THOSE LOOKING to book shows in the Southampton and Bournemouth areas would do well to contact Ricky Bates who hosts regular shows for acts of the rock and punk persuasion.
Operating in venues including The Joiners Arms (cap. 200), for which he acts as head booker, The 1865 (750) and Southampton Guildhall (1,700), Bates has seen a huge number of national and international acts tour through the region, with recent artistes including Crazy Arm, Kevin Devine, Xcerts and Joyce Manor.
“It took a long time to build the agents’ trust, convincing them to include Southampton when they were routing tours,” says Bates.
“There was a big indie scene here 10 years ago, but the promoters who are left here – three or four of us now – have been careful to build relationships.
“We have a good reputation for looking after the acts while they tour with us, which has really helped.”
Bates notes that while the rolling schedule of international artistes is more than helpful for keeping audience attendance healthy, the local scene itself still provides a solid amount of talent.
“You’ve got acts like Pioneers who are getting a lot of attention from BBC emerging,” he says.
“The actual audience turnout for local acts isn’t quite what it used to be – they’re a little spoiled for choice these days – but there’s still a fair few acts on their way up.”