Meet: The Gig Cartel

Posted 28 January 2015

“People are aware of the Showroom Workstation. It’s a cultural institution.”

The gig cartel

The Gig Cartel is one the largest independent tour promoters in the UK.  They organise a variety of small to large gigs and tours, covering all aspects of the industry.  I asked Barney Vernon, owner of the company to tell me more about what it is they do.

“The Gig Cartel is the trading name of Music First Ltd. We focus on tours and concerts, but we also set up Axehouse Music Ltd one year ago.”

Axehouse Music is an artist management company and record label. It was set up solely to manage the career of Joanne Shaw Taylor, a blues rock singer/songwriter from Birmingham but now based in Detroit. The first album ‘The Dirty Truth’ was released in Sept 2014 to world wide critical acclaim. The sell out 'Dirty Truth' tour was promoted by The Gig Cartel and climaxed at the prestigious O2 Shepherds Bush Empire in London.

Choosing the Workstation

“Music First has been here for just over one year," said Barney. "I chose this location because I liked the office itself, its central location, and the view from my window of Sheffield train station. I also thought that being surrounded by fellow media companies would be beneficial. The Workstation team are helpful and friendly, and the back up services provided by the reception staff are excellent."

2015 and Beyond

For this year, Joanne Shaw Taylor will continue to be the priority artist for Barney and the team, with her gigs being promoted by the Gig Cartel.

“There’s always something good coming up, it’s an exciting job in general, " said Barney. "We’re working with lots of great new artists such as the band King King and a new South African artist called Dan Patlansky, and bigger shows for UB40, Robin Trower (Procol Harum), Kenny Wayne Shepherd are on the horizon.”

Career Advice

“How did I get into promotion? Ask anyone in the industry and they won’t be able to tell you! I was a baker until I started the company 14 years ago. What I would say is go to gigs and look at the production side of it, because promotion isn’t just about selling tickets; you also have to organise the venue and security as well as advertising. At the end of the day, you are the business- it’s all about taking risks.”

Leila Jones

PR InternRead more posts by Leila Jones


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