The New Bosses 2018: Kelly Bennaton, DHP Family
The New Bosses 2018 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual list of future live business leaders – received a rapturous industry response following its publication in IQ 78, with friends and colleagues of the winning ten agents, promoters and other rising stars rushing to congratulate the class of 2018.
In putting together the list, 2018’s New Bosses gave IQ lengthy interviews spotlighting their careers so far, as well as insights into their working methods and tips for those hoping to follow in their footsteps. While these were (owing to the limitations of a print magazine) edited heavily, they’ll be reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.
New Boss №6, DHP Family head of marketing Kelly Bennaton, has been promoting since the age of 17 under the moniker Default This Promotions. After studying English language at University of Leeds – where she achieved a 2:1, going on to secure a scholarship for a master’s in music business management at the University of Westminster – she joined the Association of Independent Music (AIM) as events and marketing coordinator.
She joined DHP as marketing and PR assistant in 2014, and was promoted to marketing coordinator in 2015 and head of marketing last year. (Read the previous New Bosses interview, with Fullsteam Agency’s Aino-Maria Paasivirta, here.)
What shows have you been involved with recently?
The great thing about working at DHP is that we work on such an eclectic mix of shows and festivals. For the latest Ed Sheeran tour we oversaw all online marketing and sold over a million tickets across 15 stadium shows; at the same time we’ll be working on extensive theatre tours for the likes of the Human League, Beth Hart and Happy Mondays while pushing exciting up-and-coming artists such as Fontaines DC, Men I Trust and Easy Life at 200-capacity venues. This summer also saw DHP sell out two Cardiff Castle shows with Pete Tong and Catfish and the Bottlemen – so it’s safe to say we do the full mix!
At our 20,000-capacity Splendour Festival we celebrated our 10th birthday with Paloma Faith headlining, and this year’s Dot to Dot Festival, which spans three cities, was our biggest yet, selling over 15,000 tickets for a bill made of up predominantly unknown acts. We also have our alt.tickets platform, which sold over 350,000 tickets last year, as well as operating eight music venues across London, Nottingham and Bristol.
Is there anyone you can name as a mentor?
Two people really stand out for me: Lara Baker and [DHP director of live] Dan Ealam. Lara gave me gave me my first proper job in music at AIM, and her tireless work on behalf of independent record labels was hugely inspiring. Today she’s a vocal advocate for diversity in the music industry and has created an amazing network of women working in music to support each other.
It’s been a great experience working with Dan at DHP. He’s entirely dedicated to and passionate about the artists he promotes. His drive has really motivated me to challenge myself and I don’t think I would be in the position I’m in now without Dan’s encouragement.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at DHP?
To be confident in my opinions and trust my own judgment. The live industry is full of big personalities, and for someone that is naturally introverted it can sometimes be easy to second-guess yourself.
As a New Boss, how would you improve the way the business is done?
There is still a distinct lack of women in the live industry, and it’s to its detriment. Many studies have shown that a diverse workforce yields the best results, so I’d really like to make an active contribution in changing this.
DHP are working with Music Venue Trust on their Fightback Promoter scheme to encourage young women to put on gigs for the first time, and we’ve also recently launched our own Women in Music event to address the gender imbalance.
“Be confident … for someone that is naturally introverted it can sometimes be easy to second-guess yourself”
If you had to choose one highlight from your career so far, what would it be?
This year we launched Beat the Streets Festival, a multi-venue charity event in Nottingham headlined by Sleaford Mods. We had a really short turnaround from the launch until the festival, and the whole team worked hard to create an event that would resonate with the local community and raise as much money as possible.
We managed to raise £100,000 for the charity, which went towards two new members of staff and extra beds at one of their shelters.
What hint would you give to a friend who had a very limited marketing budget for a show?
Be DIY with your approach. Spend the limited budget you have on Facebook ads and making sure your Facebook event is popular – posting in an active event is far better than posting on a page for reach. Print flyers and posters at home or cheaply online and hand them out yourself at relevant gigs. Get it listed with local magazines and event listings websites – most have a free submission form you can use.
Finally, tell all your friends about it! Word of mouth is still a great tool for getting people to shows.
What is your biggest day-to-day challenge?
Finding enough time in the day! We’re still a relatively small marketing team working on a huge quantity of concerts, tours and festivals, so it can be a challenge to manage the workload.
What do you see yourself doing in five years’ time?
Still with DHP and working on even more great shows and tours. It’s a really exciting time for the company and I can’t wait to see where the next five years take us.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to get into the live business?
Be proactive and don’t wait around for opportunities to present themselves to you. The live industry is incredibly competitive, so having experience will definitely help. Put on gigs, volunteer at festivals, become an expert on social media – anything you can do to make yourself stand out from the crowd.
Introducing… the New Bosses 2018
The New Bosses scheme is now in its 11th year and relies on IQ readers and ILMC’s members to nominate those individuals, aged 30 and under, whom they believe are helping to shape the future of the live music industry. And it would seem you are good judges of character, as looking back across the New Bosses over the previous ten years, many of our named winners have indeed gone on to become leaders in their chosen fields.
So, congratulations go to this year’s cream of the crop: Bradlee Banbury (Creative Artists Agency), Kelly Bennaton (DHP Family), Leo Benton (K2 Agency), Tom Bownes (Live Nation), Erin Coleman (Paper and Iron Booking), Kevin Jergenson (ICM Partners), Michael Jones (The MJR Group), Maxim Karlik (United Talent Agency), Meryl Luzzi (Paradigm Talent Agency) and Aino-Maria Paasivirta (Fullsteam Agency).
“I remember pitching for an act and the agent subtly mentioned I had won the award, to the artist and manager; they were so impressed, I am now their national promoter.”
IQ’s New Bosses will be automatically shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s New Boss Award at the Arthur Awards in March 2019 – voting for which will open in mid-November. Last year’s winner, Anna-Sophie Mertens from Live Nation UK, comments, “Nothing beats being able to call yourself Tomorrow’s New Boss! The best part is your colleagues and business partners never fail to highlight the title, whether to celebrate or to mock you.
“I remember pitching for an act and the agent subtly mentioned I had won the award, to the artist and manager; they were so impressed, I am now their national promoter. Congratulations to this year’s New Bosses.”
To find out more about this year’s winners, click here to read our New Bosses 2018 feature.
Our winners also gave IQ lengthier insights into their careers and working methods, the full versions of which will be posted here on the IQ website over the coming weeks, so be sure to check the website regularly to find out more about Aino-Maria, Bradlee, Erin, Kelly, Kevin, Leo, Maxim, Meryl, Michael and Tom.
DHP Family makes three promotions
DHP Family has made three internal promotions, appointing a new head of marketing, marketing manager and head of creative.
Kelly Bennaton, who joined the UK promoter/venue owner from the Association of Independent Music (AIM) three years ago, becomes head of marketing, overseeing marketing for more than 1,600 shows annually, as well as DHP’s festival business and its corporate marketing strategy.
Sophie Power is the company’s new head of creative, tasked with developing its creative output and overseeing visual communications at its venues, festivals and concerts, while Anwyn Williams becomes marketing manager, delivering campaigns for some of DHP’s biggest shows and tours and its multi-venue Dot to Dot festival.
Power joined DHP eight years ago, initially as marketing and design assistant, while Anwyn, like Bennaton, came on board in 2014. DHP Family managing director George Akins says he is “delighted that we have been able to turn to the talent we have working within the company to fill these three roles”.
“I’m delighted that we have been able to turn to the talent we have working within the company to fill these three roles”
“I’ve been lucky enough to have some fantastic female mentors: Lara Baker and Alison Wenham at AIM and Lauren Barley and Allison Schnackenberg at Southern Records,” says Bennaton. “They were always hugely encouraging and that made the sexism I came across in the wider industry” – as recently highlighted by IQ – “much easier to deal with. DHP have also been very supportive; it’s great to have a boss that recognises the importance of equality in the workplace.”
Williams adds: “I’m looking forward to helping develop the amazing marketing team we have at DHP Family and the work we do, and very excited to be contributing myself to loads more of the great shows and festivals we’ll be putting on.
“It’s good to see that ‘women in the music industry’ is becoming a topic that’s talked and cared about a lot more, and it’s definitely inspiring to see more women working in music and being recognised for their achievements, especially with getting to work alongside so many here at DHP.”