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Art & Industry founder Mick Griffiths passes

Mick Griffiths, veteran agent and founder of live music booking agency Art & Industry, has passed away.

Griffiths formed the London-based agency in 2010 after working as an agent at Asgard for 30 years.

During his career, Griffiths worked with artists including Mogwai, Ocean Colour Scene, The Go! Team and Julian Cope.

Following his passing, a raft of executives and artists from the live music industry have paid tribute on social media.

Anton Lockwood, director of live at DHP Family, wrote on Facebook: “Terrible news that Mick Griffiths has died. A proper independent agent who saw things his own way, and always took the creative path.

“A proper independent agent who saw things his own way, and always took the creative path”

“I had the pleasure of working with him on many shows, taking (one of my favourite artists) The House Of Love to the Roundhouse [in London], some incredible nights with The Go! Team Tindersticks and so many more.

“And l loved that Mick was more than an agent – under the name Schneider he created great minimalist, geometric artworks – one of my favourite times was only 4 years ago when we agreed for him paint on the rear wall of The Garage in his beloved Islington. Very sad to lose one of our proper original, maverick characters, will miss him.”

Ocean Colour Scene paid tribute to Griffiths on Twitter this morning: “We are very sad to hear the news that our friend and tour agent Mick Griffiths has passed away.

“Mick has helped plan the tours for over 25 years since the days of our album Moseley Shoals. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

The Go! Team tweeted: “Gutted to hear our live booking agent Mick Griffiths has passed away. Mick was with us from the very beginning and such a genuine lover of music. RIP Mick.”

Memphis Industries, the British independent record label that is home to The Go! Team, added: “Devastated to hear that our friend Mick Griffiths, agent to The Go! Team amongst many others, has passed away. A genuine inspiration to us for his independent spirit and passion for music and so much more besides. He’s going to be sadly missed.”

“A genuine inspiration to us for his independent spirit and passion for music”

Sebastien Vuignier, who worked with Griffiths on a number of concerts, wrote: “Very sad to hear that Mick Griffiths passed away. Mick was a wonderful person and passionate booking agent.

“I worked with him since 1999. We did wonderful shows together such as Tindersticks, Mogwai, Yann Tiersen, Efterklang and many more. My thoughts are with his family and friends, and of course his colleague Dave Jennings.”

Ade Dovey, live music promoter at Luminescent Live and former event programming and content manager for ASM Global, tweeted: “Absolutely gutted to hear that Mick Griffiths has left us. Owe this man a lot of gratitude for all the amazing shows we’ve worked and supporting me with putting gigs on over the years. Especially with Mogwai, Julian Cope, The Go Team and Ocean Colour Scene.”

Rob Whitaker, manager of acts including Editors, Slowdive and Public Service Broadcasting at Zoot Management, said: “Back in the mists of time, before the management adventure, when myself and Jacko were young promoters, he was the very kindest and most encouraging of all the agents. We continue to have many mutual friends and he’s always just felt like one of the good guys. The world is a worse place without him in it!”

“He’s always just felt like one of the good guys. The world is a worse place without him in it!”

Promoter Dave Travis wrote on Facebook: “I’ve been booking bands off him for around 40 years, I always enjoyed the bartering over sometimes small amounts on bands fees.

“Mick was also the artist Schneider, he produced incredible works of art that I was fortunate enough to display at Havill and Travis gallery.

“I took the photo below at Mick’s pop up exhibition in London 3 years ago, when I helped him hang the exhibition, it took the 2 of us 9 hours as I knew Mick would insist that it was millimetre perfect, it was a happy day.

“I ended up being Barman at the preview. I treasure the print he gave me as a gift for helping him, even though it was quite large and I took it to a Henge gig at The Lexington then walked to Euston with it after. I’ll miss our lovely chats about music, art and football.”

 


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Britpop to return to Knebworth with Cool Britannia

Knebworth House will this summer host a large-scale rock festival for first time since 2014 with Cool Britannia, a new three-day Britpop-centred event promoted by David Heartfield’s Heartfield Entertainment.

Twenty-two years after 250,000 people descended on Knebworth for Britpop’s high watermark – Oasis, with support from the Charlatans, Cast, the Prodigy, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers and the Chemical Brothers – a who’s who of Britpop greats, including Happy Mondays, Ocean Colour Scene, the Lightning Seeds, New Order’s Peter Hook, Dodgy and a returning Cast, will help transform ‘Britain’s biggest venue’ into a ’90s time capsule in the last weekend of August.

The 250-acre Knebworth Park last hosted a major rock show in 2014, when Iron Maiden and Metallica headlined the final UK edition of Kilimanjaro Live’s Sonisphere.

“This will surely be a great addition to our 44-year history of hosting some truly memorable events”

Martha Lytton Cobbold, managing director of Knebworth owner Lytton Enterprises, tells local paper the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “We are delighted to welcome Cool Britannia to Knebworth Park. With such a fantastic line-up of era-defining acts, this will surely be a great addition to our 44-year history of hosting some truly memorable events.

“We are looking forward to working with the Heartfield Entertainment team over the coming months to bring you a spectacular fun-filled weekend of music.”

Heartfield’s Impresario Festivals previously promoted South West Four, Field Day, Boardmasters and ’80s festival Rewind, which were acquired by Global in October 2016.

Tickets for Cool Britannia go on sale on 2 February. A full line-up is pictured below:

Cool Britannia 2018 line-up

 


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MJR Group expands with new hires, venues

Promoter and venue owner/operator MJR Group has added several new venues, made a number of hires and expanded into a new country, following a period of growth for the UK-based company.

Joining MJR Group – which promotes more than 2,500 shows in the UK annually and a further 250 overseas, chiefly in Australia and New Zealand – are Mark Dennis, who joins from DHP Family as international marketing and communications director; Lottie Bradshaw, formerly of CAA, who becomes assistant to promotions director Mike Jones; and new national promoter Joff Hall, formerly of venue management and booking consultancy VMS.

The Bristol-based company has also signed on to develop four venues in Birmingham: Digbeth Arena (4,000-cap. outdoor), Crane (3,000-cap.), Bromley Street (2,000-cap.) and Mama Roux’s (350-cap.). They join MJR’s existing portfolio of UK venues, including Tramshed (1,000-cap.) and the Globe (350-cap.) in Cardiff, the Assembly (1,000-cap.) in Leamington Spa, Engine Rooms (800-cap.) in Southampton and Plug (1,100-cap.) in Sheffield.

Outside the UK, the company promoted its first concert in Dubai on Thursday 9 November: a sold-out show for Ocean Colour Scene at the Irish Village (2,000-cap.) venue. “New confirmations will go live for Dubai shortly, with the next focus points being South Africa and south-east Asia, to link up the UK–UAE–AUS–NZ route a lot of my tours are now following,” Jones tells IQ.

“The Australia and NZ business is doing fantastically, and that’s been the foundation to go into the UAE and South Africa”

Future international shows include include Sia at the 30,000-cap. Mount Smart Stadium in Auckland; Mariah Carey at various 10,000-plus-capacity arenas and vineyards across Australia and New Zealand; and 50 Cent at Parramatta Park in Sydney and Showgrounds in Melbourne (both 10,000-cap.). Jones continues: “In general, the Australia and New Zealand business is doing fantastically, and that’s been the foundation to go into the UAE, South Africa, et cetera…”

In addition to south-east Asia and South Africa, Jones says MJR Group is also eyeing mainland Europe and Qatar as next steps for the company.

“My big focus now as promotions director is cementing the UK business with concerts and tours both inside and outside of our venues, but also developing further markets internationally, too,” he concludes. “I want to be the promoter that agents can pick up the phone to on UK time and have conversations about several international markets all at once.”

 


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