ISM | The view from the venues Jump to main content

The view from the venues

'We were all sitting around the bar waiting for Boris to give the announcement. It didn't come out of the blue, if anything it came four weeks too late.

- Paul Mandry, Grand Elektra

This panel discussion explores the ways COVID-19 has affected UK music venues and hit income streams. Venue owners and promoters from across the UK talk about staying afloat during the pandemic and how they are facing the challenges ahead.


Deborah Annetts (Chair)
CEO, Incorporated Society of Musicians

Deborah is Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) where she has led a major change programme and grown its membership to over 10,500. She has also set up the ISM Trust which delivers award-winning professional development for the music sector. Deborah was named on BBC Woman’s Hour Power List: Top 40 in 2018 and is an established public speaker, having addressed Parliament several times.

Fielding Hope
Music curator and producer

Fielding is a Scottish live music curator and producer currently based in London. He works to support, develop, and platform marginalised artists on a local and international scale. Fielding is currently working as the Senior Producer at Cafe OTO in London, curating a week-round programme of experimental and underground music and co-curating Counterflows, an annual festival of international radical music held in Glasgow.

Tom McKinney
Broadcaster, performer and music administrator

Tom McKinney is a broadcaster, performer and music administrator. A familiar voice on BBC Radio 3, he presents Afternoon Concert and hosts live performances throughout the country. Tom organises the concert series and Sheffield Chamber Music Festival for Music in the Round, based at the Crucible Theatre. He teaches guitar at the Royal Northern College of Music, curates the new music series at Kettle’s Yard Art Gallery in Cambridge and writes programme notes and articles for many festivals and journals.

Kit Fraser
Owner, Hootananny

Kit Fraser is a Publican and Entrepreneur, and has owned Hootananny music venue in Inverness, the heart of the Scottish Highlands, for just shy of 20 years. He is also a self help spiritual writer and the co-founder of the Moniack Mhor writers club which is currently celebrating their silver anniversary.

Paul Mandry
Director, Grand Elektra

Paul Mandry is Director and Venue Owner of the underground live music venue and nightclub, Grand Elektra, and has been involved in the industry for over 25 years. The venue, previously known as The Crypt, has been at the heart of Hastings town centre for over 40 years with Paul taking ownership in 2015.

David Francis
Director, TRACS

David Francis is Director of Traditional Arts & Culture Scotland (TRACS), and has been involved in the Traditional Music Forum since it started as an ad hoc advisory group for the old Scottish Arts Council. He works with Simon Thoumire on the Distil project, plays a bit of guitar, writes songs, calls dances and recently began dabbling in storytelling as well.