‘Work Hard, Play Hard, Like Our Ancestors’: Q’s With Regular Music CEO Mark Mackie

Mark Mackie
Mark Mackie, CEO of Regular Music

Regular Music is Scotland’s longest-standing promoter, and one of the last remaining independents. Pollstar reached out to CEO Mark Mackie, to talk about the return to business as usual.
Pollstar: What’s your state of mind right now, speaking from the perspective of a live promoter?
Mark Mackie: Great to be back after the “break,” and the 2022 summer shows were fab.  The audience needed to get back out there as the did the artists and crews.

Making Up For Lost Time: Glasgow Is Back In Business

How much of a return to normal did 2022 bring, if any?
We pretty much got back to running as “normal” from mid-February onwards. There were still a lot of rescheduled shows, some of which had been on sale since 2019, amongst new ones. Other than that it was business as usual with he audience being more receptive and appreciative if anything.
Is the Glaswegian audience happy to go to events again based on ticket sales? Do you observe a hesitancy, does it differ between demographics, when compared to pre-pandemic years?
Glasgow audiences really appreciate an artist who make the effort to come to Glasgow, especially if they rescheduled rather than cancelled – and at the moment they are even louder than normal!

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Belinda Carlisle live at the Kelvingrove Bandstand for the Summer Nights festival in Glasgow. (Picture by Wattie Cheung)

Being a promoter is challenging in the best of times. How did you survive the pandemic, which lead into a cost-of-living crisis? What were the most important factors?
Being an independent working in Scotland we are pretty light on our feet and also had very good support from Creative Scotland and the Scottish Government throughout the pandemic but at the end of the day like many other companies in many other sectors furlough was the main saving grace.
Did you experience any Brexit related issue while booking for Summer Nights at the Bandstand?
To be honest, most of our 2022 bandstand bookings were roll overs from 2020 so Brexit had very little or no impact on securing artists.  However, on the costs front Brexit has been a disaster for our economy in Scotland for sure.

The Kelvingrove bandstand, stage of the famous Summer Nights in Glasgow. Here Suzanne Vega is live on stage. (Picture by Wattie Cheung)

What makes Glasgow special in your eyes?
The people – everyone says that but we are a post-industrial city with a reputation of working hard and playing hard as our ancestors did before us.
Have Glaswegians maybe displayed a unique way of dealing with the past two-and-a-half years?
Humor and community – two great qualities that Glaswegians have in bucket loads.
You’ve been in the game for a long time. In all your years working in live, has there ever been a challenge that came close to the one posed by covid leading into the inflationary economy we’re dealing with now?
COVID was a challenge and we all pulled through together, but this self-inflicted economic disaster is criminal. I am only sorry we can’t jail those responsible for the pain they are inflicting on normal working people, who will find it very difficult to afford concert tickets and nights out after this. This truly evil lot are wreaking havoc on us. I would suggest bringing back hanging for them but that would be too good for them.
What were highlights of 2022 you’d like to point, and what’s next on your agenda?
We had 20 open air shows in 2020, 16 of which sold out well in advance and the other four were really well attended. And, incredibly, it didn’t rain once which in Scotland is nothing short of miraculous.
Anything you would like to add?
I felt live music was genuinely missed during COVID and audiences are delighted to be back. Long may that continue.

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