Following our interview with record producer extraordinaire Gavin Monaghan, we continue to shine a light on people who set up high standards in the music business. Our next guest is event management student and artist manager based in Manchester – Owen Meikle – Williams. Forget everything you read about millennials spending fortunes on avocado toasts and being offended by everything. The younger generation is actually very active and does much more than we seem to notice. Hands up all you thirty-somethings who organised a full scale festival in the heart of Northern Quarter on your first year at the university. Or anyone who taught themselves music management to help others put first steps in the business. It is easy to see why Owen is making waves in Manchester. Even in the town that is used to doing things differently he is seen as a breath of fresh air. We sat down with Owen ahead of After All festival he founded to talk about event organising, the bands he manages and who he would book for his dream festival.
You are the main force behind After All Festival – that will take place in Manchester on 19th May 2019. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.
Owen Meikle-Williams: Hi everyone. I’m Owen Meikle-Williams, and I’m a first year student at BIMM University in Manchester. Live music is my absolute passion, and I’m studying event management. After All Festival on May 19th isn’t actually part of my course but I thought I would put on a local event to showcase some fantastic bands, and raise some money for charity along the way. I’ve gone for May 19th to be as close to the 22nd as possible – “After All that has happened, let music bring us together…”
It is quite a task to organize one gig, less alone a whole festival. Can you tell us how the idea started and how long was this event in the planning?
Owen Meikle-Williams: Well, I’ve been going to gigs since I was 5 years old, so I guess this has been a few years in the planning! More seriously, I put on my first gig just over a year ago, reintroducing live music to The Briton’s Protection for the first time in many years. That gave me the bug, and the idea for After All came from then really. Serious planning started about 6 months ago, lining up venues and finding the right bands.
After All will incorporate concerts across three iconic Manchester venues: Night & Day Café, AATMA and The Castle Hotel – all less than three minutes of walk from each other. We absolutely love it as this eliminates the hassle of commuting between places. But shall we expect clashes between acts?
Owen Meikle-Williams: I’ve tried to mix things up a bit across the stages so minimise this, but with so many great bands on the line-up, there are bound to be a few tough choices to make. Better to have that problem I think than looking at a line-up and not seeing anything you want to watch!
You managed to gather a jaw dropping line up: from rising Mancunian band Narcissus to visiting guests such as Birmingham based The Pagans S.O.H We shouldn’t be saying it – but we are impressed. Is this the final line up or do you still have some aces up your sleeve?
Owen Meikle-Williams: Never say never…but the line up is quite full as it is at the moment.
The Festival plans to donate all profits to charity. Can you tell us more about the organisations you will support?
Owen Meikle-Williams: We are raising money for two music related charities, both of which in turn support larger charities. Musicians Against Homeless (MAH) is a great cause, and you can’t walk around Manchester at the moment without seeing what a vital need this is. The money raised by MAH goes to support Crisis.
Walter’s Page raises money for Make a Wish, helping kids with serious illnesses get some much needed joy. If you have not come across Walters Page, I seriously suggest you check out their Facebook page. Follow the antics of Walter and Eustace, literally a pair of muppets, as they turn up on stage, off stage and in the bar with some of the best known bands on the planet.
You work with BIMM on this festival. Do you think, it is the possibility of having regional editions of After All for example in Bristol or Birmingham also in association with BIMM in the future?
Owen Meikle-Williams: That would be fantastic, but I’m really focused on making this year a success first. If things go well, and it is looking good at the moment, then I’ll look to try and re-run the festival next year. I’m always up for a challenge though, so maybe a multi-site one could be doable.
Besides being the festival organiser you also manage local artists. We would love to hear more about them.
Owen Meikle-Williams: I prefer “working with” to “managing”! I am working with a couple of up and coming singer songwriters at the moment, including Leah Karis who is playing After All festival on May 19th. It’s early days, but I’m really keen on championing local talent where I can.
Last question: we know it is a bit too early for this – but if all goes well, would you consider to bring the festival in 2020 and if so, who would you want to headline. You have got 5 picks and unlimited budget.
Owen Meikle-Williams: James – my all time favourite band and Manchester music Royalty.
The Slow Readers Club – now finally seem to making it big and getting the success they deserve.
The Blinders – so exciting live – I can’t wait to see how far these guys go.
Editors – so good live, and criminally underrated in the UK. I had the pleasure of seeing them in Berlin and Hamburg last year, and it is amazing to see how well mainland European audiences react to them
Andy Burrows – drummer from Razorlight, now a solo singer, I think that his type of music would perfectly suit the acoustic stage at this festival.
You can follow Owen Meikle -Williams on social media:
On May 19th 2019, eighteen acts will play across the tree established stages in Manchester to raise the funds for charity. You can find more information about the festival on their official Facebook page:
Advance tickets are between £10- £12 and they will cost £15 on the day. Doors open at 17:30 PM
To avoid disappointment – please book your tickets online at:
Vanadian Avenue will be at After All Festival making noise and hanging out with the best people in Mancunia. We are hoping to see some of you down the front.