While we’ve focused largely on experienced local promoters in our previous entries, we thought we would start talking to some newcomers who have been impressing us. Fitz Promotions specialise in showcasing the best indie rock bands from the South Coast. Built on a partnership between Billy Fitzjohn and Conor Clements, they have only been putting on gigs since September but they’ve got off to a great start. Following a string of busy shows we thought we would chat to Billy ahead of their gig this Thursday with The Taboos.
Q: How did you get involved in music?
Billy: I first got involved in the music industry because of a friend of mine called Matt…he was in a band and invited me to his gigs and took me along as the band got bigger. This was possibly the first time I felt like I had to get involved within music. I’d always loved music, however I began to finally get the urge to work within the industry that I love. I then transferred that into writing articles for Gigslutz and Boot Music and began helping companies run their shows with the dream of putting my own shows.
Q: What was the first show you put on?
Billy: The first show I put on for myself after creating Fitz Promotions was in September 2018 at Edge of the Wedge, a venue which I absolutely love. It featured Belles, Cascade and local band Drusila as headliner. I’ll be honest, the show seemed to absolutely fly by because I was a nervous wreck worrying about any potential problems but it was an amazing show to be involved in. The bands were great on the night and lovely people to meet, perfect way to kick off our events! Some memories of the show included a hilarious moment involving a rider request. George from Drusila had asked for some chewing gum and a bottle of wine to get ready for the show…my business partner and friend Conor Clements ended up coming back with a roll of hubba bubba, a random bottle of wine and a packet of chicken and mushroom slices…was rather a strange experience! Bet they thought we were absolute weirdos!
Q: How have things developed or changed since then? Any difficulties/learning curves?
Billy: Things have built massively over a small amount of time and I’m loving every minute of it! I spent a lot of time working out what I was doing as I honestly was winging half of it and I couldn’t have done it without the help of the people supporting me. Of course there’s been a lot of learning curves, however every knock back just makes you learn more and builds you to be better next time! The worst difficulties are always the ones you can’t control but it makes you think on your feet and when you love what you do, the difficult times aren’t as difficult anymore. Things have also developed in the way we aren’t just music promoters anymore, we’ve delved into the art of management also, so exciting times ahead.
Q: What is your favourite gig/line up that you have put on so far?
Billy: I’m torn between two gigs for this! Firstly our line up which featured Brixton’s, Crystal Tides and HOOLi was absolutely mega! We had an packed out room at Edge on a Monday night! Who the fuck goes out on a Monday? That lot was mad for it and it’s a proud moment in my eyes.
I also can’t move past this question without mentioning the amazing Blithe gig we had in November! All the bands on that day absolutely smashed it out the park. We were lucky enough to sell out that night and it was also amazing to finally book the legends that are Glass Peaks for that show! So big up Sam Tucker and Lee Vincent from CloseUp! This is also possibly my favourite because of my brother Josh, who supports me at every show, telling me how much he loved Blithe and he’s possibly the hardest person to please!
Q: What can we look forward to in the future?
Billy: Plenty of more shows coming up and also being involved in tours alongside other promoters! You won’t be able to get away from us that easily! We’ll be going to new places and new venues but it’ll be the same amazing show which you’re used to! Don’t worry we’ll still make sure we have our monthly show at Edge of the Wedge which I’m so proud of! Cheers to Geoff and the team at Wedgewood rooms for taking a chance on just a couple of lads from Pompey wanting to turn a dream into reality.
Be sure to check out our social media’s because we advertise everything on them! Obviously all plans have to be secret for the time being but I can officially announce our next show will be on February 7th at Edge of the Wedge.
Q: Any advice for people wanting to put on shows or local bands looking to get more gigs?
Billy: I always feel like such a dick when I get asked for advice but honestly if there’s any one out there with an idea for a show just run with it… it’ll be the best thing you ever do. The best advice I was ever given before starting putting on shows was from Rob Baker who used to work with Pete Doherty and it was never rest on your laurels, never expect to earn money from a show. You’ve simply got to do it because you love to! If you’re able to earn money out of it then that’s sick but the love of music is gotta be there! That’s why I hand pick all bands that play!
The best advice i can give to local bands to get more gigs is just keep plugging away! Go out to shows, meet people and network! If you don’t get a response from an email straight away, keep trying… never give up!
Q: Describe the Portsmouth music scene in one word
Fitz Promotions bring The Taboos to The Edge of the Wedge on Thursday 10th of Jan. Support comes from Colour of the Jungle, Basement Club and Moth. Tickets available from http://www.wedgewood-rooms.co.uk