny help with navigating the potentially treacherous waters of the music industry should be welcomed with open arms, but acts at grassroots level typically have limited funds with which to hire in specialists. Fortunately, accounting experts have long understood that giving a little free advice in the first instance can lead to fruitful relationships when an act gains a degree of success. Grant Court of SLRV, a firm of chartered accountants who have operated in the live entertainment sector for 26 years, says that it is always worth at least speaking to a professional during the early stages, someone who will help an act determine how much help, if any, they actually need. “We offer a first-hour-free consultation, and this usually involves informing an artiste about the basic records they need to keep and costs that they can claim [against tax], as well as making them aware of the taxes and tax liability dates that apply to them,” he says. “Whether they need further assistance will depend on the artiste. Many struggle to make profits for some time and it’s important to remember that for those who sign record deals, only a few eventually see their Grant Court music released.” He adds that in that regard sometimes the best advice an accountant might be able to give an act is not to immediately spend money on an accountant. “Cash is key to the artiste at the start of their career so the decision to hold off for the time being might be the right one,” says Court. “Artists shouldn’t go out there and appoint an accountant for the sake of it – we would be happy to have an initial meeting and then review the situation again in six-to-12-months’ time.” Court notes that assumptions and misinformation are the most likely hurdles for an emerging act – potential abounds for early mistakes to cause problems later in a career. “Like many industries, artistes speak to other acts for advice, and unfortunately this can lead April 2016 • issue 195 •

Sometimes, however, Harris says that all an act people along the wrong path,” he says. “A common error is to set up as a limited company when a sole really needs is an outside party to help provide a little restraint. trader or partnership would have been “We help acts to make sure that more suitable, for instance. when they finally get that deal “Having said that, many musicians do and the advance comes in they have a good understanding and mandon’t immediately blow it all and age their finances well, but we want to have nothing left in month two,” help them concentrate on their strengths she says. “So that might mean – being creative – and if they are able to setting up a monthly allowance delegate other areas of their business to deposited into each member’s others we are there to help.” bank account to limit access to the Court does however point out that an larger amount.” accountant can only help with taxes and Ian Thomas accounts if someone is recording them in the first place. Managing growth “If costs are not recorded, then accountants will Ian Thomas of MGR Weston Kay says that it’s struggle to reduce profits which will then lead to at the point where business starts to pick up higher taxes to be paid,” he says. and more complex financial work is needed that an accountant will be worth a most to an emerging act. Syncing Up “As things develop, the act or writer gets signed Charlotte Harris of Harris & Trotter agrees that encouraging an act to or wants to self-release, or the live fees start picklog their expenditure diligently can ing up, they will require more advice,” he says. “If they are troubling the VAT threshold or have a sometimes be half the battle won. “I always tell my clients to download lot of VAT-able expenses we would judge whether an app called Expensify, which can and when they should register, then assist with the scan and read receipts when you take registration and ongoing filing of VAT returns. “If a deal is on the table, we would help them a photo of them,” she says. “Often an act will be surprised as understand the financial terms and timeframes, to what they can claim back, so receipts for abso- preparing a cashflow to show them how long the advances will stretch based lutely everything should be recorded to on their immediate needs be potentially claimed back later.” and ongoing business and Harris, who works with artistes includpersonal expenses.” ing Kygo, Circa Waves and Eaves, notes Thomas points out that a good that in addition to advising on budgetaccountant can help not only in ing and owed licensing fees, accountants preventing mistakes, but also in can also help when it comes to setting planning for the future. up sync deals. “We estimate the taxes due “In many cases that can actually be an and recommend how much they act’s bread and butter, and that side of should set aside to pay these when their income can take off ahead of wider Charlotte Harris necessary,” he says. recognition as an artiste,” she says. “Depending on the numbers, they may have “If they’re unsigned then all the better. In fact, with no label on board there’s no one else to surplus funds available and we could introduce share the profits with, and it can all go direct to them to an Independent Financial Advisor to look at how to make those funds work for them.” the artiste.”

NXT news I 17

in association with

An Tobar Managing talent Building emerging careers Phil Clark, 29

Current projects with King Creosote, Liz Lochhead and The Hazey Janes with Steve Kettley, Hamish Hawk & The New Outfit, plus many more.

to connect whatever dots you’ve had online or on radio with a solid live performance to really grab the public’s attention.” Other emerging acts to watch: SG Lewis, Jorja Smith, Sam Wills.

Company name: SEG Music, London

Greatest lesson learned: “Always have a back up plan.”


Worst live experience:

Artiste roster: Friction, Poté, Strong Asian Mothers, Fineart, Dismantle. Also assist across Wilkinson, David Rodigan, Louis Mattrs

“It was probably having an artiste at Reading Festival in front of 10,000 people and none of your visual production works, despite months of planning and rehearsals. However, the band pulled-off such a great show that no one seemed to notice.”

Favourite venues for showcasing/playing: Waiting Room, Oslo, Corsica Studios (all London) Importance of playing live: “Whether or not you make a profit, the exposure can be invaluable to growing as an artiste. You need

Current live projects: Strong Asian Mothers and Louis Mattrs – both working live and playing The Great Escape. Wilkinson – upcoming UK/Europe tour. Poté – live debut in May.

forum advert_Layout 1 07/07/2015 14:51 Page 1

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On The Beat Scouting the frontline Shaun Tate, 32

Sunderland), O2 Academy, The Cluny (both Newcastle), TSOne (Stockton), The Surfcafe (Tynemouth). Importance of playing live:

Company name: Forgotten City Records, Sunderland E: When joined the company: 2015 Company signings: Crease, Dean James & The Black Dogs, Chased By Badguys, Profumo, Waste of Space and Lava Frog. Among favourite emerging acts: PussyWillow, FurryVenus, Velvoir, Eujenics, Fleckt Pets. Favourite venues for seeing unsigned acts: Independent, Pop Recs (both

“At grassroots level that is where most new fans will first see an act, so it’s very important to leave a good first impression and to entice the audience into wanting to know more about the artiste.” Best advice to unsigned act managers: “Believe in yourself and your artiste and work hard, if you put the effort in you’ll reap the rewards. Work closely with each band member individually, as they all offer something different and infuse their personality into the music, plus they are as much of interest to fans as the music itself.” Emerging new acts on the label: Setting up less than a year ago means all our acts are fairly new.

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April 2016 • issue 195 •


Festival is a 32-page news, features and information supplement of LIVE UK, published in December, January, February and March, when the bulk of festival production contracts are concluded. From April to October, it becomes a two-page section in LIVE UK.

Bestival takes Cornbury targets anniversary peak to the airwaves


THE ISLE of Wight’s Bestival (cap. 55,000) has announced a partnership with digital station Soho Radio, which sees the festival brand broadcast two weekly shows – Bestival Weekly and Bestival Live. The programmes will run under the banner of Rob da Bank Bestival FM, with Bestival Live featuring archive performances from the event. As well as broadcasting from the station in London’s West End, Soho Radio will decamp to Robin Hill Country Park on the Isle of Wight to broadcast live from Bestival’s site during the event. “Bestival FM enables us to talk music to our loyal fans all year round,” says Bestival co-founder Rob da Bank. The event takes takes place on 8-11 September and will feature The Cure and Major Lazer. Tickets cost £190.

April 2016 • issue 195 •

CORNBURY FESTIVAL organiser Hugh Phillimore is hoping to return the event to the peak of 14,000 ticket sales he enjoyed in its 2013 10th anniversary year. As well as a line-up featuring Jamie Cullum, Bryan Ferry, Seal, All Saints and Soul II Soul, he is promising a stronger acoustic stage in place of the literary offering of previous years. “The 10th anniversary allowed us to add extra attractions and attendance fell back marginally after that,” Phillimore Keane at Cornbury in 2013 tells LIVE UK, adding that occasional date them in the foreseeable clashes with sports events like Wimbledon and future,” he says. “But our Silverstone can make the difference of 500-1,000 line-up and the amount ticket sales at the Oxfordshire event. of free facilities, such as He believes the 13-year-old Cornbury has parking and children’s area, endured thanks to 75 per cent repeat business, make us a Club Class event.” with 50 per cent of the audience local people. Founder Philimore’s Ticket prices remain stable at £170 or £200 festival partner in recent with camping. Hugh Phillimore years is national promoter “We had been raising prices annually until 3A Entertainment, who, he we discovered we were second most expensive says, “Created profitability and taught us a lot”. festival after Glastonbury, so we’re not raising

AIF looks to the futures THE ASSOCIATION of Independent Festivals (AIF), which represents the organisers of more than 50 events, has launched a series of one-day conferences under the banner Festival Futures. Presented in partnership with ticket agency Skiddle and music college BIMM, the conferences will be held in Brighton and Manchester on 5 April and 7 April respectively. Speakers will include Wilderness co-promoter John Empson, Kendal

Calling director Ben Robinson, Just So director Sarah Bird and Production Services Association general manager Andy Lenthall. Discussed topics will include multi-arts and family content, festivals food, connections between streaming and ticketing, and drugs awareness. The events take place at BIMM premises in Brighton and Manchester and registration costs £100 or £50 for AIF members.

festival news I 19

New partners boost for Electric Fields THE THREE-year-old Electric Fields festival at Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries & Galloway is expanding to a two-day, 5,000-capacity event after attracting nearly 2,000 people last year. Co-founder Nick Roberts is confident the event will sell out, having received backing from Glasgow promoter PCL Presents and the company behind Kendal Calling (cap. 26,000), From the Fields. He has also secured Primal Scream and The Charlatans as headliners, with the four-stage event focused on music, rather than multi-arts. “It’s a big leap for us,” says Roberts. “But we have an almost perfect site and our new partners saw the potential of the festival last year,” he says. “It’s all about creating an

experience for the audience, and that’s why we’re offering a huge range of ales, the Tim Peaks stage [billed as a den of surprise and curated by the Charlatans’ Tim Burgess], as well as a kids’ area,” he says. “We’re aware the average age of festival-goers is 33 and we’d hate people not to be able to bring their children.” Roberts is optimistic the festival can grow and continue to attract a high calibre of headliners. “We won’t be pigeonholed into a musical genre, which allows us to attract a similar level of headliners from different styles of music,” he adds. Tickets to the August event cost £85, with options to buy monthly or on a deposit scheme.

WeyFest marks 10-year milestone © Avid Robinson

IN ITS 10th anniversary year, the 5,000-capacity WeyFest has moved from its regular postAugust bank holiday dates to the third weekend of the WeyFest month, to make it easier for “We’ll consolidate this year with families to attend. The event, held at the Rural Life the same capacity and then review Centre, near Farnham in Surrey, aims whether it should increase next year,” to attract an audience aged over 35 he says. “We have strong customer with artistes including The Darkness, loyalty and ant to make sure we offer Wishbone Ash, John Otway and our punters1 the same atmosphere with the new dates, before making The Beat. “We can’t hold the festival on any other changes.” As a veteran musician himself, the bank holiday weekend as it would clash with other events,” says Webb says he draws on a large organiser Colin Webb. “But last year network of colleagues to programme we fell foul of the school year, which the event. Early-bird weekend tickets to started earlier than usual, making it WeyFest cost £90. difficult for people with children.

Correction Henley Festival A NEWS item about Henley Festival (cap. 7,000) in Festival issue 27 (the last standalone issue until December) contained several errors. The Ronnie Scott’s stage, celebrating the centenary of the London jazz venue, will be hosted in a 350 capacity Spiegeltent, not the new venue The Top (1,000). The festival is a five-day event, not seven, and tickets range from £35 to £200, depending on the evening booked. We apologise for any confusion caused.

Summing Up

Interviews with festival founders

Matt Freemantle, 30 Started by two live music novices who wanted to bring serious artistes to their corner of Devon, Lemonfest is approaching its seventh annual event in June. While holding down careers in other professions, co-founders Matt Freemantle and Luke Turpin have grown the festival from an initial crowd of 1,5000 to 7,000, with this year’s headliners including Alabama 3 and Beardyman.

What prepared you for the task?

“After four years in the Royal Navy I moved to London, aged 23, to work in radio advertising and project management with Absolute Radio and Global Radio. Luke, an old school friend, and I decided our home town of Newton Abbot needed an event aimed at our generation, with proper music. We’d never worked at events before. “I’d been to local gigs and saw a young Muse at the Lemon Grove [cap. 800] in Exeter. Glastonbury [140,000] and Secret Garden Party [26,000] both inspired me, but I only visited them after the first Lemonfest. “We muddled through the first event, but trying to work with agents was a battle. Natasha Bent at The Agency Group [now United Talent Agency] gave us our first break. Reef headlined, but our biggest success that year was a little-known local singer, Ben Howard, whose management came to the festival. “I was still booking infrastructure and skips two days before we opened. But we attracted 1,500 people.”

What has made the festival a success?

“The site is at Newton Abbot Racecourse, so it’s accessible for audiences and ease of production. We’ve grown organically and added attractions, like a drum & bass area in the third year, and acoustic and campsite after hours stages in the fourth. The arts side has seen massive growth. “Facebook is our main marketing tool – ticket competitions, voting for bands to play on the main stage, etc. But when we’ve had the money we’ve done more newspaper and bus advertising, so people see us as a genuine brand rather than two lads putting on a concert. Last year we attracted 5,000 people and are hoping for 7,000 this year.”

What have been your highs and lows?

“The day after the first festival was depressing: I realised I’d lost over £10,000 and I still had to pick up the litter. But thick-headedness got us through. Luke and I took it on as personal debt, which is why we both still have full-time jobs – he manages a pizzeria. “We became savvy with our budgets and, in Year 2, begged and borrowed from anyone who would do business with us. Through bar, food and trading concessions, plus growing ticket sales, the green shoots appeared and by the third year the picture was positive. But we’ve totally self-funded the event, with no backers or family savings to help. “Each year gets better. It’s amazing to put attention to detail into the site. Watching people queue to get into an event you’ve created is a feeling that money can’t buy.”

Key suppliers

Main Stage + sound and lights (S&L) Matrix Second Stage + S&L Blue Thunder Sound

Dance tent + S&L Future Technical Solutions Marquees Universal Marquees

Security Petronus Loos Event Hire Solutions Power Addicott Electrics

April 2016 • issue 195 •


Britannia Row - Brit Awards

Music to the ears

It is a high tech business, but it’s the skills of the operators and supply companies that determine whether an artiste or event gets the best sound. Fortunately the UK has some of the best audio hire companies in the world who ensure they stay at the peak of performance. Claire Bicknell reports


rom taking the weather into consideration at outdoor shows, through to incorporating the PA systems seamlessly into the set design of a production, there’s lots to consider when supplying live show audio. Digital technology has changed the game and in-ear monitors (IEMs) are becoming the norm, but what hasn’t changed is the high level of expertise and commitment to excellence provided by the specialists serving this sector. “We’ve always recognised that our people are our greatest asset,” says Bryan Grant, MD of Britannia Row Productions, one of the early pioneers of live show audio and celebrating 40 years in the business. “Any fool can buy the equipment - it’s how it’s April 2016 • Issue 195 •

packaged and who is operating it that makes it the best or worst thing you’ve ever heard. “We’ve been running our own unofficial apprenticeships and training courses for years. Now we’ve expanded our training course and have joined with South Thames College to produce a three-year degree course in live sound production, which will have its first intake this September; it’s also currently subject to validation to run at the University of Northampton,” Grant explains. “We run introductory and mid-level weekend courses in live audio at our Twickenham warehouse too.” Brit Row (as it’s best known) clients include The Cure, Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel, David

Gilmour, Royal Blood, Hans Zimmer and Kasabian, as well as providing live audio for The BRITS for 19 years, and MTV’s European Music Awards. “Both these shows require flexibility with PA placing as, although they have large live audiences in arenas, they’re TV shows which broadcast to millions of viewers so we can’t have large hangs of PA obscuring the visuals,” he says. “The layout of the performance areas change every year, plus large set pieces and screens often mask the coverage of a conventional PA hang. “So we find ourselves very involved with production and designing systems that are more distributed, are flown higher or wider than usual and often incorporate many different component parts to give the coverage needed.

sector focus I 21

SSE Audio - Leeds Festival

“We’re also required to make quick changeovers between complex artiste set ups, whilst the shows are broadcast live to the planet.” Brit Row is now predominantly an L-Acoustics house John Penn and has a large range of DiGiCo mixing products, increasing the number of SSL Live L-500s due to demand. “Live show audio is always evolving, alongside the other disciplines such as lighting, video and staging,” adds Grant. “Audiences are not necessarily more sophisticated – they just want to see and hear a great performance by their favourite artiste.” SSE Audio Group is one of the biggest companies within the sector, with clients including Coldplay, Slipknot, Neil Diamond, Morrissey and Maroon 5. It’s also provided audio for both V Festivals (cap. 87,500 and 85,000) since their inception in 1996, and supplies sound for Download (85,000), Bestival (55,000), Reading (90,000) and Leeds (80,000). It was recently identified as one of the Top 1,000 companies to inspire Britain by the London Stock Exchange. “We win a lot of industry awards based on what we do, but this recognition is based solely on our business performance,” says MD John Penn. “The companies included needed to show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years.”

Penn states SSE Audio Group had its best year to date in 2015 and the company is celebrating its 40th year this year. “The technical excellence of what you can achieve now is outstanding, if you know how to use the tools,” says Penn. “We recently won an industry Best Sound award for our work at Reading; during Metallica’s set, we were just on the cusp of the maximum decibels, but we were under. But under, is under. “That meant there was the room to emphasize a part of a particular song, react to the set, and all these things – along with excellent staff, bring it all together.” “It’s been a great year for us, people are still touring and there’s lots of festivals going on,” agrees SSE hire director Yan Stile. “Relationships are key to success – it’s not like you’re running a car rental company where you don’t know who is hiring. “We know, and what we do is a passion for us. If you’re not passionate about it, you shouldn’t be doing it.” SSE covers all aspects of audio requirements, with sales, installation and hire divisions. Inventory available includes Meyer through its Wigwam Acoustics arm, d&b and L-Acoustics.

In-ear growth

Established since 1967, Entec Sound & Light’s live audio clients include Blur, Skunk Anansie and Asian Dub Foundation. It’s also worked on the annual Teenage Cancer Trust shows at the Royal Albert Hall since 1990. “Entec is a d&b house, and we’re also proud to support engineers with a range of mixing consoles from DiGiCo, Avid, Yamaha, Midas and Soundcraft,” explains sound department warehouse manager Ed Shackleton,. “In the last year, we’ve added a significant amount of new Shure and Sennheiser wireless systems to our inventory, and that helps us to responds positively to other companies who wish to sub-rent from Entec. We regularly collaborate with others by hiring out d&b inventory in situations when a d&b system has been specified, but the company cannot fulfil the request.” Shackleton says Entec is seeing an increasing

Audio showcontrol System management Dynamic delay matrix S-Version sound effects

STS Touring

move from stage monitor wedges to IEMs, as well as further reliance on audio networking systems. The company has recently appointed a new head of sound, Jonny Clark.

Early planning vital

Forty five years in business and with 20 years specifically in PA and backline hire, STS Touring Productions clients include Parklife (15,000) Curtis Stigers and Band of Skulls. The company is looking after the live show audio for the forthcoming Gregory Porter tour, with the equipment including L-Acoustics Kara, DiGiCo SD8, Midas Pro 2, Turbosound wedges and Sennheiser IEM systems. “The PA side of the business, whilst not as strong as the backline department, is still a crucial piece of the overall jigsaw,” says MD Pete Dutton. “It’s important to be involved with the client at an early stage to ensure correct equipment is used. “Budget is still the important criterion but as long as the department is busy, profit margins remain buoyant.”

3D performer tracking for vocal localisation and effects automation

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

22 I SECTOR FOCUS Ensuring frequency

Audiolease - Royal Albert Hall

Equipment held at STS includes L-Acoustics Kara Line Array and Turbosound Flex Array speaker systems, Midas Pro 2, DiGiCo SD8 and SD9 and Yamaha M7CL desks, L-Acoustics and Turbosound monitors. It also has a large selection of radio equipment, particularly Sennheiser. “IEM systems are more prevalent now than they used to be. We have stocks of well over 200 systems and have our own specific licence,” adds Dutton.

With clients including Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Fairport Convention and Weyfest (5,000), and 25 years in the sector, Midland Sound & Lighting (MSL) MD Andy Salmon believes live show audio needs to be spontaneous and not too polished. “My message would be don’t lose the spontaneity that comes with raw live audio, that includes the live mistakes and all. The industry is going towards clinical excellence, but there’s a certain excitement still to be had from when it’s raw.” Despite concerns in some areas of the business, Salmon says MSL does not have any major problems with radio frequency (RF) spectrum planning and management, through which equipment such as IEMs and radio mics oprate. Licences are managed by Ofcom, and are needed for each piece of relevant equipment for a show which can be costly. “If you stick to the Ofcom spectrum, you don’t have a lot of problems. If you’re going into a multi-band set-up, you talk to each other and get a frequency set up. The current system is working well in my experience.” Audiolease’s roots go back to 1978 and it has

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provided Motorhead’s sound requirements for over 35 years. “We’re immensely proud of the fact that we provided the band’s sound requirements over those years and continued to do so right up until the end,” says director Pete Dutton Jason Cade. “For their 40th anniversary European tour, we provided 48 x d&b J8, 4 x d&b J12, 24 x d&b J-SUB, 8 x d&b V8, and 56 d&b D12 amplifiers as the main PA and hangs. On stage there were 3 x d&b cabinets per side on custom transport dolly for side fills, one d&b J-SUB and 2 d&b J8 cabinets for drum fill, 14 Audiolease BW2 monitor wedges, and a Yamaha PM5D-RH monitor console with Apogee Big Ben Master Clock. “The Midas XL3 desk with analog outboard effect rack was the engineer’s own.” Cade also has a few words of warning on the RF issue. “It needs to be managed carefully. This is an area where thorough pre-planning cannot be stressed enough. The consequences for an operator or a client in getting it wrong can be very serious,” he says. “We work extremely closely with production and tour managers, and engineers to ensure all

By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Supplier of Sound Equipment for Rental and Installation RG Jones Sound Engineering Ltd London

RG Jones Sound Engineering Ltd 16 Endeavour Way, Wimbledon, London SW19 8UH T: + 44 (0)20 8971 3100 F: + 44 (0)20 8971 3101

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

sector focus I 23

Skan PA

RF issues, equipment and licences are dealt with as early in the planning process as possible,” states Cade.

Wireless control

Operating since the 1970s, Skan PA’s live audio clients include Take That, Muse, James Morrison, Biffy Clyro and Jeff Lynne’s ELO. The latter’s tour included DiGiCo SD7, outboard from XTA, Bricasti, d&b M2 monitors, 2 x REAPER recording systems with DiGiGrid MGB interfaces for recording and virtual soundcheck, Tascam SS-CDR200 solid state CD recorder, Sennheiser 200 Series IEM and EM 3732-II wireless radio microphone systems. “With the pace of the developments of the products in the sector, we’re finding there’s an increase in the connectivity options for all the

equipment we now stock,” says account handler Mark Ellis-Cope. “Wireless control of everything from consoles and system drive components down to radio microphone and IEMs, and encompassing amplifiers Mark Ellis-Cope and everything inbetween, has become a priority for our clients.” Whether the show is indoors or outdoors has a large effect on the approaches to its audio, as Ellis-Cope explains. “They’re massively different environments; with outdoors, you have the atmospherics to consider, and indoors you may have odd shaped

“Don’t lose the spontaneity that comes with raw live audio, that includes the live mistakes and all.” Andy Salmon

or sized rooms and the possibility of more hard, reflected surfaces. “We’ll take everything into account and deal with each situation individually so the audio is the very best it can be,” says Ellis-Cope.

Quality control

With clients including a-ha and The Australian Pink Floyd, and festivals such as Barclaycard presents British Summer Time (65,000), Field Day (25,000), Rewind South (40,000) and Rewind Scotland (30,000), Capital Paul Timmins Sound Hire has been established for over 30 years. “During the past 12 months, we’ve adapted and now own and offer four loudspeaker brands – Martin Audio, Outline, d&b and Meyer Sound,” says general manager Paul Timmins. “We feel it’s important to have options and different tools in the toolbox! “It’s exciting times being a multi-brand supplier, the systems from d&b and Outline bolted onto our existing Martin Audio and Meyer Sound gives our customers great choice and that’s what we need to do.” With 22 years in the industry and clients including Underworld, Audio Plus’ director Stefan Imhof says the importance of sound quality to an audience should not be underestimated. “The majority of live music enthusiasts will want to experience the sound at a gig as a mindblowing experience that can’t be recreated at home or in the car,” he says. “The audience is aware of better live sound

STS Touring offers Backline Rental, Lighting Rental, PA Rental and Staging Rental Tel: +44 (0) 161 273 5984 April 2016 • Issue 195 •

24 I SECTOR FOCUS when they hear it and you shouldn’t underestimate their ability to spot poor sound. We want to create the best possible sound for a client – that’s why we’re in the business.” The range of Audio Stefan Imhof Plus inventory covers VERO, Funktion-One, Lab.gruppen, DiGiCo, Yamaha, Roland, Midas, Shure and Sennheiser. Sound Services audio clients include MTV for Tinie Tempah and Soul II Soul, with over 10 years experience in the sector. “Funktion-One Live, Club and Install Sound Services systems are our speciality,” says technical director Rich Cufley. “We offer a full range of jointly designed a multi-channel surround system products to ensure the correct solution for each for live band and immersive soundscape playevent or venue.” back at the Be One performance in Nottingham. “In terms of maintenance, all Sound Services kit “The content was composed by core memis tested before and each job, and a detailed log bers of Spiritualised and various collaborators kept of every piece of equipment’s history,” he amassed by installation artist Wolfgang Buttress says. “All new staff are instructed in best practice - it highlighted the global plight of bees against and how to treat each item, and we have in-house big agriculture, some of which are projected live repair to keep everything running perfectly.”

Immersed in sound

For two decades Out Board has been providing audio show control, live surround sound engineering and other technologies expertise to the live events industry, with clients including Kaiser Chiefs and Creamfields (60,000). The company also offers its own product – the TiMax audio showcontrol system. “We did a Creamfields arena for Axwell & Ingrosso involving an eight-channel L-Acoustics V-DOSC system and iPad hook-up which I jointly designed and programmed with their engineer Wayne Rabbit Sargeant and SSE project manager Dan Bennet,” says director Dave Haydon. “Rabbit used the iPad to trigger spins, chases and zigzags around the system, pre-programmed to the bpm of the material, and TiMax was patched with the DiGiCo such that he could ease the overall surround system in and out as an effect. “Recently my co-director Robin Whittaker

“Any fool can buy the equipment - it’s how it’s packaged and who is operating it that makes it the best or worst.” Bryan Grant

onto the scrims along with remote audio feeds of their complex hive activity being immersively floated around the audience along with certain music elements by TiMax,” explains Haydon. “The show will do a repeat performance at [West London’s] Kew Gardens in the summer and possibly some festival slots.” Now in its 90th year, RG Jones clients include Marina and The Diamonds and Glastonbury Festival (140,000). The company stocks a large inventory, including Martin Audio MLA and MLA Compact, Synco monitor systems, Yamaha, DiGiCo

and AVID digital consoles and DPA mics. “We’ve invested heavily in MLA as we believe it’s the most flexible, best sounding and well controlled system in the market,” says Alex Czechowski RG Jones’ Steve Carr. “It works fantastically well indoors and out, and suits the client base. “We invest in training our employees to understand the value behind well maintained equipment. Expert knowledge is absolutely critical due to the increasingly advanced technical capabilities of some of the equipment.”

Vintage touch

With all things vintage seemingly being popular at the moment, there’s still a thriving market for this type of equipment. Providing a totally analogue Martin Audio modular sound system, Ace Vintage Systems has accumulated and restored one of the largest collections of original Martin speakers over the last 25 years. “This classic sound system produces the warm and clear sound that engineers strive for,” says owner Alex Czechowski. “It’s quite possibly the definitive rock ‘n’ roll sound.” Working with venues across the West Midlands through to artistes such as grime producer Flava D, Czechowski states the look of the vintage systems is just as important as the sound to its clients. “Old school speakers make an imposing statement compared to an invisible line array. We’ve found clients like the incorporate the aesthetics of our equipment into their set design. “When customers make positive comments time and time again, you know that you’re doing something right,” he says. These specialists work hard behind the scenes to ensure sound excellence and as Bryan Grant observes, “Impressive as it may be, nobody goes home from a gig singing the visual”.

517 Yeading Lane, Northolt, Middlesex UB5 6LN Tel: 020 8842 4004 | Fax: 020 8842 3310 email:


Specialists In sound

& lighting April 2016 • Issue 195 •











L-ACOUSTICS SOUND SOLUTIONS Five out of ten of the world’s top-grossing festivals choose L-Acoustics.* Artists the world over request L-Acoustics for its impact and pristine quality. Our sound systems give festival goers the experience of a lifetime. Our exclusive technology, sound design tools, and network of trained certified providers ensure promoters attain big sound, without sacrificing airtight noise control, leaving the neighbors serene. *

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Production news FOUR DIAMOND-shaped moving screens formed the visual centrepiece of the Back to the Future Hearts tour by All Time Low, who toured venues including Manchester Arena (cap. 21,000), Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena (15,800) and The O2 (19,000) in London, following a No 1 hit. Lighting designer Jeff Maker says his goal was, “To achieve the ultimate engaging experience for the audience”, creating static looks for some songs while using screen motion throughout others. “In terms of staging, we installed an elevator upstage centre for the band’s entrance as well as for the first song of the encore,” says Maker. “I also wanted a catwalk for the guys to use, which brought them right out into the audience. I designed the set, lighting, video and truss to work together for the biggest impact possible for these arenas.” Maker specified two networked Sapphire Touch consoles by Avolites, one for back-up.

Avolites Sapphire Touch controls All Time Low

© Adam Elmakias

Sapphires sparkle for All Time Low Newsbites

“I’ve been using Avolites for 10 years and I love this console,” he says. “The set list function puts the playbacks I need at my fingertips and I love how exact and sensitive the touch screens are. It’s easy to update any attribute on the fly.” Fixtures included Robin BMFLs, Pointes, 600 LED Wash and Beams, 600e Spots and Cyc FX8s by Robe, plus Elation ACL 360 LED Bars and Martin Atomic 3k Strobes.

Local resources flair for 6 Music THE PRODUCTION brief for BBC Radio’s 6 Music Festival saw lighting designer Tim Routledge specify local suppliers for the annual event, which rotates between cities and was held in Bristol this year. Utopium and Fineline, both Bristol-based, supplied the Colston Hall (cap. 2,000) and Motion (2,500) for performances by acts such as Underworld, Guy Garvey and Laura Marling (at the Colston Hall) and Primal Scream, Suede and Foals (at Motion). A key challenge for Utopium, says the company, was to sub-hang three lighting trusses plus a video screen truss for Underworld, in addition to the six lighting towers it provided for this and other performances.

The company used fixtures including 25 Mac Quantum Profiles, 14 Mac 2000 Washes and 30 Chauvet Q Wash 419s, controlled from GrandMA lighting control desks It also supplied gobo projection on the front of the Colston Hall, displaying 6 Music branding throughout the event. Utopium alights on BBC 6 Music Festival Fineline worked with at the back but rigged directly to Routledge – also known for his the crane in the front, which also work with Take That and ELO – to supported the stage’s front truss. make use of Motion’s industrial, “The easy route might urban ambiance, deploying the be to speak with one of the building’s crane, a left-over from national rental companies that its days as a marble warehouse, we use regularly,” says Routledge. as a rigging point. The company “But I really enjoy reaching out and installed a 30ft wide by 16 ft. deep working with local resources.” ground support system, anchored

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CROWD MANAGEMENT specialist Showsec has appointed Steven McCafferty as its area manager for the West of Scotland and the Highlands. McCafferty graduated from the company’s management development programme after six years with the company, where clients include T in the Park (cap. 85,000) and Belladrum (17,000)., Showsec’s regional manager Scott Anderson says, “There is great potential for progression in Scotland with new clients and further work with existing clients. Steven’s extensive knowledge of the business and the region makes him the ideal person to drive this forward.” AUDIO MANUFACTURER Turbosound, whose clients include Iron Maiden and Alanis Morissette, has launched its Inspire series of powered modular column loudspeakers. Andy Trott of Turbosound’s owner Music Group, says, “The market response for a lightweight, portable vertical array has been overwhelming. We’ve developed an industry-leading product which exhibits powerful, high quality sound and optimised dispersion, perfect for small to medium-sized venues.” MARTIN AUDIO, manufacturer of brands including MLA, the W8 line array and the XD series, and now owned by US audio conglomerate Loud Technologies, has appointed Dom Harter as MD following his roles with Turbosound and Harman. Loud CEO Mark Graham says, “Dom’s engineering and industry background and his proven business acumen brings a powerful skill to fulfil the potential of Martin Audio.”

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April 2016 • issue 195 •

Production news

Production Park Elation for pub-themed shows acquires Cato THE COMPANIES behind two international tour rehearsal facilities and live music training bodies have joined forces following the acquisition of Cato Music in London, by Wakefield-based Production Park. Multi-faceted Production Park comprises businesses such as LS-Live, Brilliant Stages, The Backstage Academy, Litestructures and Perry Scenic. The merged entities promise to create a training centre of excellence for live events, while Cato Music will move from its present headquarters in Wandsworth to purpose-built facilities featuring two rehearsal studios and an expanded backline hire department, in borough later this year. “We’ve been hugely impressed by Cato over the last 15 years and we both share the same values and vision. Our academies are at the forefront of training in touring and production and the synergies between us are evident,” says Production Park co-founder Lee Brooks. Production Park clients include Radiohead, Jay Z and Tinie Tempah while Cato CEO Glen Rowe is tour director of Muse and the company is tour consultant for Universal Music Group, whose recording artistes include Adele, Taylor Swift and Coldplay.

FLAME SHOOTING beer barrels were among the effects used by lighting designer Jon Smith when he created a pub on stage as the backdrop for Texas band Bowling for Soup’s UK tour, How About Another Round? He and set builder Mair Burgess constructed the scene which, he says, needed Elation beams light up Bowling for Soup a versatile lighting fixture to highlight the set and punctuate key song would start. I like the solid flat beam, the colour and movement.” musical moments. The package also included eight of Elation’s Turning to rental company MusicMann he opted for a package of lighting by Netherlands- Platinum Spot 15R Pro and eight Platinum based manufacturer Elation, featuring 16 ACL Beam 5R Extreme moving heads. “The powerful fixtures added a strong visual element from 360 Bar fixtures. “The fixture creates a real variety of different both a truss and floor position,” he adds. The band played venues such as Newcastle’s looks,” says Smith. “I liked the idea of using it for static up-lighting and down-lighting colour O2 Academy (2,000), O2 Academy (1,700) in for the pub, to light up the beer barrels for Bristol, London’s Roundhouse (3,000), and example, and then used movement when a return for an arena tour in October.

In-house audio for Palladium flexibility THE OWNER of the London Palladium (cap. 2,300), Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group (RUG), has installed a touring-style public address system in the West End theatre for an entertainment programme including live music. With artistes including Elvis Costello, Brian Wilson and Foreigner scheduled, RUG’s head of venue sales and marketing Spencer Phillips asked

April 2016 • issue 195 •

SSE installs L-Acoustics at The Palladium

Redditch-based SSE Audio Group to specify and install a concert-quality system. “We needed a solution that not only sounded great but looked great too,” says Phillips. “It became clear that the system likely to be accepted by the majority of visiting productions was L-Acoustics.”

Taking the advice of SSE hire manager Luther Edmonds, Phillips opted for nine L-Acoustics Kara per side for the Royal and Upper Circles and a further six Kara per side for the stalls. L-Acoustics 8XTs are hung under the circles and from the ceiling to provide coverage to the rear of each area. Phillips says the installation is initially a 12-month rental contract, so the touring system gives the Palladium programming flexibility without committing to a large capital investment.

30 I city limits


From the stunning location of Edinburgh Castle to the city’s world-famous Hogmanay celebrations – not forgetting the UK’s largest seated theatre – Edinburgh has a lot to offer touring artistes, but without an arena or standing venue of around 1,500-capacity, what it loses to Glasgow, it makes up for with style and commitment. Allan Glen reports

W Nick Stewart

hile the loss of The Picture House (cap. 1,500) in Lothian Road continues to be sorely felt, a recent report into the day-to-day business of presenting live music in the city paints a much brighter picture. According to figures released by the City of Edinburgh Council, there are approximately 267 venues actively offering live music, 94 of which feature music on a minimum of two nights per week. The findings demonstrate that the sector provides a massive boost to the local economy, with audiences in the capital attending more events than the Scottish average, generating a total spend around live music shows of an estimated £40 million per year. Entitled Encouraging Live Music in Edinburgh, the report, published in last October, includes details of a census undertaken by the University of Edinburgh, which fed into the findings of the council’s Music Is Audible (MIA) working group. The MIA was set up to try and resolve issues relating to the

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

Council’s somewhat strict inaudibility condition which states that “amplified music and vocals should be inaudible in neighbouring residential premises”. While established venues are coping, smaller and more spontaneous live music events and venues can fall foul of the regulation. In March, following lobbying from the MIA, the Edinburgh licensing board agreed to take new wording – “amplified music shall not be an audible nuisance in neighbouring residential properties” – to consultation, which is expected to last around 12 weeks. MIA member Nick Stewart of Sneaky Pete’s (100) has been working with the council to improve relations between venues and residents. “There is a consensus among venue operators, musicians and others involved in the Edinburgh music scene, that the council’s unique inaudibility condition seriously stifles live music in the city, particularly at below grassroots level,” says Stewart.

Exploring the live music networks in our key cities and towns I city

limits I 31

Usher Hall

Usher Hall

Which is unfortunate, given the vibrancy of live music in Edinburgh: on the date the University of Edinburgh conducted the 6 June census, 11,500 people attended live music, leading to a conservative estimate of an annual attendance of 2.7 million people. Such an active market, says Regular Music’s Mark Mackie, is down to several factors, not least the large student population and the fact that a high level of employment means the city remains affluent. “People are always looking for a night out,” he says. “We’re also well served with smaller venues and theatres, such as the Usher Hall [2,900] and Edinburgh Playhouse [3,035].” Acts the company has had at the Usher recently include Garbage, Christy Moore and Stereophonics, with The Proclaimers at the Playhouse. Other Regular shows include Bob Mould at The Liquid Room (650), Vintage Trouble, Kris Kristofferson, and the Average White Band at the Queen’s Hall (900) and Gavin James at The Mash House (250). Forthcoming Regular shows feature Striking Matches at La Belle Angèle (600), Brian Wilson at the Usher Hall, and The Cat Empire, Teddy Thompson and Eric Bibb at the Queen’s Hall. As well as being one of the city’s longest-serving promoters, Mackie is also behind the successful Castle Concerts (8,500), which this year will feature two nights from Stereophonics – with tickets from £50, and one night each for Simply Red and Runrig (tickets at £45 and £50). The Stereophonics and Runrig shows are already sold out.

Mark Mackie

Adam Knight

For the business people behind contemporary live music

12 October 2016

quarter page Summit.indd 1

24/03/2016 15:54 April 2016 • Issue 195 •

32 I city limits However, the company continues to be active in the city, promoting Creeper and The Amorettes in The Mash House, Deaf Havana in La Belle Angèle, Dan Andriano at The Electric Circus (250), and Don Broco, New Found Glory and New Model Army in The Liquid Room. “The big advantage of The Picture House was the fact it was slightly bigger than the O2 ABC [1,300] in Glasgow and smaller than Barrowland (1,900), so you could convince bands that were doing the ABC to go to The Picture House, which had a similar set-up,” says Gray. “We used to have a lot of really good stuff in there, it was doing a good job, but we’ve now been left with a hole for our stuff as to where to go with it. There’s the Queen’s Hall, but that’s a different kind of gig. It’s not really one for a rock ’n’ roll show.” Edinburgh Playhouse

Karl Chapman

Acts who have appeared at Castle Concerts in the past include Leonard Cohen, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Blondie and Rod Stewart. Mackie is, however, quick to point out that, while live music remains buoyant across Edinburgh, there is clearly a gap in the market. “We need a city centre-based 1,500-capacity venue,” he says. “A standing venue would be perfect.”

Lost gem

The loss of The Picture House, which closed at the beginning of 2014, has affected some promoters more than others, with Triple G Music’s Duncan Gray now putting on more shows in Aberdeen than Edinburgh.

Investing In quality

One of the most exciting things about Edinburgh, says of Playhouse general manager Adam Knight, is that as well as boasting a wide range of iconic venues of historic and cultural significance to Scottish audiences, it maintains a major international profile as a destination city. “Underpinning the collection of large and small-scale venues ranging from castles to converted churches and caves - is a proud tradition of locally based promoters that represent artistes of worldwide appeal,” he says. As the UK’s largest seated theatre, over the years local and national promoters have brought a wide array of acts to the venue, including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Queen, Tom Waits and U2, while more recent guests have included Burt Bacharach (promoted by Senbla), Nick Cave, The Proclaimers (both Regular),



Mark Mackie

+44 131 525 6700

Barry Wright +44 131 561 3380 Thurs 14Th July 2016

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Edinburgh Castle Concerts has staged many great shows over recent years including: Leonard Cohen, Blondie, Arcade Fire, Bryan Ferry, Pink, Duran Duran, Paul Simon, The Proclaimers, Rod Stewart, Girls Aloud, James Taylor, Tom Jones, Ricky Gervais, Runrig, Il Divo, Elton John, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Paul Weller, Boyzone, Lionel Ritchie and many more.

Now looking for artists for July 2017 April 2016 • Issue 195 •

Exploring the live music networks in our key cities and towns I city

limits I 33

Paul Weller (3A Entertainment), John Barrowman (DF Concerts) and The ‘80s Invasion Tour, featuring Big Country, Midge Ure, Nick Heyward and Curiosity Killed The Cat (Tony Denton Promotions). Forthcoming shows include Scouting For Girls, Hue & Cry (both Radio Forth promoted), The Chicago Blues Brothers (Miracle Entertainment) and Showaddywaddy (Handshake). Improving facilities for visiting artistes and audiences has been a priority for Knight and his team, with major investment made across the venue, Improvements include a complete re-seating of the stalls, dressing rooms upgrades, refurbishment of the venue’s five bars - including the creation of a piano bar with bistro style restaurant, suitable for post-show entertaining, Wi-Fi provision and a digital at-seat, app-based ordering facility.

The perfect place

With up to 200 concerts a year, the Usher Hall also plays an integral part in the city’s music scene. Acts playing the venue, which promotes approximately 25 per cent of shows in-house, include Kaiser Chiefs, Caro Emerald, Deacon Blue, Bryan Ferry (all DF), The War on Drugs (PCL Presents), Dr Hook (Synergy Concerts), The Australian Pink Floyd (SJM Concerts ) and Tindersticks (in-house). “There’s a huge sense of pride among Edinburgh people in what the Usher Hall stands for, which is, as its benefactor Andrew Usher put it, to provide the perfect place to hear good music,” says general manager Karl Chapman. “It has stood the test of time, and is felt by those who have used it over the years – the Edinburgh Festival, the resident orchestras, and other promoters – to be the jewel in Edinburgh’s cultural crown. Someone from the Philharmonia Orchestra once said to

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay concert 2015

me it was the sort of venue you wanted to pick up and drop in the middle of London.” In February, the Hall also hosted the latest MIA meeting, chaired by councillor Norma Austin Hart, the vice-convener for culture at the City of Edinburgh Council, which owns and operates the venue. “Edinburgh has a colourful, healthy live music scene and [the] recent research by the University of Edinburgh tells us there is a huge demand from residents and visitors to attend gigs in the city all year round,” she says. “As a local authority which values the arts, it’s important we listen to this community to sustain Edinburgh’s cultural vibrancy.”

Norma Austin Hart



April 2016 • Issue 195 •

34 I city limits

The Liquid Room

Festival highlight

Pete Irvine

Nic Ross

If there is one night when the world’s spotlight falls on Edinburgh’s musical culture it’s 31 December, with the city’s annual Hogmanay event drawing around 75,000 people, organised by veteran promoter Pete Irvine of Unique Events, and beamed to millions of people worldwide. Last year’s Concert In The Gardens featured Biffy Clyro, Idlewild and Honeyblood, with tickets at £49.50 and £55, while admission to the city centre Street Party, which featured four stages, cost £25. Rura and Peatbog Faeries performed on The Castle Street Stage, while Maximo Park, Slaves and White took to The Waverley Stage. Irvine, who co-founded Regular Music with Barry Wright in the late 1970s, describes the Hogmanay event as “one of the UK’s biggest music festivals”, is another promoter who believes the problems with complaints from residents living near venues has had an adverse effect on the city’s music scene. “This restricts not only opportunities to hear bands, but the progress and careers of the musicians themselves,” he says.

Options abound

For all the challenges facing Edinburgh, some promoters believe there are positives to come out of the various issues. “The loss of The Picture House helped musicians and gig-goers alike to realise that we’re all in it for the same reason - to unite the scene and make Edinburgh the best music city it can be,” says La Belle Angèle promoter Nic Ross. The venue itself has faced a major challenge. Closed for more than a decade after the Cowgate fire of 2002, it reopened in October 2014. Prior to closure, the venue hosted acts such as Oasis, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead and The Libertines, while more recent visitors have included Sleaford Mods (PCL), Turin Brakes (Beyond

Presents), Dead Prez, The Xcerts and Puddle of Mudd (all in-house). As well as La Belle Angèle, artistes have a wide range of venues to choose from at club level, including The Liquid Room, The Electric Circus and the aforementioned Sneaky Pete’s, co-owned by Glasgow-based promoter Paul Cardow of PCL Presents. With up to 90 shows a year, those currently playing The Liquid Room include Blossoms, Fatherson, Scouting For Girls, Jack Garratt, The View and The Bluetones (all DF). “Our [tech] spec is second to none,” says the venue’s events manager Jon Spaczynksi. “We have artistes that come back time and time again because it’s so good.” Being located near Waverley Station has its advantages for The Electric Circus, which hosts around 200 shows a year. “We find we have a lot of custom from outside Edinburgh because of this, with audiences travelling from Fife, Dundee and even Aberdeen and Inverness recently,” says promoter Dan Druce, who lists Fine Creature, Boohoohoo and Golden Arm as local emerging acts worth watching. Those currently playing the venue include We Were Promised Jetpacks, Little Comets, Gang Starr Foundation, Molotov Jukebox, (all in-house), Josef Salvat (PCL), Blackalicious (Synergy), Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, and Malcolm Middleton (all DF). While Sneaky Pete’s Nick Stewart admits Edinburgh can be a tough sell at times, he says its diverse scene ensures a steady stream of artistes, with up to 200 shows a year in his venue. These have included Black Honey, Yuck, Holy Wave and Heaters (all inhouse promotions). “For a venue of our size we have outstanding production but we are still an affordable hire,” adds Stewart, who points to local acts 131 Northside, Luna Delirious and Monticule as ones to watch. “We are very much in demand, often hosting live shows for two weeks in a row without a day off.”

Unique perspective

Unique’s Pete Irvine is well-placed to sum up the current state of the market he first started promoting in nearly 40 years ago. “There’s been a lot of talk recently as to whether we’re a ‘music city’,” says Irvine. “Generally, it’s felt that Glasgow, with the SSE Hydro [13,000] and more music venues at all levels and its long history of bands, has a more vibrant music scene. “As in many other ways, Edinburgh is different. It rightly proclaims itself as not just a ‘festival city’. In August there’s probably more live music in Edinburgh’s streets and clubs - and literally hundreds of new venues - than anywhere in Europe. “But the challenge is to foster and sustain, that energy throughout the year.”

12 October 2016 TEASER quarter page Awards.indd 1

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

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Heather Small Artistes




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a guide to artistes, tours & agents tour plans I 37 Artistes


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T 020 7733 0508 T 020 7278 3331 T 020 7359 9232

Katherine Jenkins Artistes Sam Lee Skerryvore Sidestepper Silent Disco System 7 10cc The Dunwells The King is Back Tinarwen Tipitina Tom Russell Toploader




Jul David Flower T 020 7359 9232 SASA Music Jul-Nov Chris Wade T 01377 217 662 Adastra Music Jul David Flower T 020 7359 9232 SASA Music Jul Dan Silver T 020 7704 9720 Value Added Talent Jul-Oct Dan Silver T 020 7704 9720 Value Added Talent Jul-Aug, Steve Parker T 020 7935 9222 Oct-Nov Miracle Artists Jul-Sep Sarah Casey T 020 87414 453 The Leighton-Pope Organisation Jul Mark Lundquist T 01483 224118 Mark Lundquist Concert Promotions Jul David Flower SASA Music Jul-Dec Tim Jennings Big Bear Music Oct Bob Paterson BPA Live Jul-Aug Mark Lundquist Mark Lundquist Concert Promotions

T 020 7359 9232 T 0121 454 7020 T 01359 230 357 T 01483 224118

The details shown above have been compiled from information provided to LIVE UK and whilst we make every reasonable effort to ensure accuracy, we cannot be held responsible if data is incorrect.

April 2016 • issue 195 •

38 I backstage stars Backstage



Keith Wood As a veteran tour manager, promoter’s rep, stage and site manager, Keith Wood has worked with artistes such as Genesis, Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Celine Dion, Bob Dylan, Prince, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Leonard Cohen, to name a few. He was also acoustic stage manager at Glastonbury for three years and had managed stadium shows for the Rolling Stones, U2 and Bon Jovi, and has an extensive working knowledge of tour and venue merchandising. What are your first live music memories?

“Starting in 1974, I became a regular gig-goer from age of 14 whilst at school, and every weekend I would go to see bands like Thin Lizzy, Status Quo and Deep Purple at venues such as The Rainbow and Marquee in London and Southend’s Kursal Ballroom. “I loved large scale events and productions such as Led Zeppelin at Knebworth, The Who at Wembley Stadium and Pink Floyd at Earls Court. “I went on to study Electroaccoustics at Salford University in 1977, with a view to working in recording studios, the BBC or possibly touring and live sound . During my time at university I got involved with the Students Union and became Social Secretary [entertainments organiser] in 1979, promoting bands such as The Jam, Ian Dury, Blondie and Boomtown Rats.”

How did you get into the music business?

“After I left university in 1980, I wanted to continue in the promoting business and so approached all the companies of that era, and was fortunately taken on by Adrian Hopkins Promotions [AHP]. Adrian was one of the first 360-degree thinkers, as he not only promoted, but managed artistes, had publishing and a record label along with a tour merchandising company and ran music venues, so I got a very quick education in a wide range of areas. “On my first day I had to go to Top of the Pops as AHP were involved with Thin Lizzy who were appearing on the show. Then the first tour I went out on was Genesis, followed by Ozzy Osbourne, Peter Gabriel and on to tour managing Johnny Cash.

April 2016 • Issue 195 •

LIVE UK intervie ws key people who help shape our industry

How did your career develop?

“After returning from a year on the road with Dire Straits, I left AHP in 1993 after 13 years and joined Solo. I had a great time over the following seven years working with John Giddings and so many major artistes – Phil Collins, David Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Genesis, Sex Pistols – and started running stadium shows and site management for the first Princes Trust Party In The Park, which drew 100,000 people. “For a while I was seconded to global promoters Arthur Fogel and Steve Howard at TNA [in Canada], to do stadium site management on U2’s Popmart European tour. “I also worked with Asgard, 3A and ITB, working with acts such as Elvis Costello, Yes, Bob Dylan, Robert Plant, Diana Ross and the Simon and Garfunkel reunion in Hyde Park. “In 2004 I was approached by AEG Live to run the Bon Jovi stadium tour, which resulted in me joining them full-time. We did tours with Beyoncé, Rod Stewart ,The Who, Prince, Guns N’Roses and several more with Bon Jovi outdoor tours around Europe, plus site management of various festivals. ”We also co-promoted Capital Radio’s Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium and then Emirates Stadium for five years.”

What have been your greatest highs and lows?

“I was dealing with Michael Jackson’s This is It production and the planned 50 shows at The 02 and his demise during rehearsals was a great shock and loss to everyone involved, and anyone who loves music.

“As for highpoints, I really enjoyed my time with U2 and the Popmart tour and learned a lot about multiple stages leap-frogging across Europe. “A refreshing change was being involved in producing the Jesus Christ Superstar arena tour, as working with the theatre sector is quite different. Managing the production build and budgets, as well as taking it on tour was another sharp learning curve. “I am also really proud of being tech production manager for The Invictus Games concert with Foo Fighters and Bryan Adams at the Olympic Park.”

How do you wind down?

“Mainly by sleeping more. “Last year was my first summer with nothing much on, so I went to classic car events at Goodwood and Silverstone, and to Monaco for the Grand Prix. I would love to own a classic car and have been saving for the day. “I’m also a director and treasurer of the Production Services Association, which has 1,500 members and lobbies government on production issues. “The industry has changed a lot over my 36 years, with health and safety far more important these days. It’s good to be able to put my knowledge to good use and help the next generation coming through.”



TEL: +44 20 7252 0001 EMAIL: JIMM@MUSICBANK.ORG EMAIL: JULIE@MUSICBANK.ORG WEB: WWW.MUSICBANK.ORG Find us on Part of the SPZ Group – Photograph © Julie Estival



Illustrious venue at the heart of Scotland’s capital city with a reputation for sell-out performances. Over the past 40 years we have hosted performances by Queen, Elton John, The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Billy Connolly, Michael McIntyre, Tom Waits, Neil Young, Tina Turner, Kylie Minogue, Bon Jovi, Deep Purple, Kiss, Chris Rock and Little Mix. Full in-house Box Office, Marketing, Front of House and Technical support. For programming enquiries, please email or call 0207 534 6190.

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