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Hardee warns of biz burnout as report reveals huge stress levels

Coda Agency partner Alex Hardee today warned of the dangers of a “24/7” working culture across much of the live music business, as a new report reveals more than three quarters of UK promoters and venue bosses may be struggling with continuous stress and anxiety.

Speaking during his keynote at the International Festival Forum in London, Hardee, a self-confessed “workaholic”, told interviewer Paul Crockford: “It’s too late for me – I’m fucked. I’m a workaholic. It’s shit ­– it’s unhealthy and I can’t get out of it.”

Hardee’s comments – a rare sober moment in an otherwise entertaining and ebullient interview, set to appear online in the coming days – come as ticket agency Skiddle releases new data which shows many UK execs are struggling with “astronomical” levels of stress on a daily basis.

“I’d like the generation that comes after me to look after themselves,” Hardee continued. “The music industry has got it completely wrong, and that [24/7 working culture] is why you see a lot of people fall over and break down. You need to have breaks, and people work better when they have breaks and they’re well rested.”

“That 24/7 working culture is why you see a lot of people fall over and break down”

A survey of more than 500 promoters, events organisers and venue owners found that 82% of industry professionals have suffered with stress, 67% said they had anxiety and 40% said they had struggled with depression. Additionally, one in ten have developed associated symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a “direct result of their work in music”.

Some 65% of promoters said they frequently felt an “intense and unmanageable level of pressure”, while almost half (47%) said their work in the music industry often led to a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness.

“After running a festival for a couple of years, the workload this year ended up depressing me to a level that I had suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self harm,” says one, speaking under the condition of anonymity. “A couple of months later I had panic attacks when thinking about starting the process again, and decided to go on hiatus instead.”

Another says: “It’s the loneliness and isolation that scares me. Anxiety and stress are just part and parcel of the job. It’s sad but true.”

Asked what causes them the most stress working in promoting, 45% said “no regular income” and 43% the “lack of support”, with unsociable hours and the effect the job has on relationships also scoring highly.

“The results of this survey do not make for an easy read”

Commenting on the results of the survey, Ben Sebborn, co-founder and director of Skiddle, comments: “The results of this survey do not make for an easy read, and it’s troubling to see that so many promoters are struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. Skiddle have been working alongside independent and large-scale promoters for nearly two decades and fully appreciate how difficult the job can be.

“As well as organising a series of panel sessions to discuss the issues raised in the survey, we will also be working with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM) and the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) to ensure we are industry leaders in supporting promoters and offering them the assistance they need to work happily and effectively.”

BAPAM director Claire Cordeaux adds: “It’s well evidenced that mental health problems are considerably higher in the performing artist community than in the general population, and the industry is increasingly recognising the need for support. Skiddle’s survey of promoters, one of the first of its kind, is a timely reminder that it is not just performers that need help.”

See Skiddle’s findings in full in the infographic below:

Skiddle mental health infographic

 


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600+ festival professionals confirmed for sold-out IFF 2018

The International Festival Forum (IFF) has sold out for the fourth consecutive year, with more than 600 major international festivals and booking agents confirmed to attend the 2018 event.

The invitation-only event takes place in Camden, north London, on 25–27 September. Alongside a keynote interview with Coda’s Alex Hardee, conference topics range from festival curation and an exploration of generational viewpoints in the business to gender, non-music entertainment and new events.

IFF’s agency partners, meanwhile, will collectively showcase more than 30 future festival headliners, with performers including Tokio Myers (Coda), Sorry (Primary), Cleopatrick (UTA), Lotto Boyzz (Coda) and Soak (ATC Live).

“IFF has rapidly become an essential shop window for European festivals that are planning their bookings for the year to come,” says UTA agent Greg Lowe.

“IFF is the organic answer to an industry need”

“Relaxed, informal and practical, it’s the live community at work.”

Event co-founder Ruud Berends adds: “As a unique platform between buyers and sellers within the international festival business, IFF is the organic answer to an industry need.”

Agency partners on IFF 2018 include CAA, Coda, Primary Talent, X-ray Touring, United Talent Agency, ITB, ATC Live, MN2S and Pitch & Smith, while event supporters from across the festival business include Ticketmaster, Eventbrite, Festicket, Showsec, Weezevent and the UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT).

Full event information is online at www.iff.rocks.

 


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Alex Hardee announced as IFF 2018 keynote

Coda Agency partner Alex Hardee has been revealed as the keynote interviewee for the fourth International Festival Forum (IFF), taking place in London later this month.

Hardee – the subject of an IQ feature last year celebrating his quarter-century as an agent – follows in the footsteps of Isle of Wight Festival’s John Giddings, Rock am Ring’s Marek and Andre Lieberberg and Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis to take the hot seat on 27 September at the invitation-only event for festivals and bookers.

His interviewer will be veteran manager Paul Crockford, known for his work with Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler and Paul Simon.

“Thursday at IFF starts with a session that could well go down in conference history: Alex Hardee’s first-ever keynote interview,” say conference organisers. “The Coda Agency co-founder and partner boasts over 25 years in the business and a roster that includes Bastille, Liam Gallagher, London Grammar, Missy Elliott, Rag’n’Bone Man, Sia and Tom Odell. And with a family background in comedy (he was recently described by Music Week as “the business’s funniest man”), Alex is never short of an opinion.”

“Thursday at IFF starts with a session that could well go down in conference history”

IFF 2018 launched in April, with agency partners including CAA, Coda, Primary Talent, X-ray Touring, United Talent Agency, ITB, ATC Live, MN2S, Pitch & Smith and OTM Touring. IFF takes place on 25–27 September around Camden in north London, at venues including Fest (formerly Proud Camden), Dingwalls, Camden Assembly and Lockside Camden. The morning conference sessions feature a mixture of panels, workshops and the IFF Keynote, while the afternoon and evening are dedicated to agency showcases and networking.

Adding to the previously announced showcases by UTA, Primary Talent, ATC Live and Midnight Mango, the IFF 2018 conference agenda is fast approaching completion. Kicking off Wednesday’s conference schedule at 10am is the Festival Season 2018, chaired by Coda’s Clementine Brunel, which looks beyond the headlines to discover the current festival state of play, while the Generation Game sees Mojo Concerts’ Kim Bloem ask whether industry’s future bosses are rewriting the rulebook or following the lead of those that have come before them.

On Thursday, Beyond the Main Stage: Adventures in Non-Music sees PR guru Nikki McNeill highlights the new forms of entertainment we can expect to see at festivals in future, while digital evangelist Sammy Andrews’s Curation Session explores the best platforms and services available to festival bookers in an increasingly data-driven business.

Full event details, including last-minute tickets for festivals, are online at www.iff.rocks.

 


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IFF 2018: 4th International Festival Forum launches

Organisers of the International Festival Forum (IFF) have announced details of the fourth edition, with many of the world’s leading booking agencies and festival associations signed up as partners.

Space at the invitation-only event is strictly limited to just 600 delegates, and all previous editions of the London meeting of booking agents and festivals have sold out weeks in advance.

“Each year IFF continues to add more and more value to the festival booking process,” says Brian Ahern of partner agency WME Entertainment. “Both the timing and attendance make for invaluable face-to-face interactions.”

Other agency partners on IFF 2018 include CAA, Coda, Primary Talent, X-ray Touring, United Talent Agency, ITB, ATC Live, MN2S, Pitch & Smith and OTM Touring, most of which will showcase a selection of their best future festival headliners.

“It’s great to finally be revealing details of IFF 2018”

“It’s great to finally be revealing details of IFF 2018,” says ILMC head Greg Parmley. “We expect over 450 festivals represented this year, and with a packed schedule of conference sessions, showcases and networking events, it’s already looking like our strongest edition yet.”

Speaking of the ongoing partnership between IFF and European festival organisation Yourope, general secretary Christof Huber says: “IFF continues to be a key event for the music festival business which is focused, relevant and an important date in the diary of all Yourope members.”

IFF takes place around Camden in north London at venues including Fest (formerly Proud Camden), Dingwalls, Camden Assembly and Lockside Camden. The morning conference sessions features a mixture of panels, workshops and the IFF Keynote, which last year welcomed Glastonbury’s Michael Eavis. The afternoon and evening is dedicated to agency showcases and networking. Full event information is online at www.iff.rocks.

 


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