DHP Family Reflects On Record Year

Bearded Theory 2023
DHP Family premiered Bearded Theory Festival last year.

2023 was “a milestone year” for independent UK live music company DHP Family, based in Nottingham, England. DHP Family welcomed more than 1.5 million people through the doors of its various venues, shows, tours, club nights, and festivals, culminating in the National Festival Promoter of the Year award at the UK Festival Awards in December.

DHP Family MD George Akins summed it up: “It’s been a great year across the board for us in 2023, it feels like the gloom of the early 2020s is becoming a distant memory now that we’ve moved past our final pandemic rescheduled shows and all areas of the business are trading very well. We’ve won awards across our industry-leading venues and diverse festival portfolio, and I’m very proud of what we have achieved this year, from sold out events, to record beating club nights; exceptional funds raised for our charity partner Framework, and an expanded festival offering, which included for the first time, the four-day camping event Bearded Theory – a personal highlight of the year.”

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Rock City

DHP Family started out with famous Nottingham club Rock City, which marked its 40th anniversary in 2020 (and won in the Best Club Teamwork 800+ category at the Live Music Business Awards 2019). The company since added Rescue Rooms, which turned 20 last year, dance music venue Stealth, and the 200-capacity Bodega in Nottingham.

Outside of Nottingham, Thekla, a former cargo ship moored in Bristol Harbour, as well as London venues Oslo (Hackney), The Garage, which turned 30 last year, and Grace (Islington) are also part of DHP Live’s venue portfolio. Many of these venues have won awards in the past.

Anton Lockwood is DHP Family’s director of live, and leads the team of promoters programming shows all over the UK, as well as putting on a sell out 30th anniversary run of shows at The Garage, and a special 20th anniversary week of events at Rescue Rooms.

He said, “2023 was a hell of a year! Cost of living crisis, and everything getting way more expensive in touring continue to be huge challenges for the industry as a whole, but I’m proud of the way our independent and flexible organisation at DHP is able to deal with everything that’s thrown at us, and deliver a stellar programme of tours and festivals. Great to see our venues The Garage and Rescue Rooms reaching the milestones of 30 and 20 years respectively celebrating with incredible shows from the likes of Dinosaur Jr, Frank Turner, Mogwai and Sugababes. At the same time we relentlessly developed new artists like Kneecap, Antony Szmierek, Cardinal Black, L’Imperatrice and Green Lung – this year we really showed both that we build things that last, but we don’t rest on our laurels and are continually moving forward.”

DHP currently puts on around 1,000 gigs per year, promoting tours, and shows by James Blunt, Lewis Capaldi, Belinda Carlisle, Sam Fender, Rufus Wainwright, The Flaming Lips, Beth Hart, Sports Team, Richard Thompson, Enter Shikari, Electric Callboy, Tom Grennan, and more.

The promoter team also includes Scott Kennedy, Conrad Rogan, and Josh Ward, whose 2023 highlights include sell-out shows for High Vis at Islington Assembly Hall, and Prima Queen at Lafayette.

Viagra Boys Dot To Dot. Credit Ania Shrimpton
Viagra Boys performing at Dot To Dot. (Picture by Ania Shrimpton)

DHP Family also looks back on “one of best ever Dot To Dot Festivals,” which took place on consecutive days in Bristol and Nottingham, and the return of Mirrors in Hackney, London, which all supported the DHP offering for new acts.

Said Ward, “There have been some great shows this year, and it’s been brilliant to watch a lot of the new artists we’ve been working with for the last couple of years really grow and come into their own. It’s been good for us to be carving out our own niches as promoters. Ultimately, we’re all in it because we love music and discovering new artists, when we’re able to work with these new acts and help them develop from grassroots venues to big arenas, it’s an incredible feeling and something we’re all always really proud to be a part of.”

DHP Family promoted more festivals than ever before in 2023, including Beat The Streets in support of Framework; Foolhardy Folk Festival in collaboration with Beans on Toast; the 4-day camping festival Bearded Theory at Catton Park, Derbyshire; the long established Splendour in Nottingham.

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