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LGBTIQ+ List 2024: Ross Patel, LIVE/MMF/Whole Ent

The LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – IQ Magazine’s fourth annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s fourth Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on yesterday’s interview with Rivca Burns (she/her), director of From the Other and acting head of music at Factory International.

The series continues with Ross Patel (they/them), CEO, board director, consultant, talent manager, and DJ for LIVE, Whole Entertainment, RossPatelCo, MMF, UMA Ent, and Polyamoross.

Ross Patel is a CEO, founder, board member & consulting advisor with 15+ years of diverse experience in music, media, entertainment, sustainability & tech. Passionate about strategy and talent management, creating platforms to launch and support creatives, talent, brands, and events with social impact at the heart. 

Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2024 so far.
I’ve been sitting on the Live Green steering committee for a couple of years now as a representative for the Music Managers Forum 1500+ membership. It’s been great to see the group grow and build momentum as everyone shows up and makes their contributions. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of leading an initiative with the brilliant Carol Scott (Live Green Chair/Tait) and a fantastic and diverse working group of stakeholders from across the industry to draft sustainable clauses for live booking contracts. Carol, myself and Tom Schroder (who has been instrumental in getting the clause to the major agencies) presented the work on a panel at the GEI conference. That felt pretty significant. The climate issue has always been and will always be one of intersectionality so I’d like to think this work means a better future for everyone and a more conscious approach to our business. It feels like it could have some real lasting impact.

“Culturally, we need to increase awareness around the various privileges we all hold in order to allow us to act in a way that uses them to help others”

As a manager, what’s your most pressing challenge in the industry right now?
I feel like I’d need a while to fully cover this off! In an attempt to keep it brief… I’d say rising costs across the board in the industry plus the more general cost of living crisis plus mega stars taking all the money and giving very little back comparatively and having a UK government that doesn’t care for the arts has put the majority of people in the industry in a very hard position… *and breathe*. I’d like to see the work that’s going on with ticket levies (stadiums and arenas to contribute a small portion of sales to local grassroots music organisations) get over the line. This would help massively with creating economic buoyancy and a more sustainable business model in the live sector, while also helping to address a necessary shift in the culture and perspective of giving.

Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Putting the effort in to view things through an intersectional lens as often as possible feels like a great place to start. There is still a lot of education that needs to happen around this. Culturally, we need to increase awareness around the various privileges we all hold in order to allow us to act in a way that uses them to help others. We’re lucky enough to have brilliant organisations tackling certain ‘isms’ such as Attitude Is Everything which is committed to improving access for those with access needs in the industry, She Said So which is helping to increase femme representation, the Trans Creative Collection which works with creative trans (+ allies), the Black Music Coalition etc. The list goes on! It’s amazing to see these groups making a difference in their organisations and delivering ‘bottom-up’ change. Now we need tangible ‘top down’ systemic change to protect those most vulnerable in society and to create a culture where everyone feels safe and can thrive.

“Everyone deserves a chance of living happily”

Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
I can’t just name one… so much amazing talent out there… Jess Hands and I are playing B2B at QYSP Festival in London – can’t wait for that. Chloe Cailet, Jake Sheers, Kim Petras, Grace Sands, Absolute.

Do you have a favourite queer space?
I have a few! This year I took on the talent-buying role at Club Love in Bristol. It’s an incredible event with a wonderful team led by Tam who puts their heart and soul into every detail of decor, production and play spaces without compromising on the music and DJs. The same can be said for Pinky Promise, Joyride and Body Movements that I’ve had the privilege and pure joy of DJing at in the past… and hopefully will get invited back again in the future. I also love the vibe at Howl and am looking forward to going to Quench soon. I’ve heard nothing but good things! Would also recommend Trash, Riposte and Riot.

“This sense of Pride is something I’m learning to cultivate and nurture within myself on a daily basis”

Shout out any LGBTIQ+ cause(s) you support.
I was involved in a fundraiser for Jess Hands which raised money to pay for vocal cord surgery. It was incredible to see the difference the surgery made in this wonderful person’s life and was a reminder of how powerful and essential gender-affirming healthcare is. Everyone deserves a chance of living happily. I think we have a duty as conscious beings to strive to make that possible for as many beings as possible. Any LGBTIQ+ organisations that are working towards that goal get my vote. But also more than specific causes, I would encourage anyone to support marginalised groups and/or people directly. This can be through gofundme campaigns or by ensuring that intersectional diversity and inclusion are always being considered. Platform and pay fairly people in marginalised groups. Hopefully one day we won’t need the organisations that currently work in these spaces!

How do you like to celebrate Pride?
Quietly… and sometimes loudly! This sense of Pride is something I’m learning to cultivate and nurture within myself on a daily basis. The more I’m able to, the more I feel like I’m becoming a better, more compassionate, more whole person. It’s something that I like to think I bring with me everyday, quietly, when I show up, however I choose to or feel comfortable with on any given day. I also like to go all out when the opportunities arise. Last year I really did lean into the pride celebrations. My pride started at Outloud Festival in West Hollywood, LA. An incredibly well-programmed event by a good friend, Sam Hiller and the JLA team. I also went to Brighton, London and my first Manchester Pride with Absolute and Demi Riquisimo. This year’s pride months will be starting with the Mighty Hoopla in London followed by Brighton Pride. Who knows where else from there… perhaps some readers will hit me up with recommendations!


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