We’ve all heard the tales and there can be no doubting that at least some of them are born from an element of truth. However, the modern reality of ensuring that the needs of an artist are met is one of sourcing Wi-Fi internet connections, ensuring that technical requirements are met and helping the bands, management and organisers keep within strict budgets.
Matt Cheshire, MD of the Needs Group, established his company 13 years ago to provide organisers and promoters with a service that acts as a one-stop solution for artist liaison. Having worked at every Global Gathering since its inception, the company has an unrivalled knowledge of artist requirements and most importantly, how to meet them.
“Once an artist has been booked, we step in and effectively do everything that is required to get them on to the stage. We’ll arrange transport, whether it be domestic or foreign, handle their backstage facilities and requirements, gather their technical riders and drive them in a golf buggy from the dressing room to the stage. We have our own aviation division, so if we need to organise private planes or helicopters to fly artists in we can do so. Similarly, our security division employs former SAS and Royal Marine personnel, allowing us to offer an extremely high class personal security service to customers who have that requirement.”
Having initially created a solid reputation for the handling of backstage requirements, the company evolved to take on the advancement work that is critical to the smooth running of festivals.
“We all know that the sales of physical record units, be it on CD or otherwise, has dropped massively over the last decade. From our perspective, this means that bands are touring with far fewer personnel in order to make the tours more profitable. However, festivals still need detailed stage plans, technical riders and set up times. In the past, bands would have had their own people to handle all of this, either employed by them or by the record companies. As it stands, this isn’t the case, so it makes sense for us to act as a vital middleman between the artists and the events. The major benefit of having done it for so long is that we have previous experience of most of the artists we deal with, giving us a better working relationship and a clearer understanding of what they want. During festival season, we regularly work with the same artists on multiple occasions, which inevitably leads to an easier liaison process.”
With every single contract being unique in its requirements, increasing the offerings of the company has lead to a development of their own back office systems and stock. Having previously used contract hire firms to supply specialist furniture, Matt decided that it would be a better long-term investment for them to have their own stock. This allowed them full control over this particular aspect and ensured that they had access to items that they know regularly crop up. They have also had to develop relationships with major mobile communications companies due to the increasing demand for internet access at festivals.
“The subject of internet access is one that comes up frequently. Because technology has moved on so quickly in the last few years, many people take for granted the speed of the connections at home, in work and in public areas like cafes and bars. At Global Gathering we have access to eight broadband lines, which are brought in and bonded to the central village. We then extend over a mesh network, with the available bandwidth divided up to cater for internet access and e-mail access. The technology for open field temporary access will get better, but it will take time and it’s important that people understand they won’t always have the same access as they have at home or in the office.”
Category: Event / Festival Interviews & Reviews