Having worked in the music industry for over 40 years as a talent scout and music publisher, as well as launching his own events business, Sound Advice, and even creating his own festival, The Sub Rooms' director, Hugh Phillimore, has had an interesting career to say the least.
SoGlos caught up with Hugh to hear more about how he forged his successful career, stand out highlights from along the way, as well as what people can look forward to at The Sub Rooms in 2023.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you began your wonderful 40-plus years in the music industry
It's been a long journey. I promoted my first concert at school when I was 16 – the legendary Humphrey Lyttleton, a fabulous jazz musician and brilliant raconteur. It was a sell out. I worked in my school holidays for Virgin Records packing coloured vinyl and getting to know some of the darker aspects of the music industry.
I joined the business full-time aged 19 as a talent scout for a music publishing company with my job to see 40 bands a month in London and around the country. I had a very small motorbike and a £40 a week expense account.
While still working as a music publisher, I started my own business, Sound Advice, in 1981, providing live music at parties and events which is still going today.
You’re now the volunteer director at The Sub Rooms, what does this entail and why did you decide to get involved?
I've been a trustee of the Subscription Rooms Charitable Trust since 2018 and volunteered to step in as director the following year. My job is to oversee all aspects of the running of the building, booking a range of events and trying to secure the future of the Subs.
We've hugely improved the music offering as well as upgrading the whole building and now offering full catering packages including weddings, private parties, a great day to day café and pre-show dinners.
I found myself committing to saving this iconic building as it’s essential that the Subs remains in the heart of Stroud. I’m working on various community projects, liaising with the town and district councils and expanding our membership and patrons scheme to solidify local support for what we’re doing.
What would you say you’re most proud of and what are some of your most notable highlights from your career?
Running the Cornbury Festival for the best part of 20 years, delivering some amazing artists at private and corporate events over many years. Other festivals at Arundel, Warwick and the Tower of London; our King's 50th birthday and Prince William's 21st; organising and executing cricket charity The Lord's Taverners most successful fundraising evening at the Royal Albert Hall with Eric Clapton and an amazing line-up of friends.
What are some of your favourite acts that you’ve worked with?
Favourites include the great Lionel Richie, with whom we've done over a dozen private events, likewise the inimitable Jamie Cullum, the UK's greatest jazz pianist, and one of the most professional women in the music business – the one and only Kylie Minogue.
Is working with the stars as glamorous as people imagine? And do you have any stories that you can share with us?
Of course it's never as glamorous as it seems and it's a job that requires experience and professionalism... always. And what goes on backstage, stays backstage!
What names would you be likely to be able to secure for exclusive events for corporate members at The Sub Rooms?
I pretty much have access to everyone – it just depends on the money. It's really a question of finding the right act to fit the occasion, the space and the budget.
We already produced the Bootleg Beatles for the 60th anniversary of The Beatles appearance at The Subs in 1962, a repeat of this would make for a very special corporate evening.
What are you most looking forward to at The Sub Rooms in 2023?
We're really looking forward to working with Mica Paris and P.P. Arnold, as well as renewing my acquaintance with the extraordinary Kid Creole and the Coconuts. I've got quite a few big names up my sleeve which will be announced in advance to corporate members and patrons.