The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: David Davies, Double D Live
The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) this month.
The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.
Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with Can Büyükcinar, head of operations at Wizard Promotions in Germany.
The series continues with David Davies (he/him/his), founder and head of live at Double D Live and head of experience at Catapult, operating in the UK and Ireland.
Your favourite queer space
I’m involved with a night called Buttmitzvah, which is a Queer Jewish party we’ve grown from The Glory to The Troxy via Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Brooklyn, NYC and a few others. It takes the form of a bar mitzvah party and has a whole range of interesting moments you wouldn’t expect to find at a nightclub: Jewish dancing, speeches, bubbas (grannies) trying to get you married off to a doctor and a serious obsession with fish balls. I play the MC (think red tailcoat and heels) and host the night from the stage. It’s one of the few places where I’m able to celebrate both my Jewish and my queer identities.
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
It’s painfully basic but… be yourself. You don’t need to hide who you are. Being queer is a core part of your identity, but it does not define you. You are more than the sum of your amazing parts. Your queerness is a massive piece of you and helps inform the whole puzzle. Live music is an industry where we are asking an audience to have a real emotional response to our work, so we owe it to them to be real and honest about who we are.
One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place?
I think transgender rights are the next battleground in society and the workplace – regardless of industry. We need to support our trans colleagues, siblings, performers, artists and network. Obvious but easy things we can do include having company-wide policies like placing pronouns on email signatures that remove the stigma around the choice to include.
Being queer is a core part of your identity, but it does not define you. You are more than the sum of your amazing parts
The queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
I don’t often get to see shows when I’m not working, but I would love to go and stand in the audience at a Becky Hill gig and sing (tunelessly) at the top of my voice. Becky’s current show includes four incredible performers from the scene: Margo Marshall, Prinx Chiyo, Dosa Cat – and my absolute fave Freida Slaves. Her show is amazing – it’s the perfect mix of pop and dance bangers with one of the most incredible voices in the UK.
Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
I grew up in London and garage was the music of my youth. Garage gave way to grime and it’s where I’ve found a large proportion of my clients. In 2016 I was working as the producer of Mercury Music Prize Awards Show. That year both Skepta and Kano were shortlisted for the prize amongst 10 other amazing acts, and the Album of the Year was ultimately awarded to Skepta for Konnichiwa.
I had grown up listening to Skepta and as he won that night, I said to a member of our team that I wanted to produce his next live show. Ten weeks later, I was side of stage at Alexandra Palace as Skepta stood on top of a burning car and in that moment I felt that I wanted to do this every night of my life!
I think transgender rights are the next battleground in society and the workplace
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
I believe in the nobility of failure – give it a go even if it scares you – just ensure you learn from it. I took a job I thought I wanted – more settled, regular hours, structure etc. Total disaster, hated it, railed against it and didn’t perform well. It didn’t work for my employers or for me. I realised I crave creativity and flexibility as much as I need structure. Finding the balance between those has been what has led me to my best work.
Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry.
I’ve been out as gay for a long time. I came out in 1997 when I was 13, and in those days I was defined as ‘straight acting’. Luckily the world has moved on a lot since then and that phrase has all but disappeared, but in the early days of my career I would have people in the industry make openly homophobic/anti-queer comments realise I was in the room and say really awful remarks like – ‘we don’t mean you, you’re not one of those gays’.
Again – it’s been a long time since I’ve heard those comments but in my early 20’s it really galvanized my feeling that gayness or queerness is fine as long as it’s not obvious from a hundred yards. It took me a long time to get over that feeling – and now fills me with shame that I accepted the idea of those gays.
It took a long time but the industry has moved on. I think that who you are, and how authentically you embody that, matters more than ever. I also think that as we continue to fight for acceptance and a place at the table we are more comfortable being less palatable – which is exciting and necessary.
As we continue to fight for acceptance and a place at the table we are more comfortable being less palatable
A cause you support
There are two amazing causes in the UK I support. Diversity Role Models is a charity that works with schools to facilitate sessions where queer role models go into lessons to talk about themselves and their stories. It’s an amazing experience and for the students, it may be the first time they’ve knowingly been in a room with a trans army officer or a lesbian ballerina etc. The children are given the opportunity to ask anonymous questions and I’ve been in some incredible sessions where students have asked really probing (but respectful) questions.
I also support the London LGBTQ+ Community Centre which is a safe, sober, intersectional community centre and café where all LGBTQ+ people are welcome, supported, can build connections and can flourish. They’re currently running a pop-up centre which was set up in response to the isolation many LGBTQ+ people felt during lockdown. The community centre aims to ensure groups within the LGBTQ+ community have the opportunity and space to run their own events and that LGBTQ+ organisations are able to expand their services and reach new audiences.
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AEG earns perfect score in corporate equality index
AEG has earned 100% on the 2022 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), the 20th annual scorecard on LGBTQ+ workplace equality.
The CEI, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, evaluates US companies on criteria including non-discrimination policies, equitable employee benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families, supporting an inclusive culture, and corporate social responsibility.
AEG’s efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria earned a 100% ranking, along with 840 other major US businesses, and the designation as one of the Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.
Jae Pi’ilani Requiro, VP of diversity, equity and inclusion at AEG, says: “At AEG, we are committed to fostering an inclusive culture throughout our global portfolio and believe that diversity, equity and inclusion in our workforce is paramount to our success.
“At AEG, diversity, equity and inclusion in our workforce is paramount to our success”
“I also want to acknowledge the great work of our Pride Employee Network Groups in the United States and Europe, whose unwavering commitment and passion continue to amplify AEG’s corporate initiatives to build a culture of belonging for our employees, fans and partners.”
Jay Brown, Human Rights Campaign senior VP of programmes, research and training, added: “When the Human Rights Campaign Foundation created the Corporate Equality Index 20 years ago, we dreamed that LGBTQ+ workers—from the factory floor to corporate headquarters, in big cities and small towns—could have access to the policies and benefits needed to thrive and live life authentically.
“We are proud that the Corporate Equality Index paved the way to that reality for countless LGBTQ+ workers in America and abroad. But there is still more to do, which is why we are raising the bar yet again to create more equitable workplaces and a better tomorrow for LGBTQ+ workers everywhere.”
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UK’s first queer camping festival to launch this year
The ‘UK’s first LGBTQ+ electronic music and camping festival’ is set to launch this year.
Taking place at Springfield Farm in St Albans on 28–29 May, Flesh festival will offer a line-up that is majority women, trans+ and non-binary artists.
Ellen Allien, VTSS, LSDXOXO, Rebekah, object blue, Jaguar, Syreeta, Hyperaktivist and Juliana Huxtable are among some of the acts confirmed to perform across the festival’s three stages.
“Flesh will address long-term issues in festival programming, which is dominated by male artists, breaking the cycle and allowing emerging and underrepresented talent to break through on a worldwide platform,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.
“[Flesh] will create visibility and generate bookings for the artists involved and set an example for other promoters to follow”
“Being featured on a major festival line-up will create visibility and generate bookings for the artists involved and set an example for other promoters to follow.”
Riposte London, a queer club night, will also be hosting a sober tent where ticketholders can take part in workshops, attend panels and relax in a calm environment.
Flesh has also launched an open call for emerging QTIPOC (Queer, Transgender and Intersex People of Colour) artists to apply for two scholarships for the London Sound Academy and ongoing mentorship. Winners will have the chance to perform at the festival in May.
Weekend camping tickets cost £114, while two-day tickets without camping cost £89.
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Stars come together for virtual LGBTQ+ benefit
Demi Lovato, Lil Nas X, Ricky Martin and Pink are among the artists who will appear at ‘Can’t Cancel Pride,’ a virtual relief benefit for the LGBTQ+ community
The organisers, consumer goods corporation P&G and media company iHeartMedia, say: “Covid-19 has not only led to the disruption of many national Pride events but has also had a damaging effect on fundraising efforts LGBTQ+ organisations rely on to survive.
“The second annual event will demonstrate that nothing can cancel the heart of Pride and the spirit that the LGBTQ+ equality movement embodies while focusing on the issues that continue to impact the LGBTQ+ community in 2021, including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.”
Brothers Osborne, Hayley Kiyoko, Jennifer Hudson, JoJo Siwa, Marshmello and Troye Sivan, among others, are also set to perform.
The hour-long concert will stream on 4 June at 9 pm via a number of iHeartRadio channels and stations and will be available to watch back on-demand throughout June.
“This amazing night of music will honour the communities’ fight for equal rights, while benefitting six remarkable nonprofits”
The event is once again teaming up with Greater Cincinnati Foundation to distribute the money raised by the event to LGBTQ+ organizations including GLAAD, SAGE, The Trevor Project, The National Black Justice Coalition, CenterLink, and OutRight Action International.
Last year’s event raised over $4 million to benefit LGBTQ+ communities impacted by the global pandemic.
“As the country is returning back to normal and we are slowly starting to gather again, LGBTQ+ communities around the world are still feeling the devastating effects of Covid-19,” said Gayle Troberman, chief marketing officer for iHeartMedia.
“We look forward to once again celebrating the incredible voices and allies of the LGBTQ+ community with an amazing night of music that will honour Pride and the communities’ fight for equal rights, all while benefitting six remarkable nonprofits that make an everyday positive impact.”
To support this year’s participating nonprofits, visit www.cantcancelpride.com or text “Rainbow” to 56512.
MJR’s Nathan Stone launches Gallos Talent
Nathan Stone, the former creative director of the TEG MJR and the creator of DragWorld, has launched Gallos Talent, a new UK-based LGBTQ+ talent management company.
In his six years at TEG MJR (formerly the MJR Group), Stone promoted shows including Hans Zimmer, Bianca Del Rio, Harry Potter in Concert, Final Fantasy’s Distant Worlds, Courtney Act and Sasha Velour, as well as leading on the company’s licensed exhibitions, such as Marvel’s Avengers Station and Lego expo Brickman. He also helped create MJR’s popular drag convention, DragWorld.
Gallos Talent is working with acts including drag queens Juno Birch and Joe Black (as seen on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK), and also offering its services as a partner to events such as Trans Festival London and Cornwall Pride.
“In a period which has been so brutal to our industry, I, like many, have had to realign, regroup and reenter the workplace,” says Stone.
“We are excited to welcome Nathan to the company and begin managing our expansion in to Europe”
“I am very excited to be furthering my specialisation in the LGBTQ+ events industry with both Five Senses Reeling and the launch of Gallos Talent.”
The official launch of Gallos Talent comes as Stone is appointed head of touring for Seattle-based promoter Five Senses Reeling, whose expansion into Europe he will lead.
Specialising in the LGBTQ+ market, Five Senses Reeling has promoted North American shows by drag icons including Bianca Del Rio, Katya Zamolodchikova, Miz Cracker, Bob the Drag Queen and Fortune Feimster.
“We are excited to welcome Nathan to the company and begin managing our expansion in to Europe,” says the company’s owner, Jason Brotman, “as well as working with the existing team on the North American touring.”
Mayor of London announces £2.3m emergency culture fund
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today (30 April) launched a £2.3 million (€2.65m) emergency fund to support cultural and creative industries at risk due to the impact of the coronavirus.
Beneficiaries of the fund include Music Venue Trust, which receives a £450,000 donation towards its #saveourvenues campaign in aid of at-risk grassroots venues, and the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, which receives £225,000 – as well as £1.5m for Creative Land Trust to support artist workspaces and £150,000 to the British Film Institute (BFI) in aid of independent cinemas.
Grassroots venues have been particularly hard hit by the impact of Covid-19, and the funding for Music Venue Trust (MVT) will support up to 147 independent London venues – benefitting businesses most at risk of falling into administration and unable to benefit from government schemes – according to the mayor.
“The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on every aspect of life in London, and that includes our culture, creative industries and night-time economy,” says Khan. “These industries are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis.
“This funding from the mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue”
“I’m pleased to be working together with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and the BFI to offer this emergency funding to those areas most at need, but we need the government to step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs to protect its future.”
MVT’s Beverley Whitrick adds: “Music Venue Trust works on behalf of grassroots music venues across the whole UK, but the greatest concentration of our members is in London. These venues are some of the most impacted by the current crisis because the costs of running a venue in London are so high.
“This funding from the mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue, dedicating invaluable human resources, specialist advice and financial assistance where other measures come up short – everything possible to sustain these venues so they can reopen in the future and host artists and audiences safely and professionally.”
Live and Proud: The vibrant LGBTQ+ music scene
Live music has long served as a platform for those of non-normative sexual identities to make their voices heard, spread values of love and tolerance, and express themselves to the full.
Many music festivals now come with clear messages of respect, inclusivity and love for all, club nights specifically serve the LGBTQ+ community, Pride events host some of the biggest names in live music today and, now, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Digital Drag Fest, the “biggest drag festival in history” is among those embracing a new, virtual festival format.
However, as heteronormative songs, artists and practices continue to dominate the live scene, IQ asks how many live music events are all-inclusive, all-welcoming, safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community, and questions what the industry is doing as a whole to ensure everyone within it feels as comfortable as possible.
A legacy fit for a Queen
“The live music world wouldn’t exist without the LGBTQ+ community,” states Maz Weston, a programmer at Dutch nightclub Paradiso and part of the team organising Amsterdam’s Milkshake festival.
Weston cites Lou Reed’s ‘Walk on the Wild Side’, David Bowie’s “androgynous glory,” Elton John, Freddie Mercury and Divine as having paved the way for later acts such as Marc Almond, Boy George, and later still Scissor Sisters – the queer icons consituting the cream of live entertainment’s crop.
Despite this great musical legacy and improvements to equality and representation across the industry, it remains itally important to have spaces dedicated to LGBTQ+ people within live, says Weston.
“The live music world wouldn’t exist without the LGBTQ+ community”
“The community needs spaces where people can meet, socialise, explore their own identity and feel safe enough to express themselves.”
In order for live events themselves to provide safe and dedicated spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, it is becoming apparent that an inclusive environment must first be fostered within the industry itself.
Cross-industry body Pride In Music aims to provide such a space, creating a community of LGBTQ+ people and giving them a voice within the music business. Groups dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues have also formed within some of the industry’s leading companies.
Sean Hill, a member of the Proud Leadership Team at UTA, speaks of the importance of having such teams within institutions to “provide a support network, breakdown stereotypes, offer mentoring and raise issues affecting those who identify as LGBTQIA+.” For those unaware of the acronym, LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Genderqueer, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, and Ally community.
UTA’s Proud Leadership Team organises events “from networking opportunities to informative talks and charity fundraisers” to drive openness and promote a culture of inclusivity, also working with the agency’s offices in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville.
A recent industry event in London saw some of UTA’s LGBTQ+ clients performing in front of record label executives, promoters, managers and agency representatives.
“We all try and support one another’s events when we can,” says Hill.
“The community needs spaces where people can meet, socialise, explore their own identity and feel safe enough to express themselves”
Pride of place
The role that live music can play in providing a safe, joyful and inclusive space is a common thread throughout the conversations IQ has with event organisers and promoters.
Bringing people together is the main aim of Ireland’s The Outing Festival. An LGBTQ+ music and matchmaking festival, the Outing hopes it can help people together form lasting friendships, as well as initiating romantic unions.
Festival founder Eddie McGuinness tells IQ that the event aims to unite different kinds of people and fuse different genres of music and art forms. “There’s a lot of heteronormative music out there,” says McGuinness. “Here, people can express themselves properly and freely.”
Jamie Tagg, the co-founder of East Creative, which puts on the 25,000-capacity Mighty Hoopla pop festival in London, and runs the LGBTQ+ collective Sink The Pink, explains that “inclusivity, creativity and positivity” are the driving forces behind his events.
The same core ethos goes for one of the most famous gatherings for the LGBTQ+ community – Pride.
Taking place in multiple cities and countries around the world each year, Pride has evolved and grown over the years to host some of the biggest names in live music today.
Criticism has been levelled at some event organisers for losing sight of Pride’s essence, especially when non-LGBTQ+ artists top the bill for the community’s largest celebrations
Criticism has been levelled at some event organisers for losing sight of Pride’s essence, especially when non-LGBTQ+ artists top the bill for the community’s largest celebrations.
However, as Paul Kemp, director of Brighton Pride, points out, popular music has been a feature of Pride since the 90s, with acts including Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and Jake Shears performing at events over the years.
The important thing, says Kemp, is that “in amongst the music and dancing we always make sure the campaign messages are front and centre.”
As the Covid-19 pandemic causes the cancellations of Pride events in London, Toronto and Chicago, among others, and postponements in cities including Dublin, Madrid and Buacharest, Brighton organisers say that “multiple contingency plans” are being put in place to ensure the “safe and successful” delivery of the 2020 edition of Brighton Pride, currently scheduled for 1 and 2 August, given
Dan Brown of Birmingham Pride, which will now take place from 5 to 6 September due to the coronavirus outbreak, admits “there is a danger” of live music detracting from Pride’s main message, but affirms that the evolution of the event indicates “progression.”
“People don’t like change,” says Brown. “The problem is, people don’t shout enough about the good these events do.”
“[Pride] events are becoming more like music festivals in a way – but they’re still so much more than that”
When Britney Spears played Brighton Pride in 2018, for example, the organisers raised £250,000 – “a life-changing amount of money.” Brown also references the controversy surrounding Ariana Grande’s performance at Manchester Pride this year, and a perceived hike in ticket prices for the headline show.
“That one weekend funds everything else,” says Brown. “The Manchester team are putting on free, locally focused events through the year – and I don’t think people realise that.” The same goes for Birmingham, with free-to-enter venues in the gay village depending on the income from Pride and the support of its organisers.
“It’s a massive transition phase for Pride right now,” explains Brown. “The events are becoming more like music festivals in a way – but they’re still so much more than that.”
Pride & joy
LGBTQ+ artists have enjoyed a greater representation in recent years. The 1975’s Matt Healy and Years & Years’ Olly Alexander are just two examples of mainstream, high-profile artists using their platform to talk openly about their sexuality.
Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 88, or subscribe to the magazine here
PEG presents month-long Digital Drag Fest
Over 60 artists including stars from reality TV show RuPaul’s Drag Race and other LGBTQ+ acts have been announced for the line-up of Digital Drag Fest 2020, a month-long virtual drag festival.
The event kicked off on 27 March and will go on until the end of April, featuring 30-minute shows from acts including Alaska, Jackie Beat, Kimora Blac, Manila Luzon, Nicky, Peppermint, Trinity the Tuck, John Carmeron Mitchell, Rayvon Owen and Justin Vivian Bond.
The festival is promoted by Producer Entertainment Group (PEG), which manages top drag queen artists, LGBTQ+ talent and influencers.
Tickets for each show start at $10 and are kept to “extremely limited” numbers, with some shows selling out days in advance. Viewers will have the chance to interact with artists, tip them and receive prizes and giveaways. Performances will not be recorded or re-released.
“Drag is about resilience, and this festival is meant to share that message during a challenging time in our world”
A portion of all proceeds will be donated to the festival’s charitable partner, Glaad, an LGBTQ+ media advocacy organisation.
“Drag is about resilience, and this festival is meant to share that message during a challenging time in our world,” says PEG founder and president, David Charpentier. “We want to give fans an opportunity to continue supporting their favorite queens and provide a welcome distraction for drag lovers around the globe.”
More information on show times and the number of tickets remaining for each performance, are available on the Digital Drag Fest website, along with artist merchandise.
Read more about how the monetise virtual events here.
New decade, new look: IQ 88 out now
IQ Magazine is back with a revamped look, compact design, additional content and brand new features for its 88th edition, which is available to read online now.
A special edition asks for special content and IQ #88 does not disappoint, with the issue’s main feature celebrating IQ’s Agent of the Decade, Rod MacSween.
Having sold more tickets internationally in the past ten years than any other agent, and with a roster boasting the likes of Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Guns N’ Roses, Def Leppard, the Who, Christina Aguilera, Kiss, Black Sabbath, and many more, MacSween is a veritable legend of the industry. The anecdotes, interviews and testimonials appearing in IQ 88 are testament to the super agent’s past and present success.
With the 32nd International Live Music Conference just around the corner – now just a week away! – this edition of IQ Magazine provides a full agenda guide to help delegates plan their jam-packed days for this year’s special game show-themed conference.
IQ Magazine is back with a revamped look, compact design, additional content and brand new features
Elsewhere in the magazine, metal takes centre stage, with an in-depth tour report on metal juggernaut Slipknot’s hugely successful We Are Not Your Kind tour, as well as a wider overview of the booming metal business.
Festivals and events dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and the state of play in the Scottish market are other highlights of this bumper 88th edition.
The new-look magazine also comes filled with some shiny new regular features, such as the Readers’ Lives page featuring the favourite pastimes of top industry figures; the Unsung Hero feature, profiling the stars of the production world; and an agony Aunt/Uncle column, this time led by Solo Agency’s John Giddings.
As always, most content from the magazine will appear online in some form over the next few months. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now.
LN named top workplace for LGBTQ equality
Live Nation Entertainment has been recognised as a top workplace for LGBTQ equality by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) foundation, the educational arm of the United States’ largest civil rights organisation.
HRC works to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. For the second year running, Live Nation has earned the top score of 100 on the organisation’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI).
HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are accepted as full members of society at home, at work and in every community. Its equality index is the premier benchmarking tool for recognising companies that practise LGBTQ equality in the United States.
The CEI assesses equality across transgender benefits and wellness, domestic partner benefits, culture and engagement, corporate and employee policies, learning and development and public engagement with the LGBTQ community.
“Live music has a unique ability to connect and unite people from all different backgrounds, and we promote that same sense of community and belonging for our employees at Live Nation”
“Live music has a unique ability to connect and unite people from all different backgrounds, and we promote that same sense of community and belonging for our employees at Live Nation,” says Michael Rapino, president and chief executive of Live Nation Entertainment.
“We’re always striving to create a more inclusive and equitable culture, and are proud to be recognised by the Human Rights Campaign once again,” adds Rapino.
According to HRC president Chad Griffin, the companies that score best on the CEI are “not only establishing policies that affirm and include employees here in the Unites States, they are applying these policies to their global operations.”
This has an impact on “millions of people beyond our shores,” states Griffin.
This recognition follows several third-party acknowledgments for Live Nation’s industry practices and workplace culture, from LinkedIn, Fast Company and Fortune.
Live Nation joins over 560 major US businesses to earn top marks on the equality index.
More information on the 2019 Corporate Equality Index and a free copy of the report can be found here.