Access All Areas September 2019 - Page 37

SEPTEMBER | COVER FEATURE “Our primary objective over the next 2-3 years is to grow a business that looks beyond the traditional venues and spaces that have been used for live music and entertainment” — Bradley Thompson expect very high standards at music venues and events in recent years and this places some healthy pressure on promoters. Having a slightly larger business that enables us to have individuals or business units within the larger business ensures that we have people responsible and accountable, and safe and professional standards that need to be delivered consistently internally and with our suppliers are maintained. “Our focus – whether it is a festival or a venue – is and always has been on a truly great and memorable experience that isn’t just about the music. It’s the full picture: production, sound, friendly staff, plenty of bars and toilets, interesting selection of food and drinks, places to sit down and chill out, and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore and really lose yourself in. “From a supplier point of view, yes, we have greater purchasing power across a portfolio and where possible we work with the same suppliers which benefits everyone, particularly from a relationship point of view as well as knowing and understand each other’s systems and process which come off the back of working with a business or individuals over a long period of time.” Another concern is the market share larger companies hold allows them to win bidding wars where conglomerates are outbidding independents. Morgan says: “If you to take many of the conglomerate shows in silo on the large green space sites, their profit and loss would not make any financial sense even at sell out, thus independents cannot possibly compete. They are simply land banking green space to oust any form of competition and this isn’t securing the future of festivals in the UK, it’s simply trying to ensure that nobody can step on their toes.” Meanwhile, infrastructure costs are growing, and green space rental is increasing as councils are under pressure to plug their funding gap. “Independents have a huge drive to make their shows work, not just for themselves, but for the wider industry community, they will endeavour to add value to the local economy as demonstrated in The Political Economy of Informal Events 2030. This, in an already challenging environment, is often underestimated as are the jobs created whether it be technical production, and causal labour from bar work to accreditation.” One reaction to an increasingly homogenised market is to set yourself apart. Thompson says: “Our primary objective over the next 2-3 years is to grow a business that looks beyond the traditional venues and spaces that have been used for live music and entertainment and work across the UK to build individual venue businesses in more interesting spaces that not only focus on ticketed culture but corporate and brand experiences. In doing this we need to be open and work with everyone, from promoters to artists and collaborate with other venues.” It’s an issue that will run and run, but with the quality of independent festivals in the UK, there’s still much to play for. And, just as MySpace gave way to Facebook, and Nokia gave way to Apple, markets are seldom predictable. 37