James, who left WME earlier this year, will work with ITB's Rod MacSween, as well as developing her own roster
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The ex-UTA agent and Orange Goblin frontman is the latest agent to strike out on his own, joining forces with manager Jules Chenoweth for Route One
By IQ on 03 Nov 2020
Veteran rock agent Ben Ward, formerly of United Talent Agency in London, has launched a new booking agency, Route One Booking, alongside co-director Jules Chenoweth.
“I’ve always wanted to set up my own booking agency and have the freedom to operate exactly how our artists want,” explains Ward, who is also vocalist in enduring heavy metal act Orange Goblin. “I feel that given the current climate in the live music industry, that time is now.
“Working for 25 years as an artist, a manager, a tour manager and a booking agent, I have the insight and experience that is needed and have seen this business from all angles. Alongside Jules at Route One Booking, I feel that we have the right people and the right tools to start looking at new ideas and initiatives in this challenging time to ensure that our artists and bands continue to be creative and entertaining.
“Our clients are our main focus – we work so that they can work, and if they don’t work, then there is no business. Despite the uncertainty regarding a return to the live music scene as we knew it before the pandemic, this is an exciting time to be launching this new venture.”
The new agency’s roster includes the likes of influential punks Discharge, fuzz-rock legends Fu Manchu, Canadian thrash act Voivod and country artist-producer Shooter Jennings, alongside emerging acts such as King Creature, Video Nasties, Daxx and Roxane and Blind River.
“I’ve always wanted to set up my own booking agency and have the freedom to operate exactly how our artists want”
In addition to bookings, Route One offers clients transport options for touring, backline, and links to digital music distribution company RouteNote, of which Chenoweth is a board member.
The company also owns the Yard in Cornwall, where it recently produced a successful socially distanced outdoor show with 250 people headlined by King Creature.
Before joining UTA’s predecessor, the Agency Group, in 2015, Ward worked at management company One Fifteen, looking after the affairs of artists such as Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and Jools Holland. In 2016, he gained national recognition after initiating a fundraising campaign to money for the staff of music magazine publisher Team Rock, who were made unemployed when the company was placed into administration. He and his wife later received a Metal Hammer Award in recognition of their efforts.
Truro-based Route One Booking is the latest new agency launch amid the turmoil of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and the third announced to date in the UK, following Runway Artists, launched by Matt Hanner (ex-ATC Live) in the spring, and ex-CAA agent Jon Ollier’s yet-unnamed new venture. In the US, Arrival Artists, Mint Talent Group and TBA Agency have all come to market in recent months.
“Route One Booking is born out of determination and enterprise at a time when the proverbial chips are down,” comments Chenoweth, who also manages King Creature. “In my experience of business, these occasions are the perfect spawning grounds for a new dynamic business approach, and a time to apply new exciting processes and ideas.
“With Ben Ward at the helm, Route One Booking will be dynamic and different. Over time it will grow and become a leading independent booking agency, carved out of the ashes of the now, to be the foundation of the future.”
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