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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Raven Twigg, Metropolis Music

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Doug Smith, SVP field operations UK & Ireland, Ticketmaster here.

 


Raven Twigg
She/her/they
Promoter assistant, Metropolis Music/founder, Women Connect UK
London, UK raven@metropolismusic.com
Linkedin.com/in/raventwigg

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Whilst I was a student in Manchester, I bagged myself a casual job working on the customer service desk at Manchester Arena, igniting the bug in me to be at as many live shows as possible. I was able to meet people, prove my hard-working nature and be offered a position programming the venue, as well as other arenas and theatres across the UK. I don’t think any of us knew then that I’d end up in London then booking talent into the venue myself, but I’m extremely grateful to those who offered me an opportunity back then. I feel extremely proud of myself for my journey.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Seek out inclusive spaces such as networking collectives, queer talent nights, etc… It’s only once you’re around like-minded people that you can access your full potential.

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I’ve never felt any challenges with Metropolis Music, personally. We’re a very diverse and inclusive team and I’m very grateful for that. I have been told in other work environments that I ‘don’t look gay’. I’m not sure what gay looks like, and it took me a long time to even identify with that word.

Once colleagues become aware of your sexuality, some folx will look at you differently and can never ‘unsee’ your queerness. I’ve also had my sexuality and relationship discussed like office gossip, and that set me back significantly as I struggled with understanding why others found it such a big deal, and felt extremely othered and vulnerable.

“To change the discourse of seeing the same white, cis-gendered male, indie bands littered all over line-ups, it starts with us”

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
Seek out queer, trans and non-binary talent, whether that’s on an artist front or for your employment opportunities. We need to give marginalised groups a foot through the door where we can. To change the discourse of seeing the same white, cis-gendered male, indie bands littered all over festival line-ups, it starts with us. By becoming more inclusive with our Spotify streaming habits, the demands shift and marginalised groups are given a platform.

A causes you support.
London Friend. They’re an LGBTQ+ voluntary counselling service and they helped me masses over the past year in terms of “coming out” to my family and friends, accepting myself and being in a same-sex relationship. It’s safe to say that without them and my counsellor, specifically, I wouldn’t be writing this so publicly for you today.

Women Connect. I have to plug our collective, of course. We are a femxle-forward collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women, non-binary people and gender-fluid folx working in the creative industries and beyond.

The collective was birthed from a place of passion and the undeniable need for women in the creative industry to come together organically. We’re entirely self-funded and we aim to create a safe environment for our community.

“I can already see the [post-pandemic] differences when communicating with agents and venues”

What does the near future of the industry look like?
Hopefully, very busy! The pandemic has affected our industry like no other. With the opportunity to grow and educate ourselves whilst working from home (I appreciate this isn’t the case for everyone), we’ve had more time to focus on ourselves and I truly think the industry will bounce back to a stronger and kinder place.

I can already see the differences when communicating with agents and venues, we all understand the difficulties each of our areas of the industry has bear witness to and it feels so much more united.

How would you like to see the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
I hope that the industry, post-pandemic will be a more forgiving place and make space to look after one another better. Our industry can be exhausting, my personal record is four gigs in one night. We need to create boundaries and practice saying no – we physically can’t be at every live show and it shouldn’t be looked down upon if you’re taking a night off to go home, cook yourself a hearty meal and put your feet up.

Our mental health is the most important thing, let’s try to approach situations with compassion. Always say please and thank you and let your employees and colleagues know that you appreciate them. It’s easy to forget that even the busiest of humans, are still humans and a thank you can go a long way.

 


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LGBTIQ+ List 2021: This year’s queer pioneers revealed

IQ Magazine’s highly-anticipated LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – the first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – can now be revealed.

The landmark list is the jewel in the crown of IQs first-ever Pride edition, which was published on Monday (28 June) and followed by our Loud and Proud agency-curated playlist.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The inaugural cohort comprises agents, promoters, COOs, CEOs, event producers, wellness specialists, tour managers and more, all of whom identify as LGBTIQ+ and, in the face of adversity, have made enormous contributions to their respective sectors.

“IQ received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials”

In no particular order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 is:

Steven Braines, co-founder, He.She.They (UK)
Sean Hill, director of tour marketing, UTA (UK)
Zoe Williamson, agent, UTA (US)
Will Larnach-Jones, managing director/head of bookings, Iceland Airwaves (IE)
Raven Twigg, promoter assistant, Metropolis Music/founder, Women Connect (UK)
Nadu Placca, global event & experience architect, The Zoo XYZ (UK)
Maxie Gedge, Keychange project manager, PRS Foundation (UK)
Mark Fletcher, CEO, Manchester Pride (UK)
Maddie Arnold, associate promoter, Live Nation (UK)
Lauren Kirkpatrick, promoter assistant, DF Concerts (UK)
Laura Nagtegaal, guitar technician and tour manager, MsGyver (NL)
Joanne Croxford, wellness + diversity specialist/ live touring/ tour assistant (UK)
James Murphy, chief operating officer North America, See Tickets (US)
Guy Howes, music partnerships executive, CAA (UK)
Doug Smith, SVP field operations UK & Ireland, Ticketmaster (UK)
Chris Ibbs, agent, CAA (UK)
Rach Millhauser, coordinator, Wasserman Music (US)
Austin Sarich, director of touring, Live Nation (US)
Daniel Brown, event producer/programmer, Birmingham Pride (UK)
Rauha Kyyrö, head promoter, Fullsteam Agency (FI)

“I never imagined I’d be so thrilled to see my inbox soar into triple digits – that is until we opened nominations for the LGBTIQ+ List 2021,” says IQ staff writer Lisa Henderson, who guest edited the Pride issue. “We received an unbelievable amount of heartwarming testimonials from across the business but, thanks to the help of our revered steering committee, we’ve ended up with 20 exemplary individuals who continually prove that diversity is the industry’s greatest strength.”

Full profiles of the individuals on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021 will appear online in the coming weeks. However, subscribers can read the entire feature in the Pride edition (issue 101) of IQ Magazine now.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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Thank you, Black Out Tuesday

Black Out Tuesday was created by Jamila Thomas, senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemang, the senior artist campaign manager at Platoon. Tuesday 2 June 2020 saw business as usual halt in solidarity for black lives.

The entire world was shaken by the inhumane loss of George Floyd. Sadly he is not the only one whose life has been stolen at the hands of police brutality and racism – there are hundreds more, including recent cases Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. This had an effect on the black community I personally have never seen in my lifetime. Over the last week or so, I have seen and felt a sense of togetherness and support for black people, which we deserve… it is about time.

For me, Black Out Tuesday was a day of reflection and homage, and an opportunity to encourage a profound, uninterrupted level of education within our respective organisations. We used the opportunity to have an open dialogue, amplify black voices, address imperfections in our own policies, and discuss next steps towards tackling prejudice, discrimination and the outright racism black people are forced to endure.

Without this day, a lot of us wouldn’t have been able to gain the attention of our non-black counterparts; we wouldn’t have been able to open the dialogue with the same altitude of poise and tenacity.

Failure to address these key issues makes you complicit

So, what are the next steps?

The issues have been identified – now it’s time to present the facts. Where are your ethnicity pay gap and employee satisfaction reports? If they don’t exist, now is a good time to populate that data and work towards a safer space for black employees. Data is an extremely important tool and necessary for change.

If you have the capacity to roll out anti-racism training, do so. Educate where possible, and call out racist behaviour, because failure to address these key issues makes you complicit.

If you’re reading this and you’re an executive, a business owner, a manager, a CEO, a founder or anything in between, please ask yourself, “What can I do to spark change? What can I do to make sure my company policies reflect the black square I posted on Tuesday?”

This isn’t a gimmick: systemic and institutionalised racism affects people’s lives, and you have a duty of care.

This is a battle we have been fighting since the beginning of time and will continue to fight until there is real change. If Black Out Tuesday taught me anything, it’s that there is strength in numbers.

 


What else can you do?

Watch

Jane Elliot: Blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment
Jane Elliot, an anti-racist activist and educator, devised this experiment following the assassination of Martin Luther King.

BFI collection: Black Lives
Portraits of public and private lives against the shifting social climate of 20th-century Britain.

BBC documentary: Will Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister?

Unfiltered with James O’Brien: Akala deconstructs race and class

BBC documentary: The Secret Windrush Files

 

Read

Reni Lodge: Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race

Afua Hirsh: Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

Ibram X. Kendi: How to Be an Antiracist

Ijeoma Oluo: So You Want to Talk About Race

Robin DiAngelo: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism

Michelle Alexander: The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

 

Donate

Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund

Support RECESS

Women Connect
A collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women and non-binary folks in the creative industry.

Black Ticket Project
Award-winning initiative creating cultural access points for black young people.

Exist Loudly Fund to Support Queer Black YP

 


This article originally appeared in issue 90 of IQ Magazine (July 2020). Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Live professionals talk diversity in next IQ Focus

Continuing the weekly series of IQ Focus virtual panels, Beyond Rhetoric: Race in Live Music will look at the problems of systemic racism within the live business and discuss what needs to be done to make the industry a more diverse place.

The session, the eighth in the IQ Focus series, will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 25 June at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.

Earlier this month, Blackout Tuesday brought the industry to a standstill and thrust the topic of diversity in the music business back into view.

So just what challenges do black promoters, agents and managers face, and what’s needed to counter systemic racism both within the business, in performance spaces and touring markets?

Live Nation’s David Carrigan will lead this timely discussion to ask how changes can be made, and the current momentum can be maintained over the months and years ahead.

Joining Carrigan on the panel are Ammo Talwar MBE, CEO of music and arts agency Punch and chair of UK Music’s Diversity Taskforce; Kiarn Eslami, a promoter at Metropolis Music;
Lucy Atkinson from Earth Agency; Sumit Bothra of ATC Management; and ICM Partners’ Yves Pierre.

All previous IQ Focus sessions, which have looked at topics including management under lockdown, the agency business, the festival summer, grassroots music venues and innovation in live music, can be watched back here.

To set a reminder about Beyond Rhetoric: Race in Live Music session on Thursday head to the IQ Magazine page on Facebook or YouTube.


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FR launches International Women’s Day event

Festival Republic has announced ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day, a networking event for women across the live music industry, as part of the promoter’s gender equality programme, ReBalance.

The event is taking place at the 900-capacity Union Chapel in Islington, London, on Sunday 8 March, the day dedicated to recognising the movement for women’s rights worldwide.

Last year’s International Women’s Day saw pop star Dua Lipa speak at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London, who illustrated the struggle faced by young female artists trying to break into the industry.

Festival Republic is looking to combat this, with a daytime programme aimed at introducing those who want a career in the industry to women working within it. Professionals from Festival Republic, Live Nation, PRS Foundation, Academy Music Group, Sony Music, MAMA, Melody VR, Metropolis Music, the BBC, National Merchandise and Safe Gigs for Women will be in present to offer advice and deliver educational talks.

An evening performance from singer Nilüfer Yanya will follow the networking event, as well as appearances from Martha Hill and Tamzene, two artists to have come through Festival Republic’s ReBalance programme.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further”

Launched in 2017, ReBalance is a six-year programme combatting the gender imbalance within the music industry. It offers five day’s studio time to one core female-identified band and artist each month, as well as a slot of a Festival Republic or Live Nation festival.

So far, 300 nominations have been made across six rounds, with 19 finalists performing live at The Great Escape, Wireless, Latitude and Reading and Leeds Festivals.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further by hosting an event on International Women’s Day for those who want to meet women in the industry,” says the ReBalance team.

“Aimed at newcomers or if you’re just curious, this event is the chance to learn from the brightest stars and pick up some tips. Lack of female representation in music is an industry-wide issue, and we want to level it.”

Day tickets for ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day can be purchased for a £2 charity donation to Safe Gigs for Women, with evening tickets priced at £17.50. All tickets are available here.

Photo: Paul Hudson/Flickr (cropped) (CC BY 2.0)

 


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Crosstown Concerts launches artist management company

British promoter Crosstown Concerts has launched an artist management division, joining forces with Cliff Jones and Mark Bowers (the latter formerly a colleague of Crosstown founders Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds at Metropolis Music) to create Crosstown Management.

The new division – which the company says gives Crosstown a talent development arm that will be “important to its growth plans in the coming years” – is initially looking after artists including Keir, Mauwe, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and, in partnership with Ian Mizen and James Dawson of Jax Management, Paris Youth Foundation.

“The Crosstown team has a heritage in artist management as well as promoting, so it’s great to have that part of the business launched and some great up-and-coming artists under our umbrella already breaking through in the European market,” comments Dodds.

“It’s great to have some great up-and-coming artists under our umbrella already breaking through in the European market”

“We are looking at a huge number of touring dates and festivals this summer under the Crosstown umbrella and we’re inviting artists looking for representation to get in touch, as we are looking at expanding the roster during 2018.”

Adds Bowers: “We are delighted to join Crosstown and launch this new management company. We share a great passion for developing artists and for giving fans a great experience.”

Crosstown Concerts was launched by Hutton and Dodds, both former directors of Metropolis Music, and hotel owner Fraser Duffin in September 2016. Upcoming tours for 2018 include Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Jack White, the Wombats, the Vaccines and George Ezra, along with festivals Bristol Sounds and the Downs Festival Bristol.

 


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V Festival set for rebrand as Virgin sponsorship ends

After 22 years, Virgin Group is ending its relationship with V Festival, Virgin founder Richard Branson announced today, with V 2017 the last year of the UK festival in its current guise.

“V Festival has always been a special weekend for everyone at Virgin,” says Branson. “We’ve been proud to sponsor V Festival for the past two decades and there have been some incredible performances on the stage. Now, after 22 very enjoyable and successful years, 2017 was Virgin’s last V Festival.

V Festival, promoted by Live Nation, Metropolis Music, MCD Productions and SJM Concerts, debuted in 1996 as twin festivals in Hylands Park, Chelmsford, and Victoria Park in Warrington, with headliners Pulp, Paul Weller and Elastica. The northern England leg moved to Leeds in 1997, before settling in its current home of Weston Park in Staffordshire in 1999.

Branson describes working with the festival as “a brilliant journey filled with great people, fun times and exceptional music”, but says Virgin is now focused on “look[ing] at new ways we can disrupt the industry to ensure music is a force for good.”

“After 22 very enjoyable and successful years, 2017 was Virgin’s last V Festival”

“Virgin already is investing in exciting music initiatives such as Sofar Sounds, who bring artists to perform live in an intimate venue and give you the chance to just be still and listen,” he continues. “Seeing my first Sofar gig reminded me of the early days of Virgin Records, where we sat on beanbags and drifted away with the music as we found new bands to sign and fall in love with.

Relaunched music station Virgin Radio is also going strong in the UK, along with our thriving radio stations with hundreds of thousands of listeners tuning in from all over the world.

“We’re really excited about the future ahead and can’t wait to share our plans with music lovers across the globe.”

Speaking to Music Week, Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn confirms the festival will continue under a new name over the same weekend in August, with plans to expand from two to three days at both sites. Programming, meanwhile, will “very much continue to have a pop and dance focus”.

Live Nation bought a stake in V in 2013, while Metropolis joined the company this January.

 


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Metropolis Music joins Live Nation

Live Nation today announced the launch of a joint venture with Bob Angus’s Metropolis Music, with the British promoter – long rumoured to be in acquisition talks with the live entertainment giant – becoming “part of the Live Nation family” with immediate effect.

A Live Nation spokesperson tells IQ the deal is not an acquisition, and a statement from the company describes the new set-up as a “reconfiguration” of Metropolis that sees the V Festival promoter “integrating into the Live Nation team”.

Angus will lead the new-look Metropolis Music as chairman, with Raye Cosbert as managing director, Andy Robbins, Kiarn Eslami and Tony Dobson on artist bookings, Sophie Pitchforth as executive booking coordinator and Ronnie Lee as production coordinator.

“We look forward to providing the best for artists and fans across the UK, together as part of the Live Nation family”

Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation UK, says the deal marks “another step in our commitment to promotions and world-class events in the UK. We’re bringing Metropolis on board and bolstering their existing promotions expertise with Live Nation’s established frameworks, relationships and a team of experts to grow the business together.”

Angus adds: “The team and I are excited for this new venture into Metropolis Music. We’ve been promoting events in the UK since 1985, and we look forward to providing the best for artists and fans across the UK, together as part of the Live Nation family.”

Long-serving Metropolis directors Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds left Metropolis last year for new venture Crosstown Concerts.

The tie-up with Metropolis is Live Nation’s third such deal of 2016, after its acquisition of Idaho’s CT Touring and the Bottle Rock festival.

 


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Bob Angus: Metropolitan man

… but, as he tells Eamonn Forde, he is preparing to take a stand against the volume game that promoting seems to have become…

Bob Angus walks into his north London kitchen with his arm in a complex cast, the result of a Christmas Eve fall putting out the rubbish. IQ jokes that he now looks like Mean Machine, the psychotic, metal-armed arch-enemy of Judge Dredd. This goes down well with Angus, as he is a huge fan of 2000 AD, the eagle logo on Dredd’s badge directly inspiring the logo for Metropolis Music, the company he set up just over 30 years ago and which has grown to become one of the UK’s biggest and most respected live promoters.

We are here to talk about how the company was started; how it became the powerhouse it is today; why it has diversified in recent years into management; where the live business has changed (not always for the better); and why his company has stayed determinedly independent.

Angus (pictured) grew up in Tottenham, not far from where he lives now, and the first music he got into was glam. “Then David Bowie – that was the thing,” he says of his epiphany on hearing The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. “He was the first serious artist that got me into music.”

He recalls how he and his brother would obsess over the chart show on radio and it was through radio that he got to his first gig: Dutch prog-rock band Focus at the Rainbow in Finsbury Park, after winning tickets on Capital Radio when he was 15. “They weren’t that visually stunning,” he says of the band that introduced him to live music. “They just happened to be the first show I went to.”

Read the rest of this feature in issue 64 of IQ Magazine.

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