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Donald MacLeod awarded MBE for music and charity work

Donald MacLeod, a stalwart in Scotland’s live music industry, has been appointed an MBE for his services in music and charity.

Alongside his roles as MD of Holdfast Entertainment Group, promoter at CPL, and owner of Glasgow-based clubs The Garage and the Cathouse Rock Club, MacLeod been touted as an “integral part and driving force” of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland.

MacLeod previously acted as co-chair of the board of management and chairman of fundraising, and continues to play a key role as chairman of the charity’s Scottish fundraising and events committee, responsible for delivering the long-running Scottish Music Awards (SMAs).

“I am delighted and quite humbled at being chosen to receive such a distinguished accolade. Music has been my life’s work and passion, and throughout most of my career Nordoff Robbins and the fantastic work it carries out in Scotland has been a great source of pride and inspiration,” says MacLeod.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in the charity: the beneficiaries, the therapists, fellow board and committee members, fundraisers and all those who nominated me. I regard this award as a deserved recognition of their hard work, fortitude and endeavour, and of course support, which has been as vital as it has been valued.”

“Nordoff Robbins and the fantastic work it carries out in Scotland has been a great source of pride and inspiration”

Sandra Schembri, chief executive of Nordoff Robbins said: “On behalf of the whole team at Nordoff Robbins, we’d like to congratulate Donald on being awarded his MBE.

“Donald has been a champion for those we support and has devoted a huge amount of his time and energy to the charity to help raise vital funds for us to continue to support some of the most vulnerable and isolated members of our society.

“His ongoing commitment to Nordoff Robbins in Scotland has made a huge difference. We are so grateful for his uniting people through the power of music to help those that need it most.”

During his time with Nordoff Robbins, McLeod has helped to oversee growth in music therapy provision and attract funding for its work through events, corporate partnerships, and his significant network of contacts in the music industry.

Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy is the largest independent music therapy charity in the UK, dedicated to enriching the lives of people affected by life-limiting illness, isolation or disability.


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Manchester Arena celebrates 25th year with virtual show

A virtual charity concert will be aired later this month to mark the 25th anniversary of the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, the largest indoor arena in the UK.

Taking place on Friday 17 July from 8 p.m., the pre-recorded event will feature Lionel Richie, Alice Cooper, Tim Burgess, Emeli Sandé and the Hoosiers, and will be broadcast across the arena’s social media channels to celebrate reaching the quarter-century milestone.

The event, which is organised in conjunction with Future Agency, will also raise money for local organisations including homeless shelter the Booth Centre, cancer treatment specialist the Christie and community-focused charity Forever Manchester, as well as music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.

“Our 25th anniversary celebrations were set to be very special indeed”

Each charity will receive 25% of the money raised. Donations can be made here.

“Our 25th anniversary celebrations were set to be very special indeed,” says James Allen general manager of the ASM Global-operated arena.

“However during this period of pause, we have adapted the format to ensure that we can deliver an evening of top quality entertainment to your home, so everyone can enjoy the celebrations without leaving the house.”

Since opening in 1995, Manchester Arena has hosted acts including Beyonce, Chris Rock, U2, Kylie Minogue, Take That, Mariah Carey, Janet Jackson and The Rolling Stones.

 


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Registration open for Music Mudder 2020

Registration is now open for Music Mudder 2020, the second edition of the UK industry charity event, taking place on Friday 11 September, organisers announced today.

“We are incredibly excited to announce that Music Mudder is set to return on Friday 11 September 2020,” explains Paradigm booker and Music Mudder spokesperson Lucy Putman. “We have a brand new site in Surrey, where you can expect a more challenging course, with some exciting new obstacles, and a little less running – but with a lot more water and mud!”

A limited number of team spaces are available for Music Mudder 2020. Full details are available from the event website, www.music-mudder.com.

Taking place on the morning of 13 September, the inaugural Music Mudder consisted of a 10km (6.2mi) run and 20 military-style obstacles. Originally conceived as a team-building exercise by Paradigm agent Tom Schroeder, it soon grew into a wider event, with companies sending teams of ten to compete at Bromley Golf Centre in south London.

“With nine months to go, it’s the perfect excuse to get training, limber up, and begin fundraising”

Companies from across the British music industry, including live businesses AEG Presents, CAA, Columbo Group, Dice, Echo Location Talent, ITG, Kilimanjaro Live, Live Nation, Solo Agency, UTA and WME, took part in Music Mudder 2019.

“For the second year running, the event is in aid of the wonderful music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, who focus on enriching the lives of people with life-limiting illnesses, disabilities and feelings of isolation with the power of music,” continues Putman.  “We raised a staggering £62,000 in 2019, and hope to smash that amount in 2020.

“With nine months to go, it’s the perfect excuse to get training, limber up and begin fundraising. It promises to be a brilliant day!”

 


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Decade’s End: Neil Warnock on the challenges ahead

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

In the near future we’ll share the insights of execs including CAA’s Emma Banks, Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski, Oak View Group’s Tim Leiweke, AEG’s Jay Marciano and more. In the hot seat, first, though, is Neil Warnock MBE, global head of touring for United Talent Agency, who talks global touring’s ups and downs, the importance of fan experience and his personal decade highlights…

 


IQ: The role that agents play in artists’ careers has undoubtedly changed over the last ten years. Considering the advent of global touring, and the various new income streams available to artists, how do you see this role evolving?

NW: Global touring is not a new phenomenon. It has been in place one way or another since before Michael Cohl became the promoter of the Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley, although he did not come to Europe, signed a global touring deal.

Global touring has its advantages and disadvantages. I always want my artists to play to their strengths for the promoters they are working with. In confirming global deals, it’s essential that the strength of each promoter in each market is evaluated, not only financially which can be an issue, but also ensuring that venues and marketing are strategically considered so that an artist can be taken forward in their aspirations.

Streaming has become a more sophisticated marketing tool along with all other social elements available to each artist, but essentially these should be viewed as extra add-ons available to artists, and not the be-all and end-all of making touring decisions. Our UTA IQ department is extremely useful when it comes to evaluating the data available to our artists.

In confirming global deals, it’s essential that the strength of each promoter in each market is evaluated

Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?

Consolidation in the industry is interesting. When we see labels, agencies, managers consolidate, it also throws up a number of independents. My view is that it’s great to have both.

Consolidated companies give managers what they want but some managers like to have an independent view over the lives and professional status of an artist.

What more could the constituent parts of the music industry be doing to deliver a better proposition to both artists and fans?

The constituent parts of the music business being live, recording, publishing, merchandise, branding – all these elements should be fused together by good management and we should all work together so that our artists are getting the best service from each area. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always happen.

Topics such as inclusion, diversity and mental health are commonly discussed these days. How is the live business shaping up compared to other sectors?

The fact that these topics are out in the open and are being discussed is fantastic and we are now seeing that the industry is working hard to continue to drive awareness to these areas.

Consolidated companies give managers what they want, but some managers like to have an independent view

UTA is a company that believes that diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our success as a business. This year we launched our employee-led, company-funded Employee Inclusion Groups (UTA Proud, Unity, Wellness and Women’s Interest). Two of our last three board appointments, Blair Kohan and Tracey Jacobs, have been women, and we are the first major talent agency ever to name a woman, Lyndsay Harding, as our CFO.

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?

In my opinion, the touring outlook for artists is looking good. The challenges are to ensure artists give value for money to customers, and to ensure that the fan experience is outstanding so that a customer will want to come back and see that artist for another show.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?

I have many highlights from over the years, but from the last decade I would have to say the highlight that jumps immediately to mind is Dolly Parton live at Glastonbury in 2014.

Additionally, the tremendous steps that Nordoff Robbins have made as a charity and on a personal note, being awarded an MBE was tremendous for myself and my family.

 


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Music Mudder to return in 2020

After a successful debut this year, UK industry charity event Music Mudder is set to return in 2020.

Taking place on the morning of 13 September, the inaugural Music Mudder consisted of a 10km (6.2mi) run and 20 military-style obstacles. Originally conceived as a team-building exercise by Paradigm agent Tom Schroeder, it soon grew into a wider event, with companies sending teams of ten to compete at Bromley Golf Centre in south London.

“2020 will be far more challenging and a lot more muddy”

Paradigm booker Lucy Putman tells IQ: “After an incredible first year, Music Mudder is set to return on Friday 11 September 2020. We have a new course for next year, which is set to be far more challenging and a lot more muddy. We’ll be doing it all to raise money for the fantastic music therapy charity, Nordoff Robbins.”

Companies from across the British music industry, including live businesses AEG Presents, CAA, Columbo Group, Dice, Echo Location Talent, ITG, Kilimanjaro Live, Live Nation, Solo Agency, UTA and WME, took part in Music Mudder 2019, raising more than £50,000 for music charity Nordoff Robbins.

UK industry gets dirty for Nordoff Robbins

For more information about Music Mudder, email Putman at lucy.putman@paradigmagency.com.

 


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Nordoff Robbins appoints new CEO

Sandra Schembri will be the new chief executive of music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, taking over from Julie Whelan who retires later this year.

Schembri has spent the past ten years as chief executive of homeless charity and members’ club the House of St Barnabas. She has previously held positions at Bloomberg, the Royal Academy of Arts and Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

“As someone who’s always had a love of music, I’m really excited by the prospect of leading a charity that champions the positive impact it has on people’s health and wellbeing,” says Schembri.

“I’m looking forward to working to make music therapy more readily available for people affected by life-limiting illness, disability and isolation,” adds the incoming chief executive.

Nordoff Robbins chairman David Munns comments: “As the UK’s largest music therapy charity we have ambitious plans to significantly increase access to our services for those who need it most.”

“I’m looking forward to working to make music therapy more readily available for people affected by life-limiting illness, disability and isolation”

Munns states that Schembri was a “stand-out candidate” and “a proven leader with the experience and energy to help us achieve [our] goal.”

During her five-year tenure, outgoing chief executive Whelan doubled the number of people the charity supports through music therapy and increased the number of therapists employed by the charity.

Whelan also led the merger with Nordoff Robbins’ sister organisation in Scotland and oversaw the launch of a third training base in Newcastle, adding to already established centres in Manchester and London.

Schembri will join Nordoff Robbins as incoming chief executive on 7 October, before Whelan formally stands down on 5 November.

Nordoff Robbins works in partnership with care homes, schools and hospitals to enrich the lives of vulnerable people through music.  The charity’s Get Loud campaign (which enables fans to see artists at intimate venues) is designed to raise awareness of the work it does.


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Helping others through music

I am frequently asked: Why Nordoff Robbins? What is Nordoff Robbins?

Back in the mid-70s Clive Robbins and Paul Nordoff had run out of funding for their early music therapy work. Somehow, they ended up in London and were introduced to Andrew Miller, a successful concert promoter, and William Robertson, of Robertson-Taylor, which became the biggest insurance broker operating in the music industry. At that time, I was doing business with Andrew and it was he who originally said to me, “we should do a couple of fundraisers for these guys.”

Back then, the main recipient of charity donations was the WWF or PDSA, neither of which struck a chord with us Young Turks for various reasons. Nordoff Robbins linked together music with therapy, and in those early chaotic days, everything was begged, borrowed and stolen to generate early momentum for the organisation. 1976 saw the first Silver Clef lunch at the Inn on the Park in Park Lane (now called the Four Seasons Park Lane) in London, with the Who as the first recipients of the Silver Clef. I haven’t missed a lunch since 1976!

Dave Dee persuaded me to join in a more formal way over a long lunch that went into dinner – which we later turned into a frequent meeting, often joined by Willie Robertson. Those were crazy days.

In 1982 the very first Nordoff Robbins Centre opened in north London, housing a music therapy service and training facility under Sybil Beresford-Peirse. Then, in 1990, we put on a show at Knebworth with performances from Paul McCartney, Genesis, Eric Clapton, Pink Floyd, Elton John, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page, which raised £6 million – shared between Nordoff Robbins and the Brit Trust.

Over £3m of that built our centre in Kentish Town in north London, which has now been totally refurbished and is a splendid building servicing our clients with working rooms for therapists, libraries and offices for all our support staff and leadership teams.

Since those early days, I’ve witnessed first-hand how Nordoff Robbins’ music therapy creates change, using music to create meaningful connections with young people who are struggling with personal difficulties, right the way through to the elderly, such as those suffering from dementia. We have therapists all over the UK in specialist schools, hospitals and old people’s homes, as well as a brand-new centre in Newcastle and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Nordoff Robbins therapy unit attached to the Brit School in Croydon, just outside London.

Everyone leaves their ego, dramas and difficulties outside the door to support this amazing charity

Recently, we amalgamated with our colleagues in Scotland to enhance our offering throughout the UK. We even have Nordoff Robbins therapists at the Royal Albert Hall, thanks to their generosity in providing us with rooms to use at the venue.

I am always so proud when I go to the graduation ceremonies. At the latest, there were thirteen graduates who had attained their master’s in Nordoff Robbins accreditations at City University, and we now have PhD graduates, which makes us extremely proud. Currently, we are financially in a position to employ the vast majority of graduates and send them out to work across the country.

Our Get Loud campaign (which enables fans to see their favourite artists close up at some of the most iconic and intimate venues) is designed to raise awareness throughout the UK of the work Nordoff Robbins does. Nordoff Robbins might be a clunky name, but we are the leaders in music therapy and our ultimate aim is that Get Loud will become our own version of Red Nose Day.

We are fortunate that the whole of the UK music business is involved with Nordoff Robbins – including so many people at the top of their game, from the major agencies, management companies, record labels, publicists, publishers and artists – along with sports personalities and executives in the fields of football, rugby, boxing, golf and horse racing. Everyone leaves their ego, dramas and difficulties outside the door to support this amazing charity.

There is such a need for Nordoff Robbins that, in a strange way, it feels as if the work is just starting. The next generation of fundraisers are in the wings to take over. I just feel so blessed that I can play a part in enhancing the positive change and the incredible work that every one of our therapists brings to the community at large.

 


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Harry Styles named best live act at Silver Clefs

Harry Styles will take home the coveted best live act award, sponsored by Ticketmaster and Live Nation, at today’s O2 Silver Clef Awards, which raises money for music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.

As the only award voted for by the public at today’s awards  fans proved their dedication to give Styles the title of best live at. Receiving 60% of the vote, he fought off competition from ten other nominees, including Adele, Stormzy, Iron Maiden and Ed Sheeran.

This award is Harry Styles’ first solo win, although he has held the title of best live act twice, in 2013 and 2016, as part of boy band One Direction. Previous winners of the award include Sir Paul McCartney (2011), Arctic Monkeys (2015) and Little Mix (2017).

Styles is currently on his debut world tour as a solo act, which will see him play 89 shows across Europe, North America, South America, Australia and Asia, performing hits from his self-titled certified gold/platinum album.

Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, says:  “Harry Styles is a global sensation who won the hearts of many in One Direction and continues to do so in his solo career, so it’s not surprising that he has earned the title of best live act. It’s great to see such support for the British star after his record-breaking debut album and world tour – this award is thoroughly deserved.”

Fans voted for the shortlist of 11 artists who performed in the UK between March 2017 and March 2018, picked by a panel of industry experts.

The power of music

Working in the music industry is a demanding job, and only the luckiest of us can say they don’t occasionally have a day when they wonder why on earth they do it to themselves! But we should never make light of what we do, as every one of us is adding to the human experience on an unmeasurable scale. While we obviously couldn’t do what we do without the music, facilitating people’s interaction with music is helping in more ways than we realise.

The building of my music memory began in the womb, when my dad used to play me a variety of music, from Prince to Frank Zappa and Metallica. Music connected us throughout our lives together and even up to his last weeks on Earth we catalogued and listened to new music from an unknown band he’d discovered in America. He is sadly no longer with us, but not only have I been left with an extensive collection of CDs and vinyl to treasure, I have the emotions, memories and experiences we shared, all of which come flooding back to me when I listen to the music that we shared together.

We’ve all experienced that: hearing a favourite old song that brings up good and sometimes bad memories of people, times, places and even sensations. You can probably remember vividly your first concert or buying your first record or CD and how that made you feel. It’s been shown repeatedly that there is an inseparable connection between music, emotion and memory.

Remember that while we may only be small cogs in the bigger wheel … we truly are making a difference to humankind

Not only can music help preserve memories, it can play a part in the construction of us as people, determining what we wear, who our friends are and where we spend our time. And it can also aid in our physical wellbeing.

Look at the incredible work that charities such as Nordoff Robbins do in rehabilitating people through music therapy, as a shining example of the power of music. Even towards the end of life the positive effects can be seen in Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers. This was demonstrated most recently by 80-year-old Teddy Mac, ‘The Songaminute Man’, whose car-pool videos posted by his son went viral. As an Alzheimer’s sufferer, Teddy was unable to remember almost anything except the lyrics to the songs that he so beautifully delivers.

So when we have those days of doubt, remember that while we may only be small cogs in the bigger wheel, and we may sometimes doubt the significance of what we do, we truly are making a difference to humankind.

 


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Call for UK’s best live act 2016

Voting opens today for the 2016 Silver Clef Awards’ best live act category.

The Ticketmaster UK-sponsored award is the only category that can be voted on by the general public and is composed of 10 acts “handpicked by a panel of music industry experts, who sifted through Ticketmaster’s most searched artists who performed in the UK between March 2015 and March 2016”.

The nominees are AdeleLittle MixMuseThe 1975Ed SheeranBring Me the HorizonFlorence + the MachineCatfish and the BottlemenOne Direction and Rudimental.

Voting is either via www.ticketmaster.co.uk/best-live-act or by tweeting to the event’s organiser, music charity Nordoff Robbins (@NordoffRobbins1), using the hashtag #BLAartistname (for example #BLAadele).

The winners in the other categories have already been revealed: Lionel Richie will take home the O2 Silver Clef award, with Florence Welch picking up best female artist, Olly Murs best male artist, Jess Glynne best newcomer and André Rieu the PPL classical award.

Past best live act winners include Arctic Monkeys (2015), Justin Timberlake (2014), One Direction (2013), McFly (2012) and Sir Paul McCartney (2011).

Andrew Parsons, managing director of Ticketmaster UK, says: “We love working with Nordoff Robbins and are very proud to team up again in the hunt for the best live act act of 2016. Being the only award at the Silver Clefs voted for by the fans makes it a very special one, and with this shortlist it’s going to be a tight race. Good luck to all of the nominees.”

Voting closes on Friday 17 June. The awards, which raise money for Nordoff Robbins’s music therapy work, take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 1 July.