Founder Stuart Galbraith and promoter Mark Walker chat to Access about the future of Kilimanjaro Live
Kilimanjaro Live has been involved with the music industry for almost a decade, promoting everything from stadium tours with Ed Sheeran to events like Dinosaurs in the Wild and Kew The Music. But in recent years the company has extended its diverse abilities to comedy, Youtube and the digital scene.
“We’re approaching our 10th birthday,” says Stuart Galbraith, founder of Kilimanjaro Live. “We started in 2008 and we now sell upwards of a million tickets a year.”
Kilimanjaro Live sells itself on being a promoter amongst contemporary music, rock and pop, and uncovering new bands. “Over the years, we have diversified as much as possible to adapt to the growing industry. To the point where we now have a comedy division, a spoken word department and even a centre for YouTube and digital stars,” adds Galbraith.
Mark Walker, promoter at Kilimanjaro Live suggests that the company’s principal focus is now digital growth.
“I’m involved more with the YouTubers and Instagram celebrities. People who are big musically but on platforms that aren’t so traditional.”
“I actually just got back from Orlando where I was at an event called Playlist, which is a digital influencer event,” adds Walker. “I became involved with the digital media scene after a meet-up in a park for YouTubers called Summer in the City. It began as a little community gathering where people would film content together. Next thing you know 3,000 kids turned up at Hyde Park and the event was shut down by the police.”
“In the years following, they decided to go indoors and sold 7,000 tickets at Alexandra Palace. That’s when I got a call from a friend, because of my background working on the Vans Warped Tour and other events. I was asked to help these kids out.”
Walker describes the scene of digital stars as an “un-tapped talent pool”. He decided to grab the bull by the horns and drive the future for a new genre of live events, introducing acts such as Emma Blackery and Bethan Mary Leadley. “They are both musicians and YouTubers, so my aim was to put them on tour with other artists to really jet-set their careers.”
“Emma went out and supported Charlie Simpson, which led to her supporting Busted in arenas but she had never toured before, so Kili was getting involved more hands on and had to go from tour manager to agent all rolled into one,” Walker explains. “Luckily for me, no other promoter is jumping on the digital side like I am.”
As well as a digital platform, taking off with rising stars of the Internet, Galbraith also has ambitions for other genres of promotional work.
“Our involvement in theatre and the West- End has diversified into family entertainment and visitor attractions,” explains Galbraith. “We booked Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival in Scotland on behalf of director Joe Gibbs.” The music and arts festival in on the Belladrum Estate near Inverness in Scotland, takes place 3–5 August.
On 21 March, Galbraith was giving evidence at a hearing in the House of Commons on the topic of secondary ticketing when the infamous action of Viagogo not attending occurred.
“Myself and Kili as a company are vehemently against the secondary market. We believe the pricing of the ticket and the income of that ticket should go to the creators of that show.”
“Having spent over 10 years in meetings with the Government since 2006, I’m really pleased to see that we are finally making some progress with regulatory control. I think the amendment to the Consumer Rights Act and the additions to the clause of the Digital Economy Bill, which were both passed into law two weeks ago, now provide tools to ensure that tickets can be controlled going into the secondary market.”
“Obviously it is completely the promoters choice and the decision of the managers. But I can tell you that 99.9 per cent of the managers we work with do not want to see their tickets in the secondary market.”
Along with doing month-long tours in Las Vegas and on the West End, Kilimanjaro Live has seen its acts soar with success, and bring millions into the company.
“For the 10th anniversary we’re going to have a big party at the end of January 2018. Last year was our most successful year to date,” says Galbraith. “2017 is on track to be even better and 2018 will be massive because we already have at least five projects in arenas and it’s no secret that Ed Sheeran will be playing in stadiums, so we’re gearing up for that now.”