Bookers and promoters are usually working in the shadows, far away from the spotlight that artists enjoy. But they are crucial for the business and many a time they bring a real change to the table. We are very lucky at Indieterria to be able to speak to Kevin Fitzgerald – owner of Toura Toura and a booking agent for some of the best known figures in the industry. Kevin is incredible, detail orientated and he shared so many details from his work with us that we wished the interview never ended.
Toura Toura organizes Q&A (question and answer) sessions with the mighty Joe Talbot of the IDLES and first stop on the tour happens tomorrow in Manchester. So yes, we were more than excited to be able to ask Kevin few questions.
You are a promoter, a manager and a PR. That’s many roles for one person. Please introduce yourself to the readers of Indieterria.
Kevin Fitzgerald: Hello, my name is Kevin. I`m a single Dad of two daughters (8 & 5 years old respectively) from Stoke and I’m the managing director of Toura Toura. My company organises Q&A sessions for people in the music industry.
Your roster includes music mogul Alan McGee, Sleeper front woman – Louise Werner and lead singer for Happy Mondays and The Black Grape – Shaun Ryder. Do you find it challenging to work with such iconic names in the business?
Kevin Fitzgerald: I’m very proud of the roster and pinch myself everyday because of the people that I work with, especially when I have only been in business for a year now. All of those artists have put their faith in someone that they didn’t know and who had no background in their industry. I mean, to get Alan McGee, the greatest man in music in my eyes, as your first client is just ridiculous.
Alan opened up the door for everyone that I work with now. And you know he is the most down to earth, most easiest and genuine person that I have ever come across in my life. He does everything he can to help Toura Toura. He’s always introducing me to incredible people on the Q&A circuit – which is why I work with Shaun Ryder.
Everyone is an absolute pleasure to work with. There are no egos and all they want to do is to get the job done. Their work ethic is unbelievable and I have them all on a weekly basis asking me to book more Q&As for them because they are loving going around the country talking and meeting their fans. Shaun Ryder is a great example of that. The last few months of last year he was out 4 or 5 nights in a row because he was doing both The Happy Mondays and An Evening With tour.
I don’t find working with any of the artists challenging in any way at all.
The way I deal with things – which I know is different from most agents out there – is that I actually go to virtually every single Q&A that I organise. It not only surprises the artists I work with but it builds up a relationship with them and also builds up my relationship with the venue owners.
Toura Toura started out last year. You built a successful company from scratch and in such a short period of time. Can you tell us about the beginnings of the company?
Kevin Fitzgerald: Toura Toura was set up on the back of me coming through quite a tough time in my life.
My second daughter Sophie was still born in 2013 and then I lost my Dad through complications related to dementia on Father’s Day in 2017. I lost my Mum to cancer 6 months later, the day before my birthday at the start of 2018. Within a few months I split up with my wife. So, I had quite a bit of time on my hands which I needed to fill up and this is why I started Toura Toura.
I have been lucky enough to work in the industry of two passions of mine now, football and music.
In football, I have met many people from the sport industry, many players but I have never met anybody from the music world and always wondered how you can meet people from the music biz.
I have been involved in putting on many sporting evenings at the football clubs where you get a player to stand in front of a room to talk about their career. People at these events are mainly fans of said footballer and it’s their way of getting to meet what is essentially a hero of theirs for autographs and photos. That’s when a light bulb moment suddenly switched on just over 12 months ago. I thought to myself: “if a sportsman can do it why not people from the music world?” It`s all about giving their fans an insight into their career and their life or simply just the opportunity of actually meeting them.
I was very lucky and fortunate to have Alan McGee as my first ever client within a week or so of starting my company.
Your newest project is an Q&A tour with no other than Joe Talbot of mighty IDLES. How do you convince a fierce punk rocker to be quizzed in front of live audience?
Kevin Fitzgerald: To be honest with Joe Talbot it was just a long stab in the dark that paid off and again I have Alan McGee to thank for that.
Alan hosted An Evening With Shaun Ryder in Newcastle at the end of September last year and he was an amazing host, interviewing Shaun on stage before going into the audience to get questions from them. Alan really enjoyed it and said to me he would love to do more hosting.
I have always wanted to see the IDLES live and back in November I spoke to IDLES management who guest listed me for their gig in Leeds at the start of December. At the gig I thought the band were amazing and Joe stood out with how engaging he was with the crowd. Alan is very fond of the IDLES as well and we spoke about the possibility of hosting some Q&As with Joe Talbot. As you can imagine Alan loved the idea so when I thanked IDLES management for guest listening me in Leeds I asked to see if Joe would do some Q&As with Alan McGee. Luckily enough they both said yes. I don’t think I would have even have had a chance unless I had the Alan McGee handle because of the respect that Alan carries in the music world.
We heard that the Joe Talbot events will also include live music from upcoming local bands. Who will be entertaining the crowds on tour?
Kevin Fitzgerald: What I love about the Q&As is that we give up – and – coming bands the opportunity of playing in front of the best people in the music industry: Alan McGee, Shaun Ryder and now Joe Talbot. It`s a great buzz for these bands to have on their CV.
On the Joe Talbot tour we have incredible set of artists: Faux Pas and Witch Fever in Manchester. We have Stone playing in Halifax. The Clockworks are returning to play at The Water Rats in London. Then in Birmingham we have The Pagans S.O.H and The Jack Fletcher Band.
And speaking about up and coming artists – you manage two acts: Magic Mod and The Barrats. Can we have a quick introduction of both? Nothing makes us happier at Indieterria than to discover some new music.
Kevin Fitzgerald: Yes, that is correct. I try to manage The Barratts and the Magic Mod.
I came about The Barratts because I was looking for various bands to invite to play on An Evening with Alan McGee. I was on This Feeling page and their song of the week was a song called “Lights out in London” by a band called The Barratts. I totally fell in love with it. They are indie band from Northampton who have an unique sound that is different to any of the other bands out there. They are amazing song writers, so much that The Sherlocks have been trying to take one of their songs. I still have no idea why they are not bigger or don’t have a record deal yet.
The Magic Mod is as indie as they come. He loves his Pretty Green, has toured with Paul Weller or The Libertines. He’s an amazing magician but can very easily entertain a crowd too which is why we have him hosting on some of the Q&As. He’s hosted a few of the Shaun Ryder nights and also the Alan McGee nights. The plan with him this year is to get him out entertaining crowds around the country.
If anyone wants to bring an event organised by Toura Toura to their town – what criteria do they need to meet and how to contact you?
Kevin Fitzgerald: There really is no criteria for a Toura Toura event. What is unique about us is that we can hold our events anywhere from a small village hall to a theatre in one of the major cities.
Its only February but what are your plans for this year? What can we expect from Toura Toura though out 2020?
Kevin Fitzgerald: This year we are planning to triple the amount of shows that we have put on and we will be adding more artists to the roster to make this happen. I have agreed a deal with singer/songwriter of another band today and with having Joe Talbot on board it takes what we are doing with the Q&A’s from the retro to things that are more current.
I would also like at some point to switch from agent to promoter.
Last (in)famous question. Imagine you have been tasked with organizing an Q&A session with the most notorious person in the history of music business. Who is in the hot seat and who is asking the questions?
Kevin Fitzgerald: Now that’s a tough question! I’m going to make it nice and simple. I’m a indie kid and I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing now if it wasn’t for these guys. I have seen Oasis at Trentham Gardens, Earls Court, Main Road, Knebworth, Lancashire Cricket ground, NIA in Birmingham, 3 nights in a row at the Etihad Stadium, so it would have to be either Liam or Noel or both together. And there is only one person that I could possibly have to interview them and that would be Alan McGee.
You can follow Toura Toura on socials:
You can still buy tickets for the tour (except Water Rats in London as its sold out):
We will be reporting back on the tour, especially regarding the Birmingham event which we plan to attend. So prepare yourself for a lot of videos, photos and a detailed review. Now off you go to grab yourself a tix! Come on – join us.