Dave Humphrey (Former Artist Manager & Promoter) Discusses: The Boileroom & UK Live Music

With Guildford venue the Boileroom facing the possibility of closure, TMMP caught up with former artist manager and promoter Dave Humphrey to discuss the Boileroom and the state of the UK’s live music scene.

This interview is part of a larger TMMP feature which can be read in full here.

What is your general opinion of the Boileroom?

It’s a great little venue. It brings great bands to a town that needs them – like Wheatus for example! Shows like that are really rare events.

There aren’t many dedicated music venues around anymore; there’re pubs with backrooms, but not proper venues. The Boileroom is a main stop off point for touring for most bands as it’s on the way to the south from London. It always has great buzzing crowds and awesome people. They go there to enjoy/find new music, drink and eat Chinese. It’s one of the best venues I’ve been in and I’ve been up and down the country numerous times!

I would like to also mention that a Chinese takeaway in a venue is really great.  

What would happen if the Boileroom were to shut down? What impact would that event have?

Less Chinese for a start…!

I think it would probably have a detrimental effect on the whole town. It’s a great community-driven venue, and it would be a sad state of affairs to watch it disappear, especially since Guildford would attract fewer touring bands and in turn fewer people would discover new music that way. Also, many of the acts from the ACM (some of which have gone on to be huge) have started at the Boileroom, and this would cease to be the case if it got shut down.

What is your favourite Boileroom-related memory?

It would probably have to be the time that I put on a show there and sold it out. Watching a great venue buzzing from a great show. Although I’m blowing my own trumpet a little bit there, it was immensely satisfying as I got to watch the venue bounce with the music. That’s what local music is all about!

How do you feel about the state of the UK’s live music scene right now? What could be done to improve things?

This is probably the most difficult question people could ask. Who knows what’s going on with the live scene nowadays. Industry people like to think that its strong and it’s all about “Live” now to make money, but they talk of the stadium acts.

I don’t want to be too negative really because certain venues like the Boileroom have gotten local music right. However some venues around the country struggle to attract crowds, or have been shut down from complaints / their council not supporting the arts scene in their towns and cities.

I’ve toured with small, unsigned bands around the UK trying to get heard – and some of the venues I visited then are not around now due to various restrictions. So from this I would say maybe councils helping venues could be a solution, as they could encourage the local scene to thrive by helping with promoting the venues, or even sponsoring the venues…not sure much else can be done other than trying to convince people to go to shows.

Or…hear me out here; just put takeaways in every venue… I mean people pay £16.99 for a pizza from Dominos, which is double the amount of the average gig ticket, don’t offer delivery, that way when they go to pick it up they have to go hear the live music and can stick around and eat their pizza to some awesome new music. Nobody has patented this idea yet have they?

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I dig local music, I’ve seen a fair few bands and I’m always keen to hear the new ones coming through. You don’t have to go to every single show in your local venue to support your local scene but more than none is better, and you never know you might just like the band/artist playing and be thankful you actually got off your arse and did something with your evening.


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Posted on 10 September 2014

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