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The New Bosses 2022: Kathryn Dryburgh, ATC Live

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Jonathan Hou, senior director of talent and touring at Live Nation APAC. The series continues with Kathryn Dryburgh, agent’s assistant at ATC Live in the UK.

Raised in the small town of St. Andrews (Scotland), Dryburgh longed to feel connected with live music, so moved to Glasgow (the UNESCO city of music) for university as soon as she could.

At university she studied commercial music, and she started booking local shows; took on internships at a label and promotions company; and founded a female-centric events company called Queens of Noise – where she took pride in championing a platform for young creatives.

After graduating, she began her career at ATC Live – after a delayed start due to Covid – where she has been for a short 15 months, working with artists including Passenger, The Twilight Sad, The Magnetic Fields, Billie Marten, and Christian Lee Hutson (alongside Colin Keenan).


 You started booking shows when you were at university. How did you learn to do that, and who did you turn to for advice?
It sparked from my first year. I was keen to learn more about Glasgow’s local scene and wanted to get involved with the bands and venues, so took a leap and figured it out as I went. I was 17, from a small seaside town with no live music venues, so to start with it was a guessing game but figured it out as I went along – with advice from friends (who had toured) and lecturers.

Queens of Noise is a great idea. Can you tell us more about it, as well as any other success stories to come out of it?
Queens of Noise is a female-centric, gender-inclusive business based in Glasgow that is striving to tackle gender bias within the music industry. It is a community-focused project and a safe space for anyone looking to work in the music industry.

Founded in 2018, the inaugural event hosted panels, workshops, and showcases over two days. We were blown away by the response, inundated with questions and ideas, people really linked together as a community and many who attended have since achieved huge things – from starting their own project, getting into education, landing placements or full-time positions, and artists gaining large followings (including Swim School, Medicine Cabinet). We’re working on bringing it back now that the pandemic has eased and are super excited to work with some more incredible people.

“I was keen to learn more about Glasgow’s local scene and wanted to get involved with the bands and venues”

If there were only three venues for your artists to play their first shows in, which venues would you want them to be, and why?
Of the one’s I’ve attended, my favourite venues would be The Barrowlands (Glasgow), Metropol (Berlin), and Sneaky Pete’s (Edinburgh). They all have their own unique atmosphere, hold treasured memories for me, and, of course, have hosted outstanding artists throughout the years.

As a New Boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
Gender and inclusivity has always been a huge focus for me in both my studies and while working in the industry. I’d love to see gender-bias tackled in a real, tangible way, with more female-presenting people better represented and in higher positions across all sectors of the industry.

“Never underestimate the importance of anyone, in any room”

Finding your feet in the industry in the post-pandemic scramble cannot have been easy. Do you have any tips for others when it comes to networking and meeting promoters and other business contacts?
It was a minefield. The pandemic hit the month I handed in my dissertation, and shortly after the government was recommending people in the live sector “retrain.” I was completely devastated and felt lost. Shortly after, I began a Masters in music business, in an attempt to stay connected to the world I had worked so hard to become part of. I would say, never underestimate the importance of anyone, in any room. I have always strived to value everyone I meet, learning from them or giving a helping hand – it’s those connections that will boost you when you need it most.

What would you like to see yourself doing in five years?
I’d love to be an agent in my own right. I’d like to develop a full, diverse, and exciting roster of bands that I can really pour time and energy into growing. I’d be delighted if I could make some real, notable change in regards to gender inclusion and visibility, whether on a localised- or large-scale.

“I’d be delighted if I could make some real, notable change in regards to gender inclusion and visibility”

You’re obviously quite driven and entrepreneurial. How do you pick yourself up when something doesn’t work out as you had hoped?
I have a tendency to always have ideas and often work on several things at once, so when one thing doesn’t work out, there’s always another to chisel away at. I do also take things to heart, so feeling deflated can be difficult. In those moments, lean on the community you build for yourself and take a moment, review, and try something else – failure can lead to great things.

And on the flip side, what’s been your career highlight so far – or is there any show or tour you’re particularly looking forward to in the near future?
I am delighted to be working at ATC Live, and particularly with such talented colleagues. Being paired with Colin (Keenan) has been fantastic, his ethic and roster are a great match for me, so I’m excited about pretty much everything the future holds. So far, I’ve got a few favourite moments. Most recently, going to The Great Escape as an attendee was incredible. The only other year I attended was 2019, as a volunteer. Coming back as a professional was a fantastic feeling.


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