Access All Areas April 2019 - Page 32

APRIL | COVER FEATURE the Crystal Palace Garden Parties series. All throughout one of the events, the test match commentary would keep overriding what we were doing because of the huge telegraph pole. In the middle of a set we’d get commentator Peter May talking over the top of us about England vs Australia. It was about learning how it worked in order to remedy it. Another mishap was when I managed Lynyrd Skynyrd and persuaded them to do a gig at Earls Court. It was my first event with my own business and I got sweet talked into putting in delays for the echo effect that occurs in Earls Court. I listened to the engineer and agreed to put in this delay system, but it completely and utterly fucked up. It was the worst sound of any concert I’ve seen, and the sound bounced everywhere. The band looked at me in “Freddie Mercury was pumping himself up backstage, and just tore the place apart. The rest is legend.” disbelief. Nowadays delay towers are standard, but it was probably the first time it had been tried, and it actually amplified the echo effect, making it ten times worse! It was probably my worst ever experience. Which people or companies do you look up to? All the technology and innovations that production companies have created at the request of artists to make it a great experience have been amazing. The companies that started off early like Brick Row have done fantastic things, as did people like Jim Marshall. You’ve remained independent. Is this something you insist on? I value my independence. I believe my role in life is to entertain people, so I sit as happily doing pop shows or promoting Smash Hits as classical concerts and operas. I worked with Pavarotti for 26 years. I persuaded Cirque du Soleil to come to the Albert Hall, then the Rolling Stones. I wanted the flexibility to do all that. I’m involved less in touring now, but more in immersive theatre at concerts in a structured framework. Some of the concert groups have become so big that they’ve just become bureaucrats, following formats. I like to say: “Just do it”. Is experiential a new concept? Experiential is not a new concept. It was coined by ‘Dill’ Driscoll and his wife Susan Driscoll. He ran a massive agency called Momentum, and invented the Olympic torch relay, and did a lot of work for Coca-Cola. Susan left because she couldn’t get any higher in the company so between us we formed Ignition. I stayed in touch with key people who were freelancing for me over my career. I have the best production team on the planet, and without them 32 I couldn’t do anything. I revere the work they do. Jim Bagott produced 19 Ultra Festivals last year and he’s at it again this year. We all came together, with Mark Bustard and Grant Campbell, to pool our resources and form a new agency. It’s called Nvisible because we want to be a pure white label agency, that supports agencies bidding for business and puts the best support team behind them. In an ideas-led business, how do you come up with ideas, and is there a special onus to get it right for the many charities you work with? Every day I go to my office, look at my emails and phone messages and a new idea floats by. I’ve become an idea factory. It’s not about what I do do, it’s what I don’t do. I’m always working on several projects at once, and if I can see an idea, why it’s different, then I can grab it and try and make it work. Because of the work I do, every charity wants me to do a project, and assumes I can get the Rolling Stones, etc at the drop of a hat, which I can’t. I’ve always believed it’s as easy to take it out as to give it back. Some do, some don’t. You toured with the Rolling Stones - do you have a nostalgia for the heyday of British rock? I do. I think we’ve seen the best of it. I was lucky to work in the 60s – the single most creative period we’ve seen in music, fashion, style, art and literature. It was post-war. A time when young people wanted a say in society, whereas before they were seen and not heard. Back then, I’d wake up in the morning and think: “Do I put on Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Who?”. Then the next minute someone else would come along with something new, like David Bowie. In that period it just went on and on and on. We don’t have that today, and I’m the boring old fart who for the last six or seven years has been