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LGBTIQ+ List 2024: Luke Mulligan, Circa 41

The LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – IQ Magazine’s fourth annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s fourth Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on yesterday’s interview with Joona Juutilainen (he/him), booking assistant at Fullsteam Agency.

The series continues with Luke Mulligan (he/him), director at Circa 41.

Luke Mulligan is an experienced Australian professional with over 20 years of experience in audio engineering, tour and production management, artist management, and travel services. Originally from Tasmania, Luke is now based in Sydney. He has built an impressive client list, including a handful of Australian music artists with international success, both past and present, such as Empire of the Sun, Pnau and Angus & Julia Stone. In 2013, Luke co-founded Circa 41 with James Foster, focusing on tour and production management. They have extensive experience in international touring, working with a wide range of artists, companies, festivals, and events. In 2019, Luke and James launched a successful in-house travel agency to service their current touring clients. Luke’s broad experience in the music industry led to a natural progression into artist management.

 Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2024 so far.
In 2024, I was thrilled to have coordinated tour management and production management services for Empire of the Sun’s headline DJ set at the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park in Melbourne. Collaborating with Mandylights, we crafted custom staging and design for the show, ensuring an impeccable experience for both the audience and the artists.

“Australia’s music scene is incredibly diverse and vibrant”

 Australia’s music industry is facing a myriad of challenges at the moment, including the dissipation of festivals. What’s the most pressing issue for your business?
One of the most pressing issues for Circa 41 is the concentration of the local music industry, driven by large worldwide companies entering the Australian market and acquiring businesses. While this trend has its pros and cons, the inability of our tour and production management clients to tour and make a profit due to factors like the concentration of the local music industry, the cost-of-living crisis, and post-pandemic uncertainties can have a direct impact on Circa 41. Although it’s generally up to the management or agents of our clients to navigate these challenges, we must be prepared to adapt our strategies and offerings to support them in overcoming these obstacles and ensuring their continued success in the industry.

How is 2024 looking for Circa 41?
After a busy start to the year, we’re enjoying a slightly quieter period at Circa 41. However, we have some exciting things on the horizon. Some of our management clients are gearing up to release new music and embark on tours. Additionally, some of our big touring clients are planning new music releases and international tours later in the year. Overall, 2024 is shaping up to be an exciting year for us, with a focus on supporting our artists’ success and bringing diverse music experiences to audiences worldwide.

“This kind of representation not only celebrates our achievements but also contributes to the growth and sustainability of the Australian music industry as a whole”

Your nominator said Australian representation on this list is important. Why do you think that is?
Australian representation on the IQ Magazine LGBTIQ+ List is valuable because it recognises the contributions of arts workers in our industry. Australia’s music scene is incredibly diverse and vibrant, and being included in global platforms like this list provides a unique opportunity to showcase our talent and creativity on an international stage.

Australia’s music industry is ranked as the tenth largest in the world (IFPI Global Music Report 2024 – State of the Industry) and is an outstanding cultural export with a long list of artists who have achieved massive success globally. Being recognised on this list opens up doors for collaboration, exposure, and growth. It helps to amplify our voices and stories, attracting attention from audiences and industry professionals worldwide. This kind of representation not only celebrates our achievements but also contributes to the growth and sustainability of the Australian music industry as a whole.

Name one thing the Australian industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Actively promote and support artists, workers, and leaders from diverse backgrounds, including Indigenous Australians and LGBTQIA+ individuals. This can include providing equal opportunities, mentorship programs, funding, and cultural exchanges, as well as fostering diverse representation in leadership, implementing cultural awareness training, engaging with communities, advocating for media representation, and supporting policy changes. These efforts can help create a more inclusive and equitable industry for all.

“[Circa 41 co-founder] James’s dedication to our vision and commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive environment has made him an invaluable partner”

 Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
I am excited to see Sumner perform live this year. Sumner is a Tasmanian electronic duo consisting of Chloe Wilson and Jack McLaine, and they are among our management clients. I am thrilled about their recent signing with Etcetc, which promises some exciting performances and releases this year.

Shout out your biggest ally in the live music industry.
A shoutout to my business partner, James Foster, who has been my biggest ally in the live music industry. His consistent support and collaborative spirit have been instrumental in our shared successes. James’s dedication to our vision and commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive environment has made him an invaluable partner. I’m grateful for his friendship and unwavering support.

Shout out any LGBTIQ+ cause(s) you support.
BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation and Pride Foundation Australia.

How do you like to celebrate Pride?
While I’m often working during Pride celebrations, I enjoy spending quality time with my partner, dog, family, and friends. I also find fulfilment in supporting my LGBTQIA+ colleagues working on events such as Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. This, to me, is a meaningful way to celebrate and show my support for the community.


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