Promoter Anton Lockwood gives us a brief history of DHP, some feedback from Dot to Dot, and of course some dates for your diary.
Nottingham has what most Cities do not; an independent venues operator which books and promotes acts, and has its own ticket agency too. DHP began in Nottingham in 1980 when Rock City opened. Anton Lockwood, who joined the group five years ago, explains how they have expanded in recent years. ‘We decided to turn Rescue Rooms [formerly a sports bar] into an indie venue. We then decided to build Stealth which is more dance music orientated, and we took over the Social which is now the Bodega.’
The £1million conversion of an old warship in Bristol, now called the Thekla, took DHP’s tally of venues up to six. In Nottingham their venues collectively have a capacity of over 4,000, and provide the basis for the city’s thriving music scene.
By covering venues, booking and promotions, the DHP group have become a one stop shop for booking agents. ‘One way or another we get together with agents and we talk about what’s the best capacity venue for a band to play and what should the ticket price be, although sometimes they’ll tell you! Assuming everyone’s happy, off we go and hopefully we sell some tickets?!’ The group also has the flexibility of using other venues where necessary. ‘The biggest thing we’ve got coming up is Scouting for Girls, who are playing the Arena in November. Not the most innovative group of all time, but they are the biggest selling UK band this year. It’s going to be a huge show.’
By owning six venues, DHP can combine any number of them into one event. The best example of this is Dot to Dot festival, held yearly in May and incorporating all of DHP’s venues as well as Trent SU. Anton reflected on this year’s effort positively, ‘Its been a really difficult year for festivals; Gatecrasher Summer Sound System was a disaster, Wax:On got pulled, Wild in the Country got cancelled and Zoo Thousand and Eight didn’t bother paying anybody, including the security, so everyone got beaten up! Dot to Dot wasn’t a sell-out, which we would have liked, but given the situation I think we got there.’
For the first time the same sized event took place in Bristol and Nottingham as well as a shorter version in London. ‘We were five times bigger than last year which was quite ambitious.’ As far as next year goes nothing is booked just yet. ‘We know what we’re looking for and we expect it to be a two day event. We’re not going to try and expand until we sell all our tickets!’
Anton’s two big weekends left in 2008 happen to be Halloween and New Years Eve. ‘On Friday 31st October we have got Black Kids playing at Trent, and on Saturday 1st we have Noah and the Whale at Rescue Rooms, then on Sunday we have got Fleet Foxes at Trent. That weekend is probably the best weekend of live music.’
For NYE 2008, DHP are working on a joint project with Detonate. ‘Its going to be called Count Down and it will be a one wristband party at Rescue Rooms, Stealth and Rock City. There will be drum and bass and dubstep in Rock City main room, and electronic music in Stealth and Rescue Rooms. It went well last year, but people are into all sorts of different music and on NYE you want to go out with all your mates. At Count Down you can listen to what you want and still meet up with friends.’
Tickets for all shows linked to DHP are available through their own ticketing agency at www.alt-tickets.co.uk.