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Festival chiefs preview the upcoming season

The cost of living crisis, an oversaturated market and rising costs threaten to create a “recipe for disaster” for the first full festival season since 2019, it has been claimed.

ILMC’s Festival Forum: New lands, new adventures panel heard divergent views from event bosses on prospects for this summer, with the public’s appetite for returning to music shows evident, but two years of lockdown and restrictions throwing up a litany of new problems.

UTA agent Beth Morton moderated the illuminating debate starring Eric van Eerdenburg of Mojo Concerts (NL), Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts (UK), Sophie Lobl of C3 Presents (US), Henrik Bondo Nielsen of Roskilde Festival (DK), Stephan Thanscheidt of FKP Scorpio (DE) and Reshad Hossenally of Festicket’s Event Genius ticketing and event technology platform.

Event Genius COO Hossenally said that, despite the anticipated rush for concert tickets after two lost years to Covid-19, other issues were cropping up.

“People don’t trust that everything is back to normal yet”

“There are a hell of a lot of shows and it’s almost a bit of a recipe for disaster because you’ve got costs going up, a lot of tickets being carried across and a huge amount of competition,” he said. “The other part is people are being told they don’t have any money in the press. I think you’ll see the buying pattern starting to become a lot later. People don’t trust that everything is back to normal yet.

“We ran a global survey and 75% of people said that they want to understand what the cancellation policies are. Before, that would have been an impulse buy – people didn’t even look at terms and conditions beforehand. The decision of buying a festival ticket now is a lot more considered. So as a festival promoter, I suspect it must be quite a scary road to see that we’re not selling as quickly.”

Roskilde head of safety and service Bondo Nielsen referenced complaints from some of his European contemporaries regarding fan behaviour since the restart, with the pandemic resulting in a lag in younger consumers attending their first festival.

“What I hear is that people talk about inexperienced audience and that they are not behaving well,” he said. “My view is that, as a festival organiser, it’s your job to manage the audience that you invite. So if they don’t behave well, you have to teach them.”

“Costs are going up at least 25% from 2019 prices”

Ellis, who heads up events such as Scotland’s Transmt, responded: “You’ve got gig veterans, and then you always get new people coming in – 16 to 17-year-olds coming along for the first time – and I think they get carried along and looked after by the older members of the audience a bit. It is a real community spirit that you get, no matter what the festival is. They’re all there for the same purpose: to enjoy music, and the shared experience of being at an event.”

Ellis considered increasing costs, exacerbated by supply chain and staffing issues, as the biggest challenge for festivals going forward.

“Certainly in the UK, costs are going up at least 25% from 2019 prices, which is really difficult,” he said. “And it’s the scarcity of kit as well, so stages, barriers – we’re having to beg, borrow and steal barriers from different arenas, because there are so many shows on. There are shows that have moved from 2020, and didn’t happen in ’21, all happening, plus the festivals, plus the outdoor business that would have taken place in ’22.

“Also, staff – lots of stewards left the industry during the pandemic. Toilets, again, lots of sporting events are taking certainly the high end toilets, maybe not the actual portaloos but the flushable toilets and trailers, so that’s a real challenge.”

“People have hung on to their tickets for a couple of years, you can’t go back to them and ask for more money”

The promoter added that simply hiking up ticket prices was not an option for this year.

“People have hung on to their tickets for a couple of years, you can’t go back to them and ask for more money,” he said. “And we’re going into a cost of living crisis globally, with people having concerns about how they’re going to pay their energy bills and everything else. So some of it will have to be passed on going forward, but it’s too late for this year.

“I think we all have to try our best to get costs down and look at innovative ways of delivering things as well. We need suppliers to give us a bit of a break really.

“The positive thing is there was a recent survey in America showing what people are looking forward to getting back to most, and concerts was top of the list, so that’s reassuring. Obviously we’re all worried about how they’re going to afford to do it, but at least they want to go to concerts.”

“There are so many artists, coming out of Covid, that haven’t done a hard ticket tour”

The conversation later switched to social media’s influence on programming and its correlation to ticket sales.

“There is so much that we have to take into account that’s not just ticket sales,” revealed C3 and Live Nation global festival talent buyer Lobl. “Obviously socials, obviously TikTok, but the show we’re booking kind of determines what we look at.”

She continued: “There are so many artists, coming out of Covid, that haven’t done a hard ticket tour. If you take someone like Doja Cat, who has been one of our biggest artists at all of our festivals, and probably had the biggest crowd at Austin City Limits and in South America, hasn’t done her own hard ticket run yet.

“It’s also a lot more global now, which makes it more fun. But it also makes it a lot harder to navigate. For us, the Latin market has been huge and there’s a lot more global booking of really sizeable bands.”

“We have also analysing tools for social media,” noted FKP head of festival booking Thanscheidt. “You also have to do look at where are the likes and plays are coming from because if they’re coming from another part of the world, it’s nice for the band, but maybe not for us putting on a festival or a show with them. Also, not every Tiktok hype translates to the festivals we book.

“In general, you don’t want to go away from the history of the festival. But you also want to keep it modern and fresh and cool at the same time. In the end, booking is a process. It is, of course, influenced by other things nowadays, but it’s still a mixture of very different facts coming together.

“It also really depends on the festival – because if you have an older audience, TikTok and all that does not play the biggest role and vice-versa, so you have to look at it very individually to make the right decisions. You have to know your market and  your audiences because sometimes it’s hard to explain, especially to agents, why this act is working and the other one is not.”

“It’s not an exact science and it never has been”

Van Eerdenberg, director of Netherlands’ Lowlands festival, shared his own booking philosophy.

“We had discussions in our programming team about this, and we ended up saying quality is not the thing we measure, but whether people are reacting and responding to it,” he said. “You have to work with what you see happening online. But it’s difficult to determine the value of an act, especially when agents are very convincing.”

Ellis pointed out that hard ticket sales were not always a barometer of an artist’s value to a festival because their audience might steer away from outdoor shows.

“It’s not an exact science and it never has been,” he added. “It’s always been a bit of gut feel, a bit of scarcity – if somebody’s not doing shows they’re more valuable to a festival than if they are doing shows because there’s a pent up demand to see them.

“Over the years at T in the Park, an act like Tom Jones went down an absolute storm. His audience wouldn’t have particularly come to a music festival, but… we had 50,000 people in front of the main stage, singing along to him, and none of them had ever seen him before. With that kind of booking, if you tried to look at the TikTok figures, it wouldn’t have synced. There was a gut feel that it would go down well, and it went down well, but sometimes we get those things wrong and nobody’s watching the act.”

 


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DF Concerts reveals venue for Connect festival reboot

DF Concerts has announced the location for its revival of Connect, a music festival that took place in Argyll, Scotland, in the mid-noughties.

The reboot will take place at The Royal Highland Centre (RHC), an exhibition centre and showgrounds located near Edinburgh airport.

With more than 18,000m2 exhibition space and 110 acres of land, the RHC is said to be Scotland’s largest indoor and outdoor venue.

Festival manager Kate Lingard says the unique site will give them the opportunity to create a sustainable approach to the festival experience.

“One of the biggest attractions of our new home is the site’s permanent infrastructure and existing facilities. These play a crucial role in realising our sustainability ambitions for the festival,” says Lingard.

“One of the biggest considerations we had was around public transport and ensuring the event was accessible”

DF Concerts & Events CEO Geoff Ellis says the site’s accessibility by public transport will also feed into the festival’s green ambitions.

“One of the biggest considerations we had was around public transport and ensuring the event was accessible to festivalgoers from across the country,” he says.

“The Royal Highland Centre provides a purpose-built event site that is readily accessible by public transport for each of the three days. This not only makes it easy for festivalgoers to attend but hugely supports our ambition to deliver a more sustainable festival now and into the future.”

The festival, announced in November 2021, is slated to take place between 26–28 August 2022 but the line-up is yet to be announced.

DF says it will feature “the best in leftfield talent from grassroots through to the biggest names in the world”.

The promoter’s stable of events already includes Summer Sessions and TRNSMT, which will return to Glasgow Green in 2022 with headliners Paolo Nutini, The Strokes and Lewis Capaldi.

 


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Campaign to make Glasgow UK’s top music city

A new tourism campaign has launched to promote Glasgow’s music scene to potential visitors from across the UK.

Developed by Glasgow Life’s Destination Marketing team, the Glasgow: Music Nonstop initiative is designed to showcase the energy and vibrancy of the city’s live music offering, positioning it as a first-choice short break destination for music fans.

Created with £90,000 from VisitScotland’s Destination and Sector Marketing Fund, it is aimed at supporting the recovery and restart of Glasgow’s music and night-time industries in the wake of the pandemic, as well as spreading the wider message that the city’s tourism and hospitality sector is open for business.

Jim Clarkson, regional leadership director (West), VisitScotland, says the funding “will help to accelerate the sustainable recovery of the tourism sector in the Glasgow City Region in the medium to long-term, helping to reach new audiences within the domestic market”.

Running until the end of March, the scheme features a mix of targeted digital and social media advertising, PR activity and new music-themed content on the city’s official visitor website. A dedicated campaign landing page is available here.

“We’re on track to have the busiest summer on record for live music in Scotland”

Glasgow is Scotland’s only UNESCO City of Music and hosted an average of 130 gigs and music events every week, pre-Covid, contributing an estimated £75m each year to the city’s economy.

Glasgow Life has engaged with partners throughout the planning process, involving music industry figures in creative briefings; hosting a workshop to inspire businesses to come together and create new bookable music-themed visitor offers; and inviting businesses to have their say.

“Glasgow is a city world-renowned for its music scene, so it’s fantastic to see this investment from Glasgow Life to help support the recovery of the industry,” says Geoff Ellis, CEO of promoter DF Concerts. “We’re on track to have the busiest summer on record for live music in Scotland so it’s vitally important now that Glasgow’s music offering is put in the spotlight, which this campaign aims to do.”

Andrew Fleming-Brown, founder and MD of Glasgow venue SWG3, adds: “It’s been such a difficult couple of years for the sector so it’s really great to see music taking centre stage in the city’s marketing as we emerge from the pandemic. We’re very excited about our upcoming programme at SWG3 which we hope will not only attract the people of Glasgow, but also visitors from throughout Scotland, the UK and internationally.”

 


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LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Remembering this year’s queer pioneers

This year, IQ Magazine launched the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – the first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business.

The landmark list was the jewel in the crown of IQs first-ever Pride edition, which was published on Monday (28 June) and followed our Loud and Proud agency-curated playlist.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, are individuals that have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The inaugural cohort comprised agents, promoters, COOs, CEOs, event producers, wellness specialists, tour managers and more, all of whom identify as LGBTIQ+ and, in the face of adversity, have made enormous contributions to their respective sectors.

“IQ received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials”

In no particular order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 is:

Steven Braines, co-founder, He.She.They (UK). Full profile here.
Sean Hill, director of tour marketing, UTA (UK). Full profile here.
Zoe Williamson, agent, UTA (US). Full profile here.
Will Larnach-Jones, managing director/head of bookings, Iceland Airwaves (IE). Full profile here.
Raven Twigg, promoter assistant, Metropolis Music/founder, Women Connect (UK). Full profile here.
Nadu Placca, global event & experience architect, The Zoo XYZ (UK). Full profile here.
Maxie Gedge, Keychange project manager, PRS Foundation (UK). Full profile here.
Mark Fletcher, CEO, Manchester Pride (UK). Full profile here.
Maddie Arnold, associate promoter, Live Nation (UK). Full profile here.
Lauren Kirkpatrick, promoter assistant, DF Concerts (UK). Full profile here.
Laura Nagtegaal, guitar technician and tour manager, MsGyver (NL). Full profile here.
Joanne Croxford, wellness + diversity specialist/ live touring/ tour assistant (UK)
James Murphy, chief operating officer North America, See Tickets (US). Full profile here.
Guy Howes, music partnerships executive, CAA (UK). Full profile here.
Doug Smith, SVP field operations UK & Ireland, Ticketmaster (UK). Full profile here.
Chris Ibbs, agent, CAA (UK). Full profile here.
Leigh Millhauser, coordinator, Wasserman Music (US). Full profile here.
Austin Sarich, director of touring, Live Nation (US). Full profile here.
Daniel Brown, event producer/programmer, Birmingham Pride (UK). Full profile here.
Rauha Kyyrö, head promoter, Fullsteam Agency (FI). Full profile here.

“I never imagined I’d be so thrilled to see my inbox soar into triple digits – that is until we opened nominations for the LGBTIQ+ List 2021,” says IQ staff writer Lisa Henderson, who guest-edited the Pride issue. “We received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials from across the business but, thanks to the help of our revered steering committee, we’ve ended up with 20 exemplary individuals who continually prove that diversity is the industry’s greatest strength.”

Subscribers can read the entire Pride edition (issue 101) of IQ Magazine now.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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DF Concerts to reboot Connect festival

DF Concerts & Events is to revive Connect, a music festival that took place in Argyll, Scotland, in the mid-noughties.

The three-day festival was held in 2007 and 2008 on the grounds of Inveraray Castle and featured headliners including Beastie Boys, Björk and Franz Ferdinand.

The Scottish promoter says Connect 2022 is “an entirely new festival experience but retains many of the qualities of its namesake from 2007 & 2008”.

Connect 2022 is “an entirely new festival experience but retains many of the qualities of its namesake from 2007 & 2008”

The festival is slated to take place between 26–28 August 2022 but its line-up and location are yet to be announced.

DF says it will feature “the best in leftfield talent from grassroots through to the biggest names in the world”.

“There will be a plethora of bands, DJs, artists, performers, comedians, jesters, visual arts and installations that will be keeping you amused throughout the weekend as well as culinary delights and crafted drinks from local artisans,” reads a statement from the promoter. More information about Connect 2022 will be announced soon.

DF Concerts’ stable of events already includes Summer Sessions and TRNSMT, which will return to Glasgow Green in 2022 with headliners Paolo Nutini, The Strokes and Lewis Capaldi.

 


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Live music to set the stage for COP26 Glasgow

Live music will play a supporting role in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (aka COP26), in Glasgow, this month.

The summit will take place between 31 October and 12 November at the Scottish Event Campus, the site of the nation’s flagship live music venue, the newly renamed OVO Hydro (cap. 13,000).

Running alongside the conference is a three-day fringe festival, Beyond The Green, celebrating music, the arts and sustainability.

The fringe festival will include a not-for-profit event combining live performances and conference sessions, led by sustainable events specialist UMA Entertainment (UMAE).

The 6 November event will involve a day of panels from climate experts and thought leaders across NGOs, youth activism, music and the entertainment industry, including several LIVE Green working group members.

UMA Entertainment’s event will feature performances from acclaimed artists Aurora, Sam Fischer and BEMZ

Speakers include A Greener Festival director Teresa Moore, Beggars Group head of sustainability Will Hutton, Tyndall Centre deputy director Professor Carly McLachlan and Groove Armada’s Andy Cato.

Performances from acclaimed artists Aurora, Sam Fischer and BEMZ will be followed by an after-show event with sets from Cato, Sarra Wild and Darwin.

UMAE, which is chaired by Live Aid promoter Harvey Goldsmith, is working on the event with partners including Future for Humanity, Ivy Farm, Stabal, PRS, PPL, Ecosia, Count Us In, Bluedot Festival, Julie’s Bicycle, LIVE Green, and Featured Artists Coalition.

“We are thrilled to be leading on the conversation of culture and entertainment and the role it plays in driving change at scale at COP26, a pivotal event in the climate crisis,” says Harvey Goldmsith. “This event is the cornerstone of what’s to come from UMA in our mission to produce events that push the global climate agenda forward.”

LIVE Green chair John Langford added: “In the wake of Live Green unveiling a suitability charter for the live music industry, it’s encouraging to see so many artists, their representatives and other influential personalities taking a clear stand against climate change at COP 26.”

Earth Aid, Music Managers Forum, Positive Impact, Exit [Live], EarthPercent, Music Declares Emergency and Beggars Group are also associated.

All profits from the ticketed event will be donated to official charity partner EarthPercent founded by Brian Eno, and social impact charities in Glasgow.

Also running alongside COP26 is a new concert series to help “turn the tide on the climate crisis”, organised by leading Scottish promoter DF concerts and Project Zero.

Concerts for Climate will feature some of the biggest names in Scottish music including Twin Atlantic and Admiral Fallow

The series, Concerts for Climate, will feature some of the biggest names in Scottish music including Twin Atlantic, Admiral Fallow, the Ninth Wave, Rachel Sermanni, Rura, Blue Rose Code, Tamzene and The National Youth Pipe Band.

The event will take place at Scottish venue King Tuts Wah Wah Hut on 11 November, and is set to become the first in a series of global music events produced by Project Zero.

All proceeds from the Concerts for Climate series will fund a global network of projects that protect and restore the ocean and blue carbon ecosystems (mangroves, seagrass meadows and tidal marshes).

“We are honoured to host the very first Project Zero Concert at King Tut’s, in the host city of COP26, Glasgow,” says Susan Kerr, King Tut’s.

“It is so important that we tackle climate change now and, this concert series will help draw attention to the fact our oceans are our biggest weapon in fighting the climate emergency.”

Tickets for Concerts for Climate go on sale tomorrow (22 October) at 10.00 BST.

COP26 comes a month after LIVE Green launched the ‘Beyond Zero Declaration’ to reduce net emissions across the UK’s live music business to zero by 2030. The declaration and charter has been signed by the 13 key associations representing the various sectors of the business.

 


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Scotland to implement vaccine passports for large events

Vaccine passports may be legally required to enter certain events in Scotland from later this month, in a bid to ‘help stem the recent surge in the number of Covid cases’.

Pending approval from MPs, the new vaccine certification rules will mean people over the age of 18 will need to show they have had both doses of the vaccine before they are allowed entry to:

Medical exemptions will apply but proof of immunity or a negative test will not be accepted – something which DF Concerts boss Geoff Ellis disputes.

“It’s important that the [passport] includes lateral flow testing and immunity as well as double vaccination + 2 weeks for reasons of practicality and non-discrimination,” Ellis tells IQ.

“If [vaccine passports] are necessary then it should also be applied widely and not just for live music and nightclubs”

“If it’s necessary – which we are led to believe in Scotland that it is – then it should also be applied widely and not just for live music and nightclubs.

“That way it will be more effective in reaching [the government’s] goals by keeping the virus to manageable levels. If that’s the case then I think the live industry as a whole will support this as a temporary measure – DF Concerts certainly will,” Ellis concludes.

The government have not announced a specific date for the introduction of vaccine certification but they have stated this will only happen when all adults have been given the opportunity to receive both vaccines later this month.

Scottish MPs are due to debate and vote on the regulation in parliament next week. If the policy is passed, it will be reviewed every three weeks in line with other Covid regulations.

A similar debate is underway in England, where the government has said it will press ahead with plans to introduce vaccine passports for nightclubs and other crowded indoor venues from the end of next month.

Scottish MPs are due to debate and vote on the regulation in parliament next week

John Sharkey, executive VP, European operations, ASM Global, commented for IQ: “We believe that public health and the safety of our patrons should be at the forefront of everyone’s thinking as we begin to live with Covid in society. However, our industry, which has been largely closed for nearly 18 months, should also have equality and proportionality applied to it in line with other parts of the economy such as retail, transport and other areas of public life.

“If the government is looking to implement measures that are beyond this equity and proportionality test then they should be clearly stating why the measures are needed and also provide support to the industry in the implementation of such measures.”

A spokesperson from the O2 in London added: “The O2 has taken the decision to implement the NHS Covid Pass and we’ve found strong fan support and compliance with this measure since our events restarted and we will continue to apply it moving forward.

“There are however a number of unanswered questions about how those unable to obtain a vaccination are to be handled, so we urge the government to consult constructively with the industry to iron out these circumstances before any plans are finalised.”

 


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Scotland’s TRNSMT festival permitted to go ahead

Scotland’s biggest music festival, Glasgow’s Trnsmt, has been permitted to go ahead this September with up to 50,000 non-socially distanced fans per day.

The festival has been awarded the status of ‘gateway event’ by the Scottish government because of its place as ‘an internationally significant flagship event’.

This status exempts Trnsmt from the current 5,000-person capacity limit on outdoor events.

The three-day music festival will take place at Glasgow Green between 10–12 September with headliners Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers.

The festival, which would usually take place with up to 150,000 people in July, has not been held since 2019. The 2020 event was cancelled in April last year, a month after the first Covid lockdown was announced.

“I’m delighted to confirm that Trnsmt has been given approval to take place this year due to its status as a gateway event”

This year, promoter DF concerts is working with the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council to deliver the event.

Geoff Ellis, chief executive at Trnsmt and CEO at DF Concerts, says: “I’m delighted to confirm that cinch presents Trnsmt has been given approval to take place this year due to its status as a gateway event, with permission to host up to 50,000 fans per day over the weekend of 10–12 September. We’re looking forward to working in partnership with the Scottish government and Glasgow City Council in delivering the festival.”

The news comes after the first minister announced on Tuesday (3 August) that most Covid restrictions would be lifted from Monday 9 August.

Capacity limits of 2,000 people indoors and 5,000 people outdoors will remain in place beyond Monday although some exceptions may be possible on a case by case basis.

“This will allow us and local authorities to be assured of the arrangements in place to reduce risk,” the Scottish government said in a statement.

 


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Lauren Kirkpatrick, DF Concerts

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Sean Hill, director of tour marketing at UTA in the UK here.

 


Lauren Kirkpatrick
she/her
Promoter assistant, DF Concerts
Glasgow, Scotland
[email protected]

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Having a helping hand in TRNSMT and achieving the Silver Award for accessibility with Attitude is Everything is a top highlight for me. A lot of hard work went into that project and seeing it from the start to completion was an extremely proud moment. When we first started TRNSMT Festival in 2017, our accessible platform allowed for 100 people, and then, in 2019, we had the capacity for 300 people. I couldn’t believe the size of the platform when I stood on it for the first time. It was almost as big as the main stage!

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Never let your sexuality be a barrier to your success. I’m a 24-year-old lesbian working in a department with five straight men, which was quite intimidating at first. It took me some time before realising that my situation wasn’t something to be apprehensive about but, instead, something to thrive from. Nobody else will go out and get opportunities for you so you need to do what is right for you every single time.

“It’s not only down to the LGBTQI+ community to try and evoke change”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I think for many queer people there is that fear of being likened to a pre-existing stereotype. That is ultimately why I kept my sexuality quiet for around a year until people got to know me without it being a factor. I always worried that I’d be judged for being a lesbian as opposed to my capability for the job. Thinking back on it now, it was quite a challenging time for me.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
We need more straight allies to be vocal about diversity within the industry. It’s not only down to the LGBTQI+ community to try and evoke change. When a company supports its employees regardless of their sexuality and gender, it’ll empower people and set a standard across the industry, which will, hopefully, pave the way for mass change.

“I think for many queer people there is that fear of being likened to a pre-existing stereotype”

A cause you support.
Equality Network. They aim to achieve equality and improve the human rights of the LGBTQI+ community in Scotland. They work towards providing opportunities for people to become engaged in making Scotland a place for everyone, no matter their sexual orientation or gender. They want people to live free from hatred, prejudice and discrimination.

What does the near future of the industry look like?
Hopefully more gigs than ever before! We can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best – bringing live music into people’s lives. In Scotland, our last live music event was in March 2020, so we are all so excited to get back into a venue as soon as possible.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
In my opinion, music is the most powerful form of art and its way of communicating a message can be unparalleled. Having role models in the music business who promote positive messages about diversity and success will make people feel like having a career in music is absolutely achievable no matter what anyone may say.

 


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Scottish industry slams gov’s reopening roadmap

The Scottish live industry has dubbed the government’s roadmap out of lockdown ‘meaningless’ and ‘vague’ for the return of live entertainment.

According to the NME, the government has confirmed that from 17 May, socially distanced indoor performances will be allowed to take place with up to 100 attendees while outdoor events and festivals can welcome up to 500 people.

The next phase of reopening will commence in early June when those numbers will hopefully increase to 200 people for indoor venues and 1,000 for outdoor events.

“It’s currently meaningless for the viability of live entertainment in Scotland”

By the end of June, it is hoped that event organisers will be able to host events for up to 400 indoors and 2000 outdoors – although higher capacities will be open to negotiation.

Sturgeon has not yet disclosed a provisional date for the ending of social distancing restrictions – while British prime minister Boris Johnson is poised to lift all restrictions by 21 June.

Commenting on the roadmap, Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts – Scotland’s biggest concert promoter and owner of King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (cap. 300) in Glasgow – told IQ: “It’s currently meaningless for the viability of live entertainment in Scotland. A maximum of 100 people indoors and all physically distanced is under 20 people in King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – to put it into context.

“The Scottish music industry remains closed and in a more precarious position than in England and Wales”

“We need Scottish government to give us a proper roadmap that goes beyond ‘level 0 by end of June’ as that still means physical distancing will be in place. However, based on common sense and logic arising from the progress being made in Scotland with both the suppression of the virus and the roll-out of the vaccine programme, I am very optimistic for shows without restrictions by the late summer – at the very latest in good time for our TRNSMT festival at full capacity.

“Meanwhile though, the Scottish music industry remains closed and in a more precarious position than its counterparts in England and Wales due to a lack of further committed funding from Scottish government.”

Donald MacLeod – MD of Holdfast Entertainment Group, promoter at CPL, and owner of Glasgow-based clubs The Garage and the Cathouse Rock Club – told IQ: “The latest ‘draft’ guidance from the Scottish government on social distancing for the hospitality sector is as clear as mud, and a cut and paste socially distanced shambles.

“The latest ‘draft’ guidance on social distancing for the hospitality sector is as clear as mud”

“It is obvious that whoever drafted them has not one scintilla of business sense or an ounce of care for the sector, whose operators are desperate and struggling to make ends meet in these exacting times. For venue owners, promoters, managers, bands and of course Scotland’s battalions of live music fans, with the Scottish government still not committing or even discussing with the sector indictive re-opening dates, pilot test events, and contemptuously refusing to include them in the strategic opening Tier Levels, I fear the worst. This is not a roadmap to recovery but an industry car crash.

“Now that we have the vaccine, the peddling of fear and caution from the government and their army of health advisors must stop and replaced with a concerted and confident drive back to normality, otherwise Scotland’s hospitality and live music industries will become a cultural wasteland.”

The uncertainty surrounding the potential Covid restrictions that may be in place in summer has already caused a number of major Scottish festivals to cancel, including The Belladrum Tartan Heart (July) and Glasgow’s Summer Nights (July/August).

However, DF Concerts is set to go ahead with TRNSMT between 10–12 September on Glasgow Green with headliners Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers, as well as Edinburgh’s Summer Sessions in early August with headliners DMAs, Tom Jones, Anne-Marie and Travis.

 


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