INTERVIEW: RIGHT HERE | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Image: Marketplace

As the live music scene gets ready to explode once more, three of the most sought-after promoters in the region have teamed up for the inaugural Right Here event, a new mini-tour with an ethical approach aimed at promoting and supporting new music in the live environment.

Co-pros’ are nothing new, and the three promoters based in Wearside, Tyneside and Teesside may be familiar to many as some of the most forward thinking in the region, however this will be the first time they have worked together. I caught up with Ben Wall from Independent Live, Allan Scorer from Little Buildings and Adam Gallagher from Famous Last Words, who will bring the unique three pronged tour to Sunderland, Newcastle and Stockton respectively in August. Headlined in turn by a band from each area, the musical triptych consists of three of the North East’s best new bands: Sunderland’s noyou, Newcastle’s Motel Carnation and Hartlepool’s Marketplace.

Right Here is an idea that has been floating around for a while and was fuelled by a kindred spirit for inclusivity and co-operative ventures, as Ben explains. “I don’t think it is needed, in the sense that it’s not essential, but the North East grassroots music scene is a fairly close-knit community, and something like this should have been organised before now. It came from numerous conversations about how difficult it can be for say, a Sunderland band, to get a decent show in Newcastle or Middlesbrough just because their profile in that city isn’t quite there yet, but as promoters we have an opportunity to help them out and also bring wonderful new bands to our venues at the same time.”

Let’s all continue to provide safe and inclusive spaces for everyone in this industry and hopefully that attitude will rub off on new bands, promoters and audience alike

The North East music scene is blessed with a wealth of genuinely supportive and conscientious promoters, particularly at grassroots level, and I wondered what pulled these particular three together. “We’ve all been fairly active throughout the lockdowns.” Says Ben. “Some venues just shut their doors and sat and waited until they could sell beer again, and probably don’t have the same concerns about their local acts and bands. But as a group, we’re probably a bit closer to the grassroots scenes than other promoters and venues, so we’ve naturally come together.” Allan agreed, ever the more mercurial, telling me: “After hammering the free bar with Ben at the Music Venues Trust conference two years ago we have always been able to get along and, knowing the work Adam has done with Famous Last Words in Teesside, hearing he was on board too was a cracking surprise. I’m sure the idea isn’t a new one but being able to accommodate it means we can have more structure, better co-ordination and communication.”

So, what makes a successful music promoter? All three were refreshingly forthright in their responses. Ben: “I can only speak for Independent Live but we do try and go the extra mile when it comes to looking after bands. We are in Sunderland, so we need to work harder and giving the bands a better rider than elsewhere on their tour, or better choice of restaurant after soundchecks; it’s part of how we try to make them want to come back. Every promoter has their own way, we just try to focus on ourselves.” Allan agreed: “Let’s all continue to provide safe and inclusive spaces for everyone in this industry and hopefully that attitude will rub off on new bands, promoters and audience alike.” And Adam: “It’s all about having the right attitude towards these responsibilities that we, as promoters, have when putting on live events.”

With the Right Here idea firmly in place they each put a band forward for the tour. Ben: “We put noyou forward for Sunderland’s pick, and right away Allan and Adam suggested their bands and they all fit so well it didn’t take any thinking really.” Allan: “We have worked closely with Motel Carnation previously at Little Buildings so given the genres we were looking at they were the best fit to get on board with Ben and Adam’s picks. If this proves to be successful then it will open the doors to more genres of music.” Adam adds: “I put Marketplace forward, I think they are an incredible band that are truly growing on Teesside which is amazing to see and if this idea can help them reach that next step, perfect. The addition of noyou and Motel Carnation to the line up across the three dates is insane.”

Squaring the article circle nicely Allan explained that: “several years ago I had an idea shot down from venues with a couple of bands playing a regional weekender, but it never left my mind.”

So it seems it was just a matter of time before the three promoters’ stars aligned, which begs the question, if somewhat prematurely, where the Right Here brand might be heading in future – Ben is understandably cagey: “Nothing confirmed yet, but lots and lots of interest so we’re hoping for some exciting mini-tours in the coming months.” Amen to that.

Right Here featuring noyou, Motel Carnation and Marketplace starts at Independent in Sunderland on Thursday 19th August, followed by Little Buildings in Newcastle on Friday 20th and The Green Room in Stockton on Saturday 21st.

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