What was the first gig you ever attended?
I went to a few gigs with my folks when I was young (Runrig, Status Quo – things like that) but the first show I bought my own ticket for and went with my mates to was Metallica in ‘92.
What made you want to work in venues and how did your career start?
I was in my final year (2001) studying computing when I started working in the bar at Tut’s for some extra money and I fell into from there – I had been playing in bands and DJing so Tut’s was the perfect place. I worked in academia for a few years but didn’t really get the satisfaction from it. When the opportunity to come back and join the management team at Tut’s full time was given to me a I jumped at it and I’ve been here ever since.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learnt whilst working in venues?
There are so many situations that have arisen over the years and each one of them is learning experience in itself but I’d say that good manners and a positive attitude go a very long way. Team work and good communication is vital, too.
What’s the funniest moment you’ve had at a venue you’ve worked in?
I’m not sure I can say… Some of the nonsense we’ve got up to over the years will always remain with me (and only me!)
Many of us have worked together for so many years we’re like family and so some of the chat can be pretty amusing (though possibly not suitable for publishing online!) due to the familiarity.
In your opinion, what does the next 5 years look like for live entertainment venues?
Smaller and independent venues are more susceptible to the impact of property development in towns and city centres, and that is a challenge that will need to be met head on by the venues and local authorities (the amazing work of the MVT is due a mention here) because if we don’t protect our grassroots venues, then we’re going to be left far poorer culturally, so I think the next 5 or so years will be key.
I am, however, extremely optimistic about the future and I love what I do. The satisfaction we get of seeing an audience beaming at the end of a show is huge and it’s why we do this. There is still huge appetite for people going to live music events – for folks young and old – long may it continue!