Active Events are the thirteenth recipients of Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight Award. The “Limelight’s” are a monthly initiative (launched in October 2012) that recognises the outstanding contributions made by businesses and organisations who contribute, shape and influence the arts and cultural sector in Scotland today. Active Events were Scotland’s first international agents and they represent, showcase and create opportunities for Scotland’s artists all over the world (including Scotland).
We asked Lisa Whytock of Active Events the following questions:
What is your principle company activity?
We do a lot of things, Scotland is a small nation and it’s important to us that we play our part and help facilitate opportunities where they exist.
The essence and soul of the business is our agency representation on an international basis both for artists based in Scotland and for those from further afield. Those from further afield are represented internationally from Scotland.
Our experience as international agents has led us to (with the help of too many other partners to mention individually other than Creative Scotland and Celtic Connections who have been instrumental) to deliver an export strategy for Scottish artists. This recognises our size as a nation and understands that our artists have to develop careers beyond our shores in order to be fully professional. Equally it understands that Scottish artists will be able maximise overseas work if a collective marketing and export plan through the branding of ‘showcase Scotland’ is undertaken.
For ‘fun’ we have also developed two festivals in Paisley, one is the Spree- an arts festival in October and a new songwriting festival called Bring It All Home inspired by the legacy of Gerry Rafferty.
For a wee bit more ‘fun’ I am writing this from a rooftop balcony in Sydney, where amazing meetings with the Opera House have opened up even more opportunities!
Importantly when I say WE I mean we, there are a lot of people who are part of our team, Susie, Claire, David, Michelle, Raymond, Susan, and all of the artists and delivery partners.
So in essence we are just one part of an amazing international friendship that makes all of the above possible.
When and where did the company first start trading?
A long story. The above sums up why we do this job. In short 1990.
What made you want to work in Scottish culture?
It’s brilliant, passionate and real. Our artists in my view are so incredibly skilled, this has so much to do with education projects and recognition for future skills through encouragement and recognition from the Danny Kyles to Plockton, the Trad Awards to Celtic Connections and so many more.
There were no international agents based in Scotland when we started. So we decided to change that.
Can you tell us of any particular company highlights?
Delivering the first festival in Scotland for, 50,000 people ‘A Day For Scotland’ in 1990! ( I was young – honest) .
Representing Martyn’ Bennett who I will thank forever for introducing me to the wonders of Trad, folk, whatever label it shall be called.
Live 8 when we represented Geldof.
Right now with every brilliant artist that puts up with me.
Having the total belief and privilege to work with Susie, Claire and David who on a daily basis hold it all together.
Sitting in Sydney right now after a meeting with The Opera House that I Believe will change the future for Scottish artists.
Discovering every day new people, creating ideas and hatching plans for tomorrow. Fun!
What are your company’s plans for the future?
To trust ideas, believe in partnerships and love our music.
How will you celebrate receiving Hands Up for Trad’s Business Limelight award?
It’s actually lovely to get this award. It’s the first time in over 20 years of working behind the scenes that we have been recognised for what we do. So thank you for thinking of
us. In terms if celebrating, well maybe in 2015 when it gets a bit quieter
we can think of that.
In the meantime we will keep delivering ideas working with people and enjoying the opportunities that this ‘job’ allows and look forward to 2015!
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