LIVE UK, a sister publication to AUDIENCE, is the only publication dedicated to the country’s contemporary live music business, providing news, features, tour plans and information to the people that drive the industry – promoters, festival organisers, venue operators, artiste managers, booking agents, ticketing companies, media and key professionals in dozens of related sectors.

 

Summit Report 2014

Creating Identity

Venues for Hire; Making it Happen saw Rebecca Kane, general manager of The O2 in London, Steve Forster of venue operator VMS Live and Mark Blackstock of Wolverhampton Civic Hall discuss the components required to stage a successful show.

“The sound, the acoustics, the facilities that you have backstage; all of that is important, but I’d go one step further and say creating a sense of place and having an identity, having some credibility – is important because artistes make a lot of decisions about where they play now,” said Kane.

“George Michael, for example, always wants to play Earls Court because that’s the last place he played when he was in Wham! So we spend a lot of time thinking about the sense of place, what buzz, what ambience we can create, because people remember that.”

Forster recalled his three-year stint managing London’s Brixton Academy in the late ‘90s. “The perception that Brixton was always this incredibly busy place didn’t happen overnight,” he pointed out.

“We went from 50 gigs in one year to 90 gigs the next year, to 120 the year after. They’re probably doing in excess of 200 shows a year now and that’s probably not far off the maximum that it can do, based on the level of talent that’s currently there.

“You have to give artistes and agents confidence in the backstage and front-of-house, a reason to go to a venue, then it’s a relatively easy job to convince people.”

The second half of the venues double-header: Venues for Hire: Supply & Demand, featured The O2’s 

programming director Emma Bownes, VMS Live commercial director Carl Bathgate, The Forum Hertfordshire’s Lee Welsh and Stuart Ellerker of London’s 229 The Venue.

Regarding the most ridiculous thing an act had requested for their rider, Welsh said alternative rock band Phantom Planet asked for a human skull, Bownes revealed James Brown asked for a ‘70s-style hairdryer, while Ellerker said glam metal band Steel Panther requested specific hairspray for their wigs.

Other panels included The Social Network, which looked into opportunities offered by the internet, The Discovery Panel, which focused on how to find and develop new talent, and Backing the B(r)and, a session about sponsorship partnerships.

Who Dares Wins discussed the changing role of artiste managers, All Together Now heard from proactive record labels working with live sector, while Media That Matters investigated how live music can make more of TV, radio and press.

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