A new booking agency has launched with ex-UTA agent Ben Ward and music manager Jules Chenoweth at the helm.
UK-based Route One Booking boasts an eclectic roster of acts including Discharge, Fu Manchu, Voivod and country star Shooter Jennings, alongside emerging artists such as King Creature, Video Nasties, Daxx & Roxane and Blind River.
Ward, who is also frontman of London heavy metal band Orange Goblin, said: "I’ve always wanted to set up my own Booking Agency and have the freedom to operate exactly how our artists want. I feel that given the current climate in the live music industry, that time is now."
With his wife, Ward received a Metal Hammer Award in recognition of their efforts in initiating a fundraising campaign to raise money for the staff of music publisher Team Rock after the company was placed into administration in 2016. He previously spent five years as a booking agent at UTA and prior to that worked at management company One Fifteen, working with artists such as Pink Floyd, David Gilmour and Jools Holland.
I feel that we have the right people and the right tools to start looking at new ideas and initiatives in this challenging time
Ben Ward, UTA
"Working for 25 years as an artist, a manager, a tour manager and a booking agent, I have the insight and experience that is needed and have seen this business from all angles," added Ward. "Alongside Jules at Route One Booking, I feel that we have the right people and the right tools to start looking at new ideas and initiatives in this challenging time to ensure that our artists and bands continue to be creative and entertaining.
"Our clients are our main focus, we work so that they can work and if they don’t work, then there is no business. Despite the uncertainty regarding a return to the live music scene as we knew it before the pandemic, this is an exciting time to be launching this new venture."
The agency has already produced a successful socially distanced outdoor show at The Yard in Cornwall, which it also owns and operates, headlined by King Creature and attended by 250 paying punters complete with fully operational bars and merch stands. Route One Booking also offers its clients transport options for touring, backline and links to digital music distribution firm Route Note, of which Chenoweth is also a board member.
Chenoweth, who manages Marshall Records-signed King Creature, said: "Route One Booking is born out of determination and enterprise at a time when the proverbial chips are down. In my experience of business these occasions are the perfect spawning grounds for a new dynamic business approach and a time to apply new exciting processes and ideas. With Ben Ward at the helm, Route One Booking will be dynamic and different, over time it will grow and become a leading independent booking agency carved out of the ashes of the now, to be the foundation of the future."
The move is the latest development in the agency world amid the industry-wide upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Ed Sheeran's longtime agent Jon Ollier confirmed last week he is exiting CAA and launch his own company, while five former Paradigm booking agents recently joined forces with former Billions Corporation COO Matt Yasecko to launch new agency Arrival Artists.
In addition, five other ex-Paradigm agents teamed up to launch new US-based talent agency TBA, while Sony Music Masterworks and independent touring entrepreneurs Stephen Lindsay and Brett Sirota announced the formation of RoadCo Entertainment.