London is well and truly back - once again, a dance music destination city. Fabric showed the bulldog spirit and, armed with the support of the capital, defied the odds and is back to its old tricks, techno has found a new home at E1 and Printworks has stolen the heart of every dance music fanatic with a jaw-dropping venue, which, frankly, has to be seen to be believed and feels like stepping on the set of a science-fiction movie. This is a 'club' with an interior to rival anywhere in the world.
In this issue of Meet The Promoter we sit down with Mark Newton, Director of Broadwick Live, to discuss programming, production and what changes we can expect at Printworks ahead of Printworks Opening - The Hydra on March 03.
Who are Broadwick Live? What events are you involved in and where did it all start?
Broadwick Live is a global events company behind 18 award-winning festivals, including Snowbombing, Festival Number 6, Hideout, Truck and Field Day.
We also deliver high profile brand events for the likes of Bacardi (we produced the Bacardi Triangle festival – a three-day event on a deserted island in the heart of the Bermuda Triangle) and Adidas Y-3 Paris Fashion Week shows.
Last year, we moved into the venue business, when we helped launch Printworks. 2017 was an incredible year for Printworks, and we’re excited to have increased our involvement, now fully operating the venue.
Tell us about your involvement with Printworks?
I’ve been part of the Printworks team since the start and am now heading up the venue programming. Alongside my wider role as a director for Broadwick, for Printworks I oversee its music event calendar and bookings. My job is to work with both external promoters and book internal shows, to make sure that the programme is consistently interesting, varied and of the highest quality.
I work very closely with the marketing, production, event ops and technical teams, and have also been focused on the evolution of the space and going into live. We’re passionate about building on our success in 2017 by moving into other forms of music and art, whilst absolutely staying true to our electronic music foundations. The way we see it is that we have a venue and facilities like nowhere else, we have a totally non-compromising commitment to quality, and it’s right that it’s home for world class events across the cultural spectrum.
Running a venue the size of Printworks must offer up a number of challenges. What issues do you face in the lead up to events and on show days?
They range from the logistical to the artistic. Pulling together a calendar which is diverse, boundary pushing, well curated, and has so many moving parts is definitely demanding. As is making sure that we have a programme which is both popular and credible. Obviously every venue wants to have shows which sell out, and we’ve been fortunate in that respect, especially as the venue is large and so there’s more tickets to sell.
On show days, the challenges can be significant too, not least because there’s so many people on site; not just customers, but 80-100 staff. We also are managing artists and making sure they’re happy and where they need to be - often a big job in itself logistically, when we’re dealing with international artists who often have other commitments on the same day.
Issue 003 coming soon. pic.twitter.com/y8pClMP3g3— Printworks London (@Printworks_LDN) January 15, 2018
Printworks already has a reputation as one of the best venues in the world. We have heard some rumours about issue 003 and how Printworks is evolving under Broadwick Live. What can we expect? What’s different?
Well, moving more into live music alongside DJ-led events is obviously a big thing for us. We’ve invested heavily in venue development, with upgrades to make our production offering amongst the very best in the world. People can expect to see new spaces going into the venue, and an improved outdoor area, including a stronger food offering. More and more will happen throughout the year - we are particular excited about where we will be in the coming months, especially from a programming perspective. This is just the start.
How do you approach programming in a venue like Printworks? Where do you draw your inspiration?
We’re committed to a programme which is equally as focused on excellence as it is popularity. This means our approach is about bringing through future talent alongside more established talent.
Personally, even after 18 years in the industry, I’m never not listening to mixes and music. And I’m lucky enough to work with a great team of passionate, culturally-obsessed people who have brilliant ideas and who are perfectionists too.
As we’re increasingly moving more into other cultural areas, we also have a team of creative experts, such as Tamsin Ace from the Southbank Centre, who will help to inspire us - and our audiences.
You recently hosted the England kit launch. What else happens at the venue other than dance music?
We had a handful of live gigs last year which were really well received, which hopefully bodes well for the future. We’ve had everything from food events and cabaret to orchestras and ballet there too, again, which people seemed to love. Lots of brands such as Triumph Motorcycles, Adidas, Mercedes Benz and Nike have been keen to utilise the space for launches, and it’s been perfect as a location for award shows, filming, music videos and fashion shows for the likes of Mulberry. We’re always open to brilliant, creative stuff.
What is a day in your life like? What sort of jobs are you doing regularly? How much time do you spend in the office vs in meetings or in clubs?
I’m always working, and split my time between our Camden office and the venue. Alongside Printworks, I also book the line-ups for Hideout and Snowbombing festivals. We have a close, great team working across all festivals and now Printworks, who I help manage and do all the usual tasks that go with a music job - like attending lots of meetings with marketing, PR, artists and agents, as well as going to as many music industry conferences and panels that I’m able to, and, of course, going to clubs and gigs. There’s always loads of new projects at Broadwick, and when not looking after these, I’m working in my parallel role as director of Canal Mills, a leading music venue in the north of England. I love looking for new opportunities, which led to me being a founding director of Melody VR, a virtual reality music platform. Going for a run or to the gym, or boxing and playing football are the only times I really switch off.
How do you see dance music events changing over the next 20 years?
20 years is such a long time in dance music. 20 years ago we were in the middle of the superclub era, the first phase of superstar DJs, and trance was the music of moment. Since then we’ve obviously been through so many eras - garage, dubstep, deep house are a few that spring to mind. Musically, everything comes around in cycles so we will definitely see many older genres reimagined like we have seen with garage and grime over the past couple of years.
Tech will play an increasing part, with VR meaning that people will experience events from the other side of the world with friends - building bigger communities around passions. With AR, bands and DJs will ‘perform’ in people’s living rooms, which might seem like a distant reality, but for future generations will be second nature.
As for Printworks, it was built upon the idea of breathing life into an incredible space, and this is something we want to do more of for our city over the coming years. We’re hopefully at a turning point for London - it’s really great to see new initiatives to help protect and respect the nighttime economy in the capital, whether that’s the Night Tube, the Night Czar or the brilliant and much-needed Agent of Change measures, all of which should help London regain its rightful place as the world’s best destination for culture and music.
If you could travel back in time to experience a legendary dancefloor which one would you choose and why?
Being a northerner, The Hacienda. I’d be greedy though, and be there throughout different points in its history - from when it first opened for live music in the early 80s, and when Mike Pickering started DJing and running his club nights bringing American house music over to the UK, through to the birth of acid house. I will never get enough of The Hacienda - not just from a musical perspective, but how the venue was designed, its branding and artwork, and its ethos. For a venue, it’s a brilliant hero to have (apart from the financial side of course!).
Printworks Opening - Mar 03
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