Simon Catling – Booker, Soup Kitchen, Manchester


I was writing for NME, The Quietus, Pitchfork and The Fly and I started promoting because it felt much more useful for bands and artists to actually be able to put them on than writing words about them. My second gig I ever put on was with Alt-J, but before they were called Alt-J. They came over from Leeds in their trackie bottoms and played in a basement to about 20 people. I never really thought about them again and then a couple of years later they took off.

At the Soup Kitchen it’s all about getting the balance with the bigger promoters who bring in the crowds and keeping enough space in the diary to ensure that the smaller, independent promoters can come in where we can put on an artist who might not get the same numbers but it’s really important for us to give them that platform.

Music scenes and communities, no matter how big or small, thrive when there are different voices and different opinions and perceptions. To give up on that or to not allow it is detrimental as a whole. It’s incredibly important for us here – we’re a fully independent venue and there’s no external pressure on us. It might mean the losses might be felt a bit more keenly but there is the freedom to do what we want.