Behind The Events | Boneyard Promotions

Image credit: BYP

We chat the guys over at Boneyard Promotions about what exactly goes into an event, the uncertainty of it’s return this year and much more!

As we are all painfully aware the live music industry has been on pause for a year now and subsequently floating in limbo. Last summer we saw remnants of what once was with a few social distanced gigs but the truth is we’re all yearning to be arm in arm, pint in hand at full capacity, restrictionless show.

Recently, the UK Government offered a slither of hope with their recent roadmap out of lockdowns, which sees restrictions (hopefully) lifted by July, meaning the return of the live music sector. Not long after the roadmap was released festivals began selling tickets, with most of them selling out in a matter of days. Even so, the Government has still yet to confirm if it will provide insurance to organisers if the roadmap is altered, which is a possibility.

With all this in mind, we wanted to hear from those directly involved with making events happen, we want to highlight all the hard work, the many moving elements, and the general quality of those in our live events industry. Hopefully, we can provide an insight into the many areas of events to give you a wider, more varied insight into the industry as a whole.

In the last article we spoke to Jon Grant of Whiskers, a popular venue in Newquay, Cornwall but this time we chat to Matthew Goodyear and Karum Cooper of Boneyard Promotions, a South-West based booking agency that has become known for its wild shows and its infamous Burn It Down Festival in Torquay.

Throughout our conversation, we cover just what goes into an event, how they’ve prepared for the return of live music, and much more!


Thanks again for taking the time to chat to us, how have you been?

BYP: We’ve been good – just trying to find work in the lockdowns, keeping safe, sane and optimistic for the future!

Why was Boneyard started and what did you want to achieve? 

BYP: Boneyard was started by Matt in 2015 – and he just wanted to reignite the once-bustling live music scene in Devon (specifically his hometown of Torquay) bringing national touring names through the town whilst offering opportunities to the local artists of the area too.

Why was it you decided to call the South-West your stomping ground?

BYP: We grew up here! Karum in Truro and Matt in Torquay – so there’s such a special connection that we feel with the artists, promoters, and other members of the music community down here. It feels very close-knit and friendly. The music scene down here is such a different beast in comparison to other UK towns, it needs a very specific kind of love and attention that we’re more than happy to offer.

So, time for the obvious pandemic question, how has it affected Boneyard? 

BYP: 2020 was set to be our biggest year as an agency to date. We had several really exciting tours, most of our artist roster performing at some of the biggest festivals in the UK, our first couple of European tour bookings, the third installment of Burn It Down Festival and Behave! Festival and many other bits and pieces. Unfortunately, the pandemic put a stop to quite literally all of that.

Check out the highlights to Burn It Down Festival 2019 here:

Do you see there being any live shows this year? 

BYP: We can hope! The lucky part about being situated in Devon/Cornwall is the prospect of having much lower R rates than the rest of the country… so hopefully (even if distanced and/or seated) we’ll be looking at a few shows from early summer onward.

How have you prepared to make a return to live music (if it goes ahead)? 

BYP: Of course, we have! Many of our shows and tours from 2020 have been rescheduled including the 2020 Burn It Down lineup. We have some of our biggest, most exciting shows to date in the diary too. So it’ll be a great way to return to the live industry.

Before the pandemic the south-west was building a strong reputation for live music, do you feel this has been damaged beyond repair or will it bounce back?

BYP: I think we’ll bounce back. Not only is the deep South West used to overcoming obstacles, but I’d like to think we’re all very resilient and determined to bounce back stronger than ever. 

Do you feel the south-west is often overlooked? If so why?

BYP: Unlike many of the bigger cities – we’re all on our own. In an almost separate part of the UK. It’s not like London where you can come and go from any direction – Devon and Cornwall is one way in and one way out. This makes it extremely difficult for agents to route tours as well as for fans to travel to gigs (which is exacerbated by our absolutely terrible public transport network) – because of the lack of footfall in our towns and cities – there’s much stronger competition between locations that otherwise shouldn’t need to compete. For example; Truro and Plymouth are the same distance apart as Leeds and Manchester but would struggle to have two dates of the same tour.

You guys have had extensive experience with running events and festivals, can you explain to us the different processes for each one and the work that goes into it? Do you feel it is fair to say that people are unaware of the hard work and amount of work that goes into events? 

BYP: For sure. This has been highlighted by the government’s retrain/relearn’ campaign, as mentioned above. I think people are so used to live shows and festivals being marketed and packaged into friendly products, they forget how many people work behind the scenes to pull it off. I guess that means we’re doing our jobs right, in a way… if people don’t realise we’re here and just focus on the end result then we can count that as some kind of success I suppose.

I think people are so used to live shows and festivals being marketed and packaged into friendly products, they forget how many people work behind the scenes to pull it off

Boneyard Promotions

What are your favourite elements to your job? 

BYP: Of course, the creativity that is involved in the marketing/branding side of things is a big part of our enjoyment. Creating a cohesive gig or festival lineup that works really nicely and has beautiful artwork for example. We also weirdly enjoy the admin and organisational side of things that come with booking shows/routing tours/organising festival staff etc.

What has been your biggest success so far? 

BYP: It’s got to 2019’s Burn It Down Festival. It was a massive success on all levels. Every band had a great time – there was so much backstage banter that was very enjoyable for both the crew and the bands. and the crowd was absolutely electric! We were only a few tickets off selling out, too. It felt like such an honour to bring something so exciting to a small town like Torquay and pull it off successfully! 

Music journalist and photojournalist based in Cornwall.

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