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Neil Warnock appointed MBE in new year’s honours

Neil Warnock, global head of touring for United Talent Agency (UTA), has been appointed a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).

Warnock (pictured), who founded the Agency Group (TAG) in 1981 and sold to UTA in 2015, was recognised in the 2019 New Year honours for services to music and charity. The MBE presentation will take place in spring this year.

Over a five-decade career, Warnock has worked with legendary acts including Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, Johnny Cash, Simon and Garfunkel and Michael Jackson, and currently represents the likes of Mariah Carey, Deep Purple, David Gilmour and Dolly Parton.

He has also been involved with music charity Nordoff Robbins for 43 years, sitting on its board and currently serving as chairman of fundraising, where he plays a key role in organising the annual Silver Clef awards, which have raised more than £20 million for the charity.

Julie Whelan, CEO of Nordoff Robbins, comments: “Neil has worked tirelessly for Nordoff Robbins as he believes so passionately in the power of our music therapy to help the most vulnerable and disadvantaged people. This recognition is hugely deserved for him and we of course are just so grateful for his energy, determination and commitment to our work which has made a massive difference across the UK.”

“I’m absolutely honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious accolade”

“I’m absolutely honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious accolade,” adds Warnock. “The work that Nordoff Robbins does is so important and the changes that they have made to vulnerable and isolated people’s lives are immeasurable.

“I would like to recognise all the therapists and people working at the charity who work so hard to make a difference to those lives every single day.”

Other music industry figures recognised in the New Year honours include Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, classical violinist Nicola Benedetti and Ivor Novello-winning composer Nitin Sawhney, who are each appointed commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), while Victims of Viagogo founder Claire Turnham has been made an MBE for services to consumer rights.

According to the Sun, American singer Ariana Grande turned down an honorary damehood for her work on the One Love Manchester charity concert, organised by SJM Concerts and Live Nation/Festival Republic after the Manchester Arena bombing.

 


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Music legends turn out for agent of change

British artists, politicians and senior music industry figures headed to Westminster this morning in support of John Spellar MP’s bill to enshrine the agent-of-change principle in UK law.

The proposed legislation, announced at Venues Day last October, would require property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses, like music venues, before proceeding with a project, and is backed as a crucial weapon in the fight against venue closures by industry groups such as Music Venue Trust, UK Music and the Musicians’ Union.

The Planning (Agent of Change) Bill has the backing of at least 75 MPs and peers, including former culture minister Ed Vaizey, as well as artists including Sir Paul McCartney, Ray Davies, Glen Matlock, Chrissie Hynde, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Billy Bragg, Craig David, Feargal Sharkey and Brian Eno.

“So many of the bottom rungs of the ladder have been taken away”

Speaking to IQ before the bill’s first reading in parliament today, Mason said he is backing the Spellar bill to protect venues as a lifeline for “young musicians in the 21st century”. “It’s a much tougher environment now than it ever was,” he explained. “So many of the bottom rungs of the ladder have been taken away … it’s important for young people to feel like they could have a career in music if they wanted it.”

J. Willgoose, Esq., one third of Public Service Broadcasting, said it’s important artists who have graduated on from grassroots venues don’t “pull up the ladder behind us”. “We were the beneficiaries of being one of the last generations of musicians who had a fertile, up-and-coming pub and club scene, which we benefited from enormously,” he said.

“If you look at some of the venues we played in early days, and how many of them have now closed, especially in London, it’s a frighteningly high percentage.”

“Moving to a city then complaining about the noise from venues is like moving to the country and complaining about the smell of cow muck”

Bragg told IQ that while agent of change won’t tackle the symptoms of the problems facing music venues – chiefly low interest rates making home ownership the only way to make a solid return on investment, leading to a boom in development – it is “going to put the onus on properly developments to recognise that they’re building in an area which is a cultural hub, and that’s really, really important”. (He joked that moving to a city then complaining about the noise from venues is like “moving to the country and complaining about the smell of cow muck”.)

UK Music chief executive praised the “great turnout” for the pre-bill reading photocall, opposite the houses of parliament, and said he hopes ministers will “listen to the strength of feeling from grassroots campaigners, communities from up and down the country, artists, songwriters and MPs from all parties. It’s time now to back the act and make that change that we need.”

The bill was well received by a majority of MPs – or, in parliamentary jargon, the ayes had it – and will proceed to its second reading on 19 January. Spellar’s presentation of the bill can be viewed on the Parliamentlive.tv website.

 


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