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Time to get passionate with Nick Morgan at Festout

Time to get passionate with Nick Morgan

Next week (Sept 26th/ 27th) the movers and shakers of the outdoor events and festival sector will be found in Sandown Park Racecourse at Festout.  

In addition to the hundred plus exhibitors on site, the show offers its visitors a focused conference program, featuring high profile industry experts. Nick Morgan CEO and founder of independent festival producers, The Fair, has helped curate the programme and will feature on three panels which are of particular interest to him. He comments:

“On the first panel we’ll be discussing the issue of getting government to take our sector seriously when it comes to having a voice at the big boys table. We started having this conversation a few years ago but it feels like we’re making slow progress. Nick de Bois MP was enthusiastic, though he leaned more towards the exhibition industry.  James Heappey MP for Wells has Glastonbury in his constituency and I’m hopeful that he is taking an industry in the wider festival industry.

“We need to have a voice that is heard in the corridors of power when it comes to important issues such as licensing and funding that affect our livelihoods and promoting this sector on a global level.  I think the UK is at the foreground of outdoor event development.”

Nick is a council member of NOEA, SAGE and sits on the AIF’s strategy board, and will be joined on this “Are We of Value to the Industry?”panel discussion by Michael Kill, Chief Executive of the Night Time Industries Association and Julian Agostini, founder and Managing Director of Mash Media. 

This summer alone, The Fair have produced and worked with independent festivals that include Eastern Electrics, Gottwood, Bournemouth 7s, Houghton, GALA, Percolate Open Air and Holi Festival of Colours. 

“I feel very strongly that we need to recognise the importance of, and support for the innovation we see in the independent sector,” Nick continues.

“We’ve seen a lot of independent festivals swallowed up by larger organisations over the past decade, which is why we now have the Monopolies Commission looking at Live Nation’s share of the UK market.

“Obviously they work on an economy of scale, so that means that there a common elements that start to run through all of their events. For example they do a commercial drinks deal that sees one brand of lager dominating their festivals. Whereas the smaller independents forge relationships with local brewers and give their audience a greater choice. That’s an approach that extends across entertainment, content, vendors and creative site elements.

“I believe the jewels in the festival market lie in the independent sector and we need to promote, protect and cherish those jewels.”

Joining Nick on the panel titled “How Independent Festivals are Fighting Back” will be Gala Festival Director Jonathan Edwards alongside Bournemouth 7s Festival managing director, Craig Mathie.


The third panel Nick will be participating in will be focused on a more specialised area of festival, titled “Unification in Licensing Agreements”. This was the topic of a lively debate at Festout 2017 and the issue is still a contentious one, as Nick explains:

“The inconsistencies in getting an event license approved across different boroughs and councils is infuriating.

“While the commercial department of a council are encouraging organisers to bring their event to an area because they often a renting the event site and understand the positive economic and cultural impact an event, the wholly separate licensing committee can be totally obtrusive.

“We invest considerable time and money in reaching the point of a final licensing decision on an event that has a turnover of millions and employs thousands of people.

“It seems ridiculous that the council committee making the decision on the future of that event are not working to any standardised guidelines and local politics or non-event related council issues can scupper a perfectly viable event. For most of them live events is not their area of expertise. The whole procedure needs an overhaul.”

It would appear that there are going to be some passionate debates on the Festout main stage next week. To join the discussions or listen in registernow.


AFO: 20th Sep 2018 16:43:00

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