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Well with Brexit looming (or is it?) and sheer anger from voters changing the face of the local elections, we’re all wondering what really is going to happen to the entertainment business in the next few months/years ahead. Well… I think I can tell you: Not much!!! Yes, there have been plenty of ups and downs from serious numbers of pub closures, smoking bans, daft rules re: how many musos/performers can be on a stage, business-rate rises and more, but the real truth is the business is still here. Granted, there have been and always will be changes – the business is always in flux. 20 years ago we were booking vast quantities of ‘Irish’ entertainment on the back of Riverdance. Now that same entertainment is only rolled out in quantity around St. Patrick’s day. Today it seems that every tribute is itching to get into their own theatre show (and I wonder how many times a month CAN your average punter pay good money to see one of the many tribute shows in a theatre, when they can be free or much cheaper elsewhere?) I’m also aware of ‘non-live’ (i.e. pre-recorded/screened) events happening on cruise ships and more. And I’m also aware that some mainline artists are now considering rolling out ‘live’ screened performances (err.. I would call that a film-showing / a video-screening but probably with a few more bells and whistles – just not with the actual living, breathing artist on the stage!) Will punters rather pay to see such an event with a mainline artist than see a tribute in a costume? Hopefully not for the tributes – but who knows? If thirty years ago when I was contemplating being an agent, someone told me that a D.J., playing some background loops paired with a live sax-player riffing over the top could command proper (and I mean proper!) fees, I would have laughed! So see you next year (and hopefully the year after etc., etc.) and we’ll ALL (agents, managers, artists and venues) be doing something similar – although not necessarily the same.
Philip Barrett