Beyond the Main Stage: Adventures in non-music

As audience tastes widen and expectation levels rise, the breadth of non-music content at festivals is increasing. From esports, science programmes and culinary inventions to the more well-trodden routes of comedy, theatre and spoken word, it’s a burgeoning area. So just how important are these alternative programmes to festivals, what areas show the most promise, and what new forms of entertainment can we expect to be drawing a crowd over the coming few seasons? Nikki McNeill leads a 60-minute rundown on the latest developments beyond the main stage.

Chair details…

Nikki McNeil, Global Publicity (UK)

Nikki McNeill is the founder of Global Publicity, which specialises in worldwide PR and communications for music, festivals and events. Launched in 2007 the company recently celebrated it’s 10 year anniversary and is widely recognised as one of the leading independent PR agencies, with a reputation for hard work, honesty and professionalism, consistently delivering effective campaigns that raise the profile of artists, events and festivals around the world. Nikki is passionate about the global music scene and only works with clients she truly believes in, dedicated to achieving the best results with campaigns that cross borders and get people talking. Nikki loves what she does and once the work is done, can always be found on the dance floor, where her passion for music first started.

Guest speakers include…

Jan Quiel, Wacken Open Air (DE)
As booker for Seaside Touring Jan Quiel is jointly responsible for the lineup of Wacken Open Air and other events produced by ICS Festival Service. In addition he promotes tours of bands like Life Of Agony, Clawfinger and Helmet in Germany.

Ben Robinson, From the Fields (UK)
Ben Robinson is the Founding Director of From the Fields; independent promoters, festival organisers and creative minds behind the multi award-winning Kendal Calling, bluedot, Inner City Electronic, Off the Record and Bournemouth’s Arts by the Sea.

Having grown Kendal Calling  from a 900 capacity conceptualisation to a 25,000 capacity multi award winning festival over the last ten years, and developed the critically-acclaimed music and science event bluedot  at Jodrell Bank Observatory, Ben and the From the Fields team have continued to develop a portfolio of innovative, imaginative and groundbreaking shows, solidifying themselves as a singular and industry-leading organisation based in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Anders Wahren, Roskilde Festival (DK)
Anders Wahrén spearheads Roskilde Festival’s artistic output. He is in charge of the booking committee, who selects the approximately 175 acts for the festival’s nine stages. Anders Wahrén is primarily responsible for booking international artists. Additionally, he manages the group of art curators responsible for the architecture, performance art, lights, graffiti and much more. With these overall responsibilities, Anders is also the official spokesman for all matters regarding music and art. Anders is the Head of the Content Division, and along with the rest of the festival management he is strategically planning the festival on a greater scale.

Bjorn Wentlandt, UTA (UK)
Bjorn Wentlandt is a Talent Agent at United Talent Agency’s London office.  Wentlandt joined the Comedy Touring Department in April 2018, developing his own roster and booking territories outside of the Americas and Australia for clients including Jim Jefferies, Lonely Island, Flight of the Conchords and Jeff Dunham.

Wentlandt began his career promoting Canadian garage bands in high school and subsequently worked as a worldwide Tour Manager and Tour Producer in music, comedy and theatre for clients such as Lewis Black, Kids In the Hall, Bowfire, Mr. Show and Mitch Hedberg.  In 2005, Wentlandt joined Live Nation Comedy as a Talent Buyer and the Director of Touring in Los Angeles, this led to several years as an Artist Manager with the boutique comedy management firm, MacDonald-Murray Management, working with clients Chris Hardwick, Jim  Gaffigan and Ron White.

In 2011, Bjorn relocated to London to act as Director of Promotions for Avalon, where he ran the live side of the large media company including the international booking and promoting of styleJohn Oliver, Russell Howard and Marc Maron.


27 September

11:45 – 12:45

Room 2, Fest

Nikki McNeill, Global Publicity (UK)

Nikki McNeill, Global Publicity (UK)