John Rostron – Co-Founder, Sŵn Festival and The Welsh Music Prize, Cardiff


I always say never trust a promoter that’s never lost money. Because until you’ve lost money you don’t really know what it’s like to promote. My first time I had to go to the cash machine and pay people out of my own money. That’s actually a key moment for a lot of people – the difference between those that face up to it and take it on the chin and the people who don’t and disappear.

For me the big problems are when you work with bands from the grassroots and lost money with them and, as they get bigger and you’re just about to make some, national promoters come in and cherry pick them off.

Everyone’s believed in the band from the beginning, the agent’s long term investment has paid off and they’re quids in, the band finally get the audiences they believed in, which is absolutely right and the promoter? No, suddenly these national promoters sweep in and take the show. It’s brutal and it’s wrong and over the past few years that’s really become my thing, that’s the thing I want to change. It’s not fair and it’s not right. It’s a system that was only invented 20 years ago, it was probably good then in terms of opening up towns but it’s not any good anymore. It’s time for it to change, in the same way that CDs were a good idea and aren’t anymore.


John Rostron