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Please don’t let us down, Prime Minister

Dear Boris,

I’m a director of Britannia Row Productions, an audio supply company.

During the past 40 years, we have been privileged to have provided equipment and technicians to many major concert artists, including Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, the Cure, Depeche Mode, Robbie Williams, Simply Red, Mumford and Sons and Harry Styles, and live events such as Her Majesty’s Golden and Diamond Jubilees, Live 8, the Barcelona and London Olympics, the Rugby World Cup and the FA Cup finals.

We currently employ around 70 staff and 100 freelance people, with most of our staff currently on furlough.

As well as providing the most state-of-the-art equipment, we supply audio engineers and technicians, and over the years both our company and many of our people have gained an international reputation for excellence in our field.

I, like most of my colleagues who provide these services, prefer to be in the background and have never sought or received assistance from government in the past, but the current crisis in our industry has compelled me to step forward and make a direct and public plea for you to help the hundreds of thousands of people who work in our industry.

Please don’t lay waste to an industry that brings enormous enjoyment to simply being alive

Boris, when you and your colleagues go to a concert, you expect a visual and audio experience to enhance the performance of your favourite performer, but perhaps don’t give much thought as to how all of these amazing visuals and stirring sounds are achieved. Quite rightly, you simply enjoy the moment.

Well, the reality is that behind the scenes, hundreds of people will have made that show possible. The artists, and their managers and production crew, have worked for months with lighting video and audio designers to produce shows that will thrill their fans and ensure concert spend is boosting the economy.

Promoters have been appointed to provide the venues to accommodate these performances.

Service companies have been chosen to provide the production expertise, the equipment, technicians, stagehands, security, catering, etc., etc., to make these events happen safely and seamlessly, every night, and on time.

The skills involved don’t just happen; they take years of training and experience to acquire.

British technicians are famed throughout the world. These skills will be lost if people leave our industry in desperation

British technicians are famed throughout the world. These skills will be lost if people leave our industry in desperation as they seek other work in order to feed themselves and their families.

I often hear you and your colleagues talk of the ‘hard-working’ people in the UK. Well, the people in my industry do work hard and are essential to a sector which contributes literally billions to our economy.

Please, don’t let them down – support them until we can find a way to bring back our live concerts and events. We don’t live by bread alone, as the old saying goes.

Please don’t lay waste to an industry that brings enormous enjoyment to simply being alive.

Bryan Grant

 


Bryan Grant is co-founder and director of Britannia Row Productions.

Clair Global gets US’s biggest Main Street loan

Clair Global, a US-based company which provides amplification and tour support to the world’s biggest artists and music festivals, has borrowed US$71 million from the Main Street Lending scheme – the largest loan of its kind in the country, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer

The $600 billion taxpayer-backed programme was designed by the federal government to help sustain mid-sized businesses until they recover from the economic disruption caused by the pandemic.

Last year, Clair Global provided sound and support services to the Top 10 grossing tours, including Rolling Stones, Elton John, Ariana Grande and Pink.

Troy Clair, president and CEO of Clair Global, said in a statement that “the loan is proportional to the devastation the industry has felt over the last seven months,” but did not disclose how the $71 million will be deployed.

Funds from the Main Street program must be repaid but in the event of a default, it’s taxpayers’ money at risk

The Main Street Lending Program was devised as part of financial rescue legislation in the spring to help businesses that are too big to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but too small to benefit from the Federal Reserve’s big purchases of corporate debt.

Unlike the PPP program’s forgivable loans, funds from the Main Street program must be repaid. Loan standards are also more selective, requiring participants to have been in good financial shape with manageable debt before the pandemic.

Banks write loans under the programme but are then able to hand 95% of that debt off to the Fed, so they have fewer assets at risk. In the event of a default, it’s mostly the taxpayers’ money, not the bank’s, that runs the risk of not being repaid.

Clair Global also got between $5 million and $10 million in a PPP loan, records show.

Last month, Clair Global acquired US-based company Eighth Day Sound, adding to its umbrella, which includes Britannia Row Productions in the UK, JPJ in Australia, and AudioRent Clair AG in Switzerland.

 


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25th Arthur Awards: all the winners

The 25th anniversary of the Arthur Awards, the international live music industry’s answer to the Oscars, took place at London’s Sheraton Grand Park Lane last night.

The awards – which have a voting pool of over 6,000 of the world’s leading concert business professionals – took place in front of a 350-strong sell-out crowd at the magical ILMC Gala Hou-dinner.

Glastonbury’s Ben Challis hosted the special anniversary ceremony, which saw a line up of guest presenters including WME Entertainment partner Michele Bernstein and WME agent Kara James.

X-ray Touring partner Steve Strange, Artist Group International president Marsha Vlasic and NEC Group chairman Phil Mead were among the list of guest presenters.

“It was wonderful to see the great and good of the international live business rubbing shoulders to recognise their peers”

“The 25th Arthur Awards were an amazing celebration of the talent we have in our industry, which brings joy to so many millions around the world,” says ILMC head Greg Parmley.

“With thousands of votes cast and counted, it was wonderful to see the great and good of the international live business rubbing shoulders to recognise their peers.”

The full list of winners are below:

Venue (First Venue To Come Into Your Head)
Royal Albert Hall, UK

Promoter (The Promoters’ Promoter)
Folkert Koopmans, FKP Scorpio

Festival (Liggers’ Favourite Festival)
British Summer Time Hyde Park, UK

Agent (Second Least Offensive Agent)
Lucy Dickins, ITB

Production Services (Services Above and Beyond)
PRG

Professional Services (Most Professional Professional)
Selina Emeny, Live Nation

New Gig on the Block (New Event)
Mad Cool Festival, Spain

Assistant (The People’s Assistant)
Claire Bewers, Coda Agency

Ticketing (The Golden Ticket)
CTS Eventim

New Business Talent (Tomorrow’s New Boss)
Kevin Jergensen, ICM Partners

Best in Show (Family Show)
Cirque du Soleil

The Bottle Award
Bryan Grant, Britannia Row

 


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