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ITB’s Rod MacSween awarded honorary doctorate

British booking agent Rod MacSween, founder and CEO of International Talent Booking (ITB), has been awarded an honorary doctorate degree by the University of Exeter, his alma mater.

MacSween – one of 11 honorary graduates in 2019, and one of three doctors of letters (DLitt) – chemistry and statistics at Exeter, and was also the university’s social secretary from 1969 to 1970.

As social secretary, MacSween brought artists including the Who, Pink Floyd and Robert Plant’s Band of Joy to the university, where they played for 1,800 students at £1 per ticket. After graduating, he spent time at various London agencies before eventually coming into the organisation of notorious manager Don Arden, where he first met Arden’s daughter, Sharon Osbourne – now a longstanding friend.

MacSween’s ITB roster still includes the Who, Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne

“She was working with her father at the time,” MacSween told IQ last year, as the agency celebrated its 40th birthday. “We, and then Ozzy, became great friends. With all their help, ITB was set up in 1976. Barry [Dickins] came and joined as a partner in 1978.”

At ITB, MacSween’s roster now includes the Who, Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne, as well as Aerosmith, Def Leppard, Guns n’ Roses, Kiss, Lenny Kravitz, Maroon 5, Morrissey, Ozzy, Pearl Jam, Scorpions and Tool.

Addressing Exeter students during his conferral, MacSween advised that “enthusiasm, commitment, integrity and a measure of risk-taking” would be key to success in their working lives.

 


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VMS announces series of new partnerships and appointments

VMS Live has announced a series of new deals which managing director Steve Forster has said “will be key to their future success.” The deals include two new venue partnerships and the appointment of BBC Radio 1Xtra DJ Timzee to the position of development manager.

The first of the deals is with the Liverpool Olympia, which will become the Eventim Olympia Liverpool. The name change is the result of the ‘mutually supportive’ agreement with Eventim, which was made earlier this year. The deal includes a five-year partnership with the venue owners, Argent Leisure, and will see £250k invested into the 1,900-capacity space.

Speaking about the new partnership, Chris Zorba of Argent Leisure comments: “The new agreement with VMS will allow Silver Leisure to invest in the fabric of the building to improve the customer experience.

“We very much feel that the area and the Olympia in particular are on the cusp of another golden age.”

“As an entirely self-funded independent, with no debt or bank loans, we are incredibly proud of the way we have developed the business over the last 7 years”

The second of the new deals is a five-year agreement with the University of Exeter’s Student Guild. VMS will take over the direction of the University’s events and entertainment programme, as well as the operation of their venue, the Lemon Grove. Both sides are hopeful the deal will revamp the fortunes of the Lemon Grove, with Guild director of commercial services Nicola Carter saying it is, “an incredible opportunity to develop our existing programme of events and to showcase the Lemon Grove as a leading venue in Exeter for live music.”

Working closely with this new acquisition will be newly appointed development manager Timzee. Focusing particularly on the student venue section of VMS’s portfolio, he will work on developing new ‘club’ brands for the the company. Tim brings with him an extensive list of experience, additional to being a BBC 1Xtra DJ, he also acts as content director for productions including a 3,000 capacity warehouse brand in his home city.

VMS hopes these new developments will encourage lasting success for the company. Commenting on its success until now, Forster says: “As an entirely self-funded independent, with no debt or bank loans, we are incredibly proud of the way we have developed the business over the last seven years.” He goes on to name this a ‘really important period’ for the company.

 


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