April 17, 2020

If it weren’t for Joe Strummer!

Coronavirus has landed and you might think there is lots of time to get things done – but actually I’m finding the day as a booking agency boss, busier than ever rescheduling all the shows in the world. Anyway, I thought I’d take a moment to let you know, how it all came about.

Almost exactly 20 years ago, I moved back to Bridgwater, Somerset where I grew up. It was meant to be for a singular summer. I’d been a science teacher in a London comp, I’d returned to university to do a masters, I’d taught TEFL in Prague, but none of them was my calling, so I went back to my parents and took stock. I was 30. I decided to stay in Somerset for a while, spend some time writing songs, immerse myself in the local music scene and see if I could find some focus. I rented a house, got a part-time job and did just that.

Around the same time, Joe Strummer from The Clash moved to a village near Bridgwater and became a director of a community film centre called The Engine Room. The board of directors decided to put on a fundraiser with Joe and his band The Mescaleros. The show would take place at The Palace, the local nightclub. I knew Phil the manager at The Engine Room, he knew I was in a band and asked us to be one of the support acts. (It’s not what you know…) Anyway, the gig was ace and for a moment really put Bridgwater on the map.

The whole experience got me thinking – perhaps I could start putting on bigger shows. Until then we had only promoted small gigs in pubs and small rooms. I mean The Palace held 800 people so it was a reasonable size.

I got in touch with an agent, booked a band called Proud Mary – lost some money, booked another – The Scissor Sisters made a lot of money, booked another Chumbawamba – lost a lot… and so began my addiction… more and more my own music took a back seat and for the next eight years, I became a professional promoter, putting on shows from Glasgow to Truro, Cardiff to Norfolk and everywhere in between.

In 2010 fate transformed us to booking agents – but that is a story for another day!

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Alan Bates
Quick and Efficient Ethan was excellent and very quick to respond. He also understood the flexibility of contract required for our bespoke event.
John Beverly
Undisclosed costs I was disappointed that the full cost of the show wasn’t disclosed up front. I.E. the rider cost which I found excessive for such a small show. But the agent did sort it out for me. John Beverly Krakatoa Aberdeen
Claire M
Very easy to deal with Very easy to deal with - will use again
Excellent Service The team are very responsive and easy to communicate with offering a great roster of talent. Well done!
Owen Branes
Always helpful and happy to work around… Always helpful and happy to work around any specific issues our end. Nothing is too much trouble date movement due to covid etc etc .
Edgar Coate
Amazing roster I've known Midnight Mango since the days when John Smith was an upcoming artist and their roster is now even more amazing and their professionalism is unmatched. Saw some amazing acts at Beautiful Days and Funke and the Two Tone Baby rocked the Bimble Inn with a bouncing crowd.
David Francis
Responsive and helpful Responsive and helpful. Thanks.
Big Up Midnight Mango! Pip has been a pleasure to deal with, prompt and friendly. We're big fans of so much of Midnight Mango's roster and would not hesitate to look to book further artists for our future events.
Moya Taylor
Really helpful with finding us… Really helpful with finding us fantastic artists at short notice. Will definitely use them again! Chickenstock Music Festival
Exactly as described and a very fine… Exactly as described and a very fine listen.