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International Festival Forum 2022 sells out

The International Festival Forum (IFF), the key autumn gathering of the international music festival business, has sold out.

A record 800 delegates from 45 countries are expected to attend the eighth edition, which kicks off tomorrow night (27 September) in Camden, London.

Since 2015, IFF has seen the industry’s principal buyers and sellers come together for 2.5 days of networking, showcases, and conference sessions.

This year’s instalment will see world-class booking agencies such as Wasserman Music, X-Ray Touring, UTA and Primary Talent showcase festival-ready talent.

The conference programme, meanwhile, will offer sessions including The Festival Season 2022, New Kids on the Block and Festivals & Agents: Happier than ever?, as well as a keynote conversation with Roskilde.

Speakers for these sessions include Sean Goulding (One Fiinix Live, UK), Natasha Gregory (Mother Artists, UK), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio, DE), Adele Slater (Wasserman Music, UK) and Rauha Kyyrö (Fullsteam, FI).

The eighth edition of IFF also sees the introduction of a new central hub, the Holiday Inn in Camden, which will be transformed into IFF Central for three days.

Exclusive to delegates, IFF Central will host all conference sessions, complimentary delegate lunches, a late-night bar that’s open until the early hours, and ample space for private meetings.

This year’s IFF is presented in association with TicketSwap, and with support from Ticketmaster, Tysers, Vatom, eps, Ooosh! Tours, Music Venue Trust, John Henry’s and the UK’s Department for International Trade.

For more information on the IFF’s 2022 schedule, click here.

 


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Tech startup launches financing for festivals

Easol, a festival, travel and event ecommerce startup in London, is launching a new financing solution designed for festival organisers.

According to the company, Easol Capital will create a “fairer, flexible and transparent financing process that puts control back in the hands of festival organisers”.

Organisers that take out an Easol Capital-facilitated loan will pay a fixed fee that is a percentage of a borrowed amount – typically 5-12% – rather than an interest rate.

Similarly, repayments will be a fixed percentage of weekly sales which means if revenue slows down, repayments do too.

Loans are expected to be repaid within 4–8 months but the company says that organisers can repay early or easily access more capital if their circumstances change.

Easol says organisers can create a free application within minutes, and receive a decision within a day. If approved, the loan can be withdrawn immediately.

Loans are currently live in the UK and the US, with organisers able to apply for between £1,000 and £1.5 million.

“We feel that organisers have not been given the flexibility that they require from many traditional ticketing platforms”

The company says there are plans to expand loan sizes and enter most European markets in the next few months.

“We feel that festival and event organisers have not been given the flexibility that they require from many traditional ticketing platforms and finance solutions, for too long,” says Ben Simpson, co-founder and CEO of Easol.

“We’re super proud to launch Easol Capital so that we can offer an alternative that works with organisers rather than tying them into terms which may not work for them in terms of cash flow flexibility and in the long term. More than ever, the pandemic has highlighted to us the importance of flexibility and adaptability, particularly given the unique nature of the festival sales cycle.

“With the simple and fixed fee structure of Easol Capital, there are fairer interest rates and no nasty surprises of the cost of capital. We believe there is a better way that works for everyone, and we’re excited to be leading this change in the industry!”

Benjamin Sasse, co-founder of Bulgarian festival Meadows in the Mountains, comments: “We secured funding from Easol Capital’s partners in its Beta phase and it has been a game changer for our festival. The whole application process was so easy, and we had the money in our bank within 24 hours.

“Our festival requires a huge amount of logistics and third-party suppliers to help build the site on our Bulgarian mountain, and also to provide accommodation and food. Having access to capital during this time is crucial for us to be able to pay people on time and manage our cash flow across the different stages of the festival. Easol is the only provider on the market that gives the flexibility we need. They understand how the sales cycle works and have created a perfect solution.”

Easol will be outlining the benefits of Easol Capital at its Festivals Showcase event, streamed globally on 22 September.

 


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Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges

To the Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng MP,

Following two hugely disrupted years of closures, cancellations and government restrictions, live music is once again bringing joy to communities across the UK.

This summer saw one of the biggest weekends of live music in the country’s history with an estimated one million fans flocking to world-famous festivals, classical concerts and grassroots gigs over the space of 48 hours.

The UK is world-leading when it comes to live music, its creation and delivery. But our industry is facing unprecedented challenges.

Sky-rocketing operating costs combined with energy bill increases of up to 1,700% and pressure on disposable income are closing the doors on live music spaces at an alarming rate. Gigs, festivals and tours are being postponed while, according to the Music Venue Trust, at least 300 grassroots venues risk permanent closure.

The energy crisis is just the latest in a range of impacts on our vibrant sector

These domestic pressures come at a time when live music touring is proving both costly and complex, which is especially harmful to artists who are at the start of their careers. In 2019, UK music exports were valued at £2.9bn with UK artists headlining four of the top ten grossing tours. Unfortunately, the costs and complexity of touring post-Brexit put this at risk.

And this does not just affect our venues and events. Every lost gig, festival or venue jeopardises a highly specialised supply chain, puts skilled jobs at risk and leaves our talented artists without opportunities to profit from their creativity. We cannot afford to lose our live music sector, which generates an estimated £4.5 billion every year for the UK economy and whose talented artists and crews are the envy of the world.

While today’s energy announcement goes some way to alleviate that risk, as soon as this support is removed, we will again face the threat of widespread closure. The energy crisis is just the latest in a range of impacts on our vibrant sector.

We need your help.

With our industry still hurting from the aftereffects of Covid and rising costs across the supply chain, we continue to make the case that our sector needs additional support from government – if we are to keep all concert halls, arenas, festivals, and grassroots music venues open, we need movement on VAT and business rates.

If we are to keep all venues open, we need movement on VAT and business rates

An emergency reintroduction of the 5% VAT rate on live music ticket sales would keep people employed, venues and festivals open, and money flowing back into local economies as fans flock to gigs.

Based on 2021 figures, the reintroduction of 5% VAT on tickets sales would cost just £150 million in the first year. Funds used by industry to expand the event roster and mitigate cost pressures on ticket prices. This additional activity would generate a further £12om spend at venues – safeguarding thousands of jobs, keeping hundreds of venues open, generating incremental tax revenues and getting millions of pounds flowing into local economies. It would also build on other sectoral interventions such as Theatre Tax Relief and Orchestra Tax Relief, which are helping the sector bounce back post-pandemic.

Running this intervention for just three short years would mitigate some of the huge overhanging pressures the industry faces post-Brexit and Covid, while making live music events more accessible at a time when the country needs it most.

It’s over to you to ensure the UK’s live music sector has a vibrant future, helping us all to reap the cultural, economic, and social value music brings to the country – and to the world at large.

 


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European trade bodies rally governments for energy aid

European live music trade bodies are lobbying for government-backed support packages to mitigate rocketing energy bills and prevent the sector from collapsing.

Last month, IQ heard from a number of European arenas who say that skyrocketing energy costs are emerging as the sector’s biggest challenge since the Covid-19 pandemic. ASM Global’s Marie Lindqvist said the prices for electricity and gas at the company’s venues have quadrupled since the beginning of the year, with the UK being hit the hardest.

UK live music trade bodies today (21 September) welcomed the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses but have called for further clarification of the details.

The scheme, revealed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry, will see energy bills for UK businesses cut by around half of their expected level this winter.

The news comes after it was revealed that some UK live music venues are seeing their energy bills increase by an average of 300% –in some cases as much as 740% – adding tens of thousands of pounds to their running costs.

Under the new scheme, wholesale prices are expected to be fixed for all non-domestic energy customers at £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas for six months between 1 October and 31 March 2023.

The support is equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in place for households and applies to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts.

UK live music trade bodies today welcomed the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses

This scheme will apply to England, Scotland, and Wales, with a parallel scheme will be established in Northern Ireland, and will be reviewed after three months with an option to extend support for “vulnerable businesses”. However, it is not yet clear whether the live music sector falls into this category.

LIVE CEO Jon Collins welcomes the support but says the government must sustain it past the next six months. “Spiralling energy prices have already forced music venues up and down the country to close or curtail their programming and this will begin again as soon as this support is removed – it is plainly obvious that live music must be on the list of sectors considered ‘vulnerable’ by government.

“With our industry still hurting from the aftereffects of Covid and rising costs across the supply chain, we continue to make the case that our sector needs action on VAT and business rates if we are to keep all concert halls, arenas, festivals, and grassroots music venues open, bringing joy to millions and showcasing the best UK and international talent.”

Music Venue Trust (MVT) CEO and founder Mark Davyd has also warmly welcomed the package, saying the scheme “appears at face value to comprehensively tackle the immediate short-term energy crisis for grassroots music venues”.

“We await full details of the scheme and the method of implementation by the energy retailers and suppliers, but the base unit rate of 21.1p per kW/h laid out by these plans is sufficient to avert the collapse of the sector if it is fully delivered,” says Davyd.

“We understand that the government plans to bring forward controls to ensure that this target price is delivered and we look forward to reading their plans to implement this rate as a maximum for all music venues in the UK.”

The scheme “appears at face value to comprehensively tackle the immediate short-term energy crisis for GMVs”

However, MVT is also urging the government to clarify which sectors fall into the “vulnerable businesses” category: “The government has indicated that ‘pubs’ will attract support for longer than the six-month initial period based on the special circumstances of the energy crisis in relation to the operation of their business.

“We have asked for urgent clarification that the broad term ‘pub’ includes music venues and other licensed premises essential to the grassroots music ecosystem, and anticipate that this will be the case.”

The trade bodies have pointed out that further support is needed, in addition to the scheme, in order to stabilise the sector after the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector is calling on the Chancellor to reduce VAT on ticket sales to 5% and reform business rates in the mini-budget expected this Friday (23 September).

Elsewhere in Europe, markets including the Netherlands and Germany are still lobbying for critical support to curb “disastrous” energy costs for live music businesses.

In the Netherlands, the Association of Theatre and Concert Hall Directors (VSCD) says a large proportion of its 151 members are in danger of getting into financial trouble due to rising energy costs and inflation.

“For many venues, the rise in energy costs is disastrous. The expectation for next year is that we will be seven times more expensive. Even if we sell out every performance, this cost increase is impossible to absorb,” says Mirjam Radstake, director of Theater Hanzehof and Buitensociëteit in Zutphen.

VSCD is calling on the Dutch government to help local authorities subsidise venues’ energy bills

With only 7% of its members receiving some form of compensation to cover the costs, VSCD is calling on the Dutch government to make an extra contribution to the municipal fund so that local authorities can subsidise venues’ energy bills.

The association argues that, currently, subsidies do not reflect venues’ rising costs, which also include a 9.7% rise in rent and a 10% increase in the minimum wage, and that passing these costs onto the public is not an option.

“If we increase the ticket price, the public will drop out,” says Charles Droste, director of Cultuurbedrijf Amphion in Doetinchem.

“At the moment, 25% fewer tickets have been sold with us in September than in September 2019. The public seems to be waiting for rising energy costs and inflation.”

Earlier this week, the Taskforce Creative Culture and Media also sent a letter to the cabinet, containing a general plea to protect the sector against the current inflation and increased energy costs.

Meanwhile, Germany’s live association, the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV), is calling on the federal government to design a special relief programme for the events industry to put forward to the EU Commission.

Germany’s live association is calling on the federal government to design a special relief programme for the events industry

Earlier this year, the EU Commission adopted a Temporary Crisis Framework which enabled member states to be more flexible with State aid rules in order to support the economy during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under the framework, member states could grant a limited amount of aid to companies affected by the crisis, or by the subsequent sanctions and countersanctions, up to the increased amount of €62,000 and €75,000 in the agriculture and fisheries and aquaculture sectors respectively, and up to €500,000 in all other sectors.

However, in the plan, the EU Commission does not count the events industry among the “systemically important” sectors eligible for aid. BDKV is now asking for a revision to the framework, to allow businesses in the events industry to receive up to €500,000.

“Without state support, there is a risk of the industry collapsing with bankruptcies, operational closures and further migration of skilled workers and the self-employed,” reads a statement from BDKV. “This special programme is needed now and not in the near future when such help is already too late.”

Timo Feuerbach, MD of the European Association of Event Centers (EVVC), says: “The events industry has not yet recovered from the corona-related restrictions of the past few years. The consequences of the war in Ukraine, high inflation and impending bottlenecks in the energy supply are also hitting us hard. Together with the disastrous communication from the federal government on the subject of Corona, which is unsettling customers and is already costing orders, our industry is in danger of being left behind in international competition.”

 


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Stuart Galbraith, Oliver Hoppe join DEAG board

Germany’s Deutsche Entertainment (DEAG) has appointed Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith and Wizard Promotions’ Oliver Hoppe as divisional board members.

Galbraith becomes executive vice president of international touring, and is tasked with the development of the rock/pop/contemporary business within the DEAG Group and in DEAG’s national markets (Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark).

Hoppe, meanwhile, is named executive vice president of product and innovation, and is responsible for the further development of the overarching product acquisition and utilisation.

DEAG says the pair’s tasks will also include the further expansion of the live entertainment business and a stronger interlinking of the DEAG Group companies.

This includes the development of new channels for the evaluation of content as well as the further harmonisation of various distribution channels.

Hoppe and Galbraith will assist DEAG’s executive board with the implementation of M&A projects

In addition, Hoppe and Galbraith will assist DEAG’s executive board with the implementation of M&A projects and create further synergy effects in ticketing and artist acquisition.

Hoppe is managing director of the DEAG subsidiary Wizard Promotions, the main tour and concert promoter within the DEAG Group in Germany. In recent years, the company has organised concerts by Iron Maiden, Bryan Ferry, Zucchero, Papa Roach, KISS, Böhse Onkelz and den Scorpions, among other artists.

Wizard’s portfolio also includes artists like 50 Cent, Limp Bizkit and Jamie Cullum.

Galbraith is CEO of the British promoter Kilimanjaro Live. The DEAG subsidiary has significantly expanded its event portfolio in recent years to include areas such as the spoken word, comedy and sports, and is now one of the largest live entertainment promoters in the UK. Both Galbraith and Hoppe will remain active in these roles.

The executive board is completed by Jacqueline Zich (executive vice president classics & jazz and COO DEAG Classics AG) and Benedikt Alder (executive vice president legal affairs & business development).

 


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Sam Fender to play historic gig at St. James’ Park

Sam Fender is to become the first Geordie artist to headline St James’ Park in his hometown of Newcastle, UK.

The North Shields singer-songwriter says it is “a dream come true” to announce a show at the 55,000-capacity football stadium, home to Premier League club Newcastle United.

The 28-year-old’s historic concert is set to take place on 9 June 2023, with support from Inhaler and Holly Humberstone.

It will see Fender follow in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Ed Sheeran who have all performed at St. James’ Park.

“Ever since I started this band, I always used to joke with the boys that one day we might play St James’ Park in Newcastle,” says Fender.

“This is literally [going to] be the biggest show we’ve ever done – our first stadium show”

“This is literally [going to] be the biggest show we’ve ever done – our first stadium show, which is so weird to say. I can’t wait, it’s gonna be absolutely lush and I hope to see you all there.”

Fender has won two Brit awards, the critics’ choice rising star in 2019 and best rock/alternative singer in 2022, both of which have been turned into beer hand pulls at the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields, where he worked and was discovered at the age of 18.

Both his albums, 2019’s Hypersonic Missiles and 2021’s Seventeen Going Under topped the UK charts, and he had supported the likes of The Killers and The Rolling Stones before headlining a sell-out 45,000 crowd in London’s Finsbury Park in June this year.

Fender’s agent Paul Wilson spoke to IQ earlier this year about the Finsbury Park show and the artist’s long-term ambition to perform at St. James’ Park.

 


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Bristol’s SWX gets £3.2m redo after arson attack

SWX Bristol, a 1,800-capacity venue in the southwest of England, is to reopen just over a year after an arson attack damaged the building.

Following the incident, Electric Group, which has owned and operated the venue since 2017, gave the Nelson Street venue a £3.2 million reconstruction.

The restored venue is due to reopen on 9 September with a show by metal band Gloryhammer, followed by club night Far Fetched.

Electric Group said the focus of the rebuild was on restoring the previous infrastructure with upgraded tech. The refit involved the fitting of an L-Acoustics Kara II PA, all new lighting, motors, and a Fiend Productions’ LED wall.

Among the most notable changes are the double-height foyer, a reinstated feature from the Top Rank Suite-era, and a wheelchair-friendly lift that opens up access to all three floors for people with a disability.

The venue closed 13 months ago when an arsonist, who was said to be obsessed with lockdown measures, set light to a petrol-soaked towel and posted it through the SWX letterbox.

“We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic”

Artists slated to play at SWX this year include Banks, Rema, Young T & Bugsey, Sugababes and Black Midi.

“The response has almost been overwhelming,” says Electric Group head of music Mike Weller. “We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic. On almost a daily basis for nearly a year I’ve been asked, ‘Is the diary open? When will you be back?'”

Electric Group CEO Dominic Madden said, “The fire, product of an arsonist’s obsessive concern with lockdown and Covid legislation, was started at 4 am and raged for 27 hours. Our original sprung dance floor lives to tell the tale but not much else.

“Among the reconstruction we have fitted electric shutters at all entrances to ensure nothing like this can happen again.

“While our priority was to retain the essence of the venue’s success, updating facilities to ensure that SWX would serve the requirements of artists and audiences for another 50 years, I was really pleased to take this opportunity to make the venue fully disability friendly.”

Alongside SWX, Electric Group also runs London’s 1,700-cap. Electric Brixton (formerly the Fridge), and owns O2 Academy Newcastle (operated by Academy Music Group) and the Leadmill in Sheffield.

 


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WME promotes four to agent in music and touring division

WME has promoted four team members to agent in its Contemporary Music and Touring division: Justin Edwards, Mary Hannon, Phoebe Holley and Matt Smith.

“We are thrilled and beyond proud to announce these much-deserved promotions,” says Lucy Dickins, global head and Kirk Sommer, global co-head of WME’s Contemporary Music and Touring.

“Justin, Mary, Phoebe and Matt have all excelled in what they do and have brought tremendous passion, energy, and creativity to their work for our artists and internally to the WME team. It’s so exciting to see their growth, and we are honoured to have them be part of the future of WME.”

Justin Edwards’ career at WME began in 2017, and he has worked alongside six agents in six unique departments of WME. He currently handles The Revivalists and The Main Squeeze, alongside their WME agent teams, and oversees bookings for over 75 festivals for the agency, including Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, Wonderstruck, Wonderbus, Capitol Hill Block Party, SunFest, Rifflandia, Mempho, and Desert Daze. Edwards specialises in booking WME’s alternative/rock/indie clients on festivals across North America and his focus is to grow WME’s contemporary music presence in Nashville.

“Justin, Mary, Phoebe and Matt have brought tremendous passion, energy, and creativity to their work”

Mary Hannon started her career at WME in 2016 in the mailroom after graduating from Ohio State University. She worked in country music in WME’s Nashville office, and in 2020, transferred to the Beverly Hills office to work in hip-hop, initially in the festival department and most recently working for the co-head of hip-hop and R&B, Caroline Yim. Hannon’s focus is on booking WME’s Music roster and will work closely on client teams including Anderson .Paak, DOMi & JD Beck, Earl Sweatshirt, Jhené Aiko, Kehlani, Rico Nasty, Steve Lacy, Syd, Willow, and many others.

Phoebe Holley originally joined WME in 2019 and began working with Lucy Dickins at the beginning of 2021 with clients Knucks, Abra Cadabra, Ruti, Chrissi, Bonnie Kemplay, and Sam Akpro. A graduate of UHI, Holley grew up in Spain and returned to her native UK to pursue a career in music, booking a club night at King Tuts and showcasing the likes of Lewis Capaldi, The Snuts and Vistas. She is currently based in the Beverly Hills office.

Matt Smith joined WME’s London office in 2018. He served as the assistant to Steve Hogan, Ella Street, Andy Nees, Jenna Dooling and Brendan Long, and in 2021 was promoted to agent trainee working with Steve Hogan on tours for clients such as Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz, Groove Armada, ARTBAT, Madeon, Porter Robinson, and many more. With his promotion to agent, Smith will continue to be based in the London office, working in the electronic music department and booking shows across various European territories.

WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, Lucy Dickins, is profiled in the latest issue of IQ, available to read here.

 


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: Cloe Gregson, Manchester Pride

The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) last month.

The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster. 

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with Troy Suda, chief product officer at Ticketmaster in the UK.

The series continues with Cloe Gregson (she/her/hers), senior events manager at Manchester Pride in the UK.

 


Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
A big personal triumph for me is curating the lineup for the Gay Village Party in 2021. It was my first year leading on the programme and it ended up being the queerest and most diverse lineup Manchester Pride had seen to date.

The pool of talent in Manchester is incredible and I created the programme by working with some of the absolute powerhouses that reside here. Co-designing with Fat Pride, Trans Filth and Joy, Black Pride MCR and some of the best queer females and femmes.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Support each other! Accepting the support offered to you is the best advice I can give – you will learn and grow from it. If you have an idea, ask as many people as you can about it and take their feedback because it’s priceless. Gaining others’ insight teaches you how to offer that same support to others. Someone once told me to always told me to pick another letter from LGBTQI+ to support, if you’re L…support the T!

Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry
Before my time at Manchester Pride, I worked mostly in live music and events and in a cis-white-male-dominated industry and it often felt like a fight to prove my worth and to feel respected. When I joined Manchester Pride, it felt like home and I’ve felt championed in everything that I do.

“If you have an idea, ask as many people as you can about it and take their feedback because it’s priceless”

One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place?
We need to make sure we are paying all artists fairly and trying our hardest to ensure we meet fee expectations. No artist should be expected to work for free or for less than they are worth. Sticking by this will mean we see more local and up-and-coming artists featured.

A cause you support
Supporting our trans community…all year round. Ensuring our trans and non-binary family are represented in all of the events that we do, as producers, technical team, hosts, panellists, photographers dancers, singers, poets and more. Representation across every area is super important.

The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
We have some amazing artists joining us for this year’s festival. I’m looking forward to checking out what Black Pride MCR do this year, NIMMO who are joining us from London and Bimini! I’m also really excited to see some of the incredible programme for Superbia! that Beau-Azra Scott has produced.

Your favourite queer space
Fat Out Festival, which is three days of continuous experimental music and art performances. It’s queer, grassroots and based in Manchester. What more could you want?


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: Paul Bonham, MMF

The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) last month.

The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster. 

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with Peter Taylor, founder of Cuffe and Taylor in the UK.

The series continues with Paul Bonham (he/him/his/they/them/theirs), professional development director at Music Managers Forum in the UK.


Tell us about a personal triumph in your career
Becoming involved with Attitude is Everything in the early 2000s. I learned so much from Suzanne Bull MBE, most notably that change is always possible. Their Charter of Best Practice allowed me to understand that barriers can always be broken down, whether the obstacles are physical, economic, or attitudinal. I’ve taken that philosophy into the MMF, and it’s great to see the management community advocating for a fairer and more transparent industry.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Know your history. It’s easy to become isolated as the only queer in an organisation, office or another environment. Knowing the stories of the past has helped me. Read The Velvet Mafia, Jayne County’s biog; search on YouTube for Divine’s fab TOTP performance; or McAlmont & Butler on [Later With Jools Holland]. Queers have been a cornerstone within music for a long, long time.

Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry
Consistently coming out can be a drain, especially in those parts of the industry that are still quite macho. Not knowing anything about football has stalled conversations on what might otherwise have been good business relationships.

“Queers have been a cornerstone within music for a long, long time”

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
Drinking. Getting drunk is awesome fun until it’s not. In an industry based on relationships and nightlife, I had amazing times and met some incredible people but these days I’m grateful for sobriety, day raves and festivals.

One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place
The nighttime economy is really missing out on serving iced tea and coffee at raves or gigs. Tapped sugary drinks like cola or the energy drinks have had their time.

A cause you support
I love the work of Gendered Intelligence, Key Changes – Promoting Positive Mental Health through Music, and UK Black Pride.

The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
I’m excited about some of the acts the accelerator managers have been working such as Shygirl and Grove, Lil Nas X, girl in red, Rina Sawayama. It’s incredible – the diversity within queer music.

Your favourite queer space
NYC Downlow and Body Movements.

 


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