John Mayoh



Sometimes this business can lift you up, and some days it can send you crashing down to earth with a bang. Writing this first ‘insider blog’ on the day after the Manchester Arena bomb kind of sums that up.

Some 20 years ago I ran a record promotion company in Manchester called Reactor. We specialized in sending out advance promo copies of great dance records to djs in order to create a pre–release buzz in the clubs. At the time I was always at my desk at 7.30am in the morning - don’t ask but suffice to say there was a young lady involved!!. I was there when the Arndale bomb went off though thankfully I wasn’t directly affected. However, the kindness of friends in the industry, who all went out of the way to call up and check that myself and the team were all OK, made the madness of that day seem bearable. Today it’s been happening all over again, with the suicide bomber at the MEN arena creating terrible havoc for innocent youngsters and their families. 

This is particularly pertinent to me at this time for a number of reasons;

  1. Our stage guys were at the concert with family and young staff members - thankfully they left early (before the bomb was detonated) as one of their party was feeling a little unwell.
  2. We’re producing a massive Will Smith concert on Blackpool Promenade on August Bank Holiday weekend - as you can imagine the phones have been red hot all day as the different security, emergency services, production and council teams discuss how best to ensure nothing like this happens at our event.
  3. Manchester is my home city. The stories coming in all day of fellow Mancs offering free lifts, beds, cups of tea to strangers – it’s what we do when under attack. We come back stronger and carry on, whatever they throw at us
  4. Having spent a large proportion of my working life in radio, it was also very heartening to see all my media mates responding to the emergency by providing information and heartwarming consolation live on air whilst people struggled to get into work or cope with the aftermath. Spare a particular thought for Simon Morykin who was doing his first swing spot on Manchester’s Key 103 breakfast this morning - and turned in a first rate pro performance full of humility and support for the city in its hour of need.

Many people think the entertainment industry is all fluff and giddiness but it touches humans of all ages, colours and creeds. Music, movies, art, dance can all make your heart sing. The right song played at the right time really can make a difference when you’re on a downer, and there’s also nothing fluffy about putting on successful safe events for hundreds or even thousands of folk to enjoy without worry. 

The suicide bomber didn’t get into the main arena because of the security precautions. He detonated his hideous device outside in the foyer of the train station. The thousands of youngsters who should have been streaming out to make their way home were still thankfully rocking the main hall as Ariana over ran her set with an encore. It doesn’t bear thinking about what would have happened if she’d finished on time. 

So, once again it’s time to say thank you for the music, and get back to work. Well done Manchester for getting through this hideous day and Big Love to All who worked so hard to ensure we made it through.


John Mayoh is a specialist music and broadcast event manager. More information on the Livewire Festival can be found here




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