MIN’s features Editor Andy Hughes catches up with publisher and event organiser Neil Golding as plans begin to be unveiled for the return of consumer music shows.
MIN – As the organiser of two consumer shows, The UK Drum Show and of course The UK Bass Guitar Show, what have been the challenges over the past 12 months with both shows having to be postponed due to the pandemic?
NG – Up until now, it has been the unknown. Both exhibitors and us as organisers have to look at what is practical and feasible when organising all the elements. Staff, marketing, product availability and logistics. All these things take time and consideration under normal circumstances, so when you throw in staff on furlough, product shortages mentioned by the trade, added to global logistical problems, not forgetting Brexit, it makes it challenging for everyone, along with the health risk assements.
MIN – You have begun to announce dates for next April for a combined Drum and Bass show, along with the suggestion of expansion into other sectors? Does the trade have the appetite for this with everything going on presently?
NG – We have started with both trade and consumer announcements on the return of our events. And yes, we have chosen April 2-3rd 2022 for their joint return, with the invitation of other sectors to contact us, should they wish to have a dedicated space for their sector. The new year and April 2022, we feel, puts it far enough ahead of the vaccination programme, that events in the new year will provide consumers with confidence and we have observed this with an influx in the last 12 hours with consumers buying tickets in larger numbers. I should point out, that whilst the shows are under the same roof, they exist as focus points in their own right, in their own product group halls.
With regards to appetite, the return to meeting customers and colleagues, from the conversations I have had in the past few weeks, there is an overwhelming desire and excitement with the return to live music and events. Musicians are social creatures and I would say that is also true of the various businesses and characters within it.
MIN – Previously the shows were held in Manchester, why the shift to Liverpool?
NG – Over the past 12 months it has given us time to reflect on what we had achieved so far, along with the direction which we would like to take the business over the years to come. Whilst Manchester has been a great venue, having run The UK Drum Show there for 3 years, we had maxed the venue out and were probably only another year away from having to consider a move to a larger venue. When i considered this, along with bringing back The UK Bass Guitar Show, which was postponed last March, as the rhythm section, complemented with the size of the ACC Liverpool with its additional spaces and halls, stunning waterside location, 10 minutes from the Cavern Club, with restaurants, bars, eateries and stunning marinas intertwined, it just seemed to be the perfect place for our new home. The shows are naturally the priority, but the events are social gatherings, not just for our guests but for our exhibitors too.
The ACC as a venue has lots of interesting directions we can take the future of our shows. The exhibition halls in the exhibition centre are twice the size of Manchester, and as we remap the booths back into their new home in Liverpool, The UK Drum Show by the end next week will have filled the larger space, with request for bigger booths, as companies prepare for the bounce back of live music and events. It is really exciting. Mapping out of the bass hall will start next week and there are other halls we can simply add to our show footprint if a sector wants to join these two shows under one roof, with one admission ticket permitting guests to freely and easily flip between exhibition halls, clinics and performances.
MIN – Are you aiming to deliver a UK Music Show, rather than specific events targeting specific musicians?
NG – The answer is yes to both. But, that said, the success of the shows I have organised in the past is all about collaboration.
MIN – Can you explain a little further?
NG – The shows that succeed in my opinion, are from those that truly want an annual focus point here in the UK. Whether it’s a dedicated focused show on drums or bass, or a bigger music event, the success is companies getting behind them. Now that may sound obvious, so let me explain.
Over my seventeen years in media and events in MI, i have heard and observed comments from the trade that it would be good to have a larger show here in the UK. Equally I have seen various attempts from businesses to achieve this, some more successful than others. We have had phenomenal success here in the UK with The UK Drum Show and I truly believe the bass show will follow suit. This isn’t because I’m some sort of genius, its because the brands and distributors come together – in essence it’s their show, i just organise it and the elements that make it successful – but the trade are the real heroes here! Their passion and enthusiasm is what makes it the success it is.
MIN – Do i detect a little frustration amongst your modesty?
NG – On a personal level, I have seen and been part of so many changes over the past seventeen years. I have worked and consulted for both small, medium and larger corporations in MI Media, but the one constant is my love for music and brining people together to enjoy it. The various characters that i speak with in any given week are passionate about the subject matter of music too, but the vision to truly unite doesn’t have to be a dream if folks want a bigger event.
The UK is rich in music history, talent, passion and musical innovation. Whilst we look to foreign shores for expansion and new horizons, we are such are great nation of music makers and lovers of music, it’s in our DNA. Brexit, with all of its disruption, regardless of how individuals voted, doesn’t have to define us, but could be a time to create and illustrate what this great little island can achieve. We don’t have to dream big, but have the courage to come together, collectively and make the return of music in this country a statement of our unity. The Trade as i see it has an opportunity with this venue in Liverpool for years to come as a musical pinnacle. Committed businesses to the ACC venue have already voiced their enthusiasm for April 2022 as the new place to showcase new products to consumers after NAMM as a ‘first look’, which is really encouraging to hear.
MIN – So what’s next?
NG – It’s heads down for us now; drive both Shows successfully into April 2022, and as we have Bass and Drum halls, the obvious place to start next will be a dedicated Electric Guitar, Amp and Related Product Hall, along with inviting the Acoustic Guitar trade to see if they would like to have their own Acoustic Guitar Hall. The benefits of this venue, in the case of acoustic guitars, is that we have a hall away from the noise of amplified or percussion products, like a HALL E at NAMM, where acoustic products can be heard and appreciated.
We have 12 months ahead of us now with our planning, so in addition to welcoming individual musicians, with Bass and Drums, we hope to welcome the entire band. Should the trade like to join us in Liverpool.
MIN – How do brands find out about opportunities to compliment your existing combined combined Shows with interest for other sectors?
NG – We have floor plans created for the Electric and Acoustic sectors for their consideration in joining us in Liverpool on the 2 & 3rd of April. Plans, costs and information can be requested directly from firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07717 404 243 for an informal no obligation chat.