Tough Times for Jazz Promotion (Interview No. 2, with Paul Deats of Peggy’s Skylight, Nottingham)

This is the second in a series of interviews with jazz promoters and venues which LJN is publishing in partnership with Nigel Price. The seventh date of the Nigel Price Organ Trio tour will take place on Saturday 17 October at Peggy’s Skylight in Nottingham. We interviewed the venue’s co-owner Paul Deats, who set up Peggy’s in 2018 with vocalist Rachel Foster to offer musicians a space where they are free to play in whatever style they wish.

Peggy's Skylight

Photography by @flippedslides

It’s an achievement to still be there as a venue. How have you managed it?

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Quite a bit of government support, including furlough, hospitality grant, vat deferment and reduction, business rates freeze. Also, emergency funding from the culture recovery fund, and hoping another bid is successful for the next period. Crowdfunding. Starting takeaway food and livestreaming. Loads of hard work and re-thinking!

Who has helped?

Music Venues Trust has been brilliant with advice and lobbying government. Our supporters and audiences have been brilliant, buying vouchers, crediting or donating previously purchased tickets.

Name a low or high point.

Worst was the realisation we had to close, without knowing there would be any support.

What’s been the biggest challenge or the thing you’re finding it hard to get used to?

Unpredictability, particularly with new restrictions, and all the work it takes to change our operational model and let the public know about it. Deciding on artist bookings is a nightmare.

What will success look like a year from now?

To be operating normally again, perhaps with a vaccine in place, and audiences fully confident to come out again. Some measures/system changes that we’ve been forced to adopt will actually be useful if we return to normality, and could make us more efficient and generally better than before lockdown (thinking positively!).

LINKS: Peggy’s Skylight website

Buy tickets to the Nigel Price Organ Trio show at Peggy’s

Nigel Price’s website with full tour dates

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