Who We Are
A little about VMS
Formed in late 2007 and restructured in 2011. VMS Live is a specialist Live Music and Venues Company. We offer bespoke programming, venue development, management, promotional and operational solutions for partner venues. In addition we promote and deliver our own event brands including, Innercity Live and produce over 750 promoted shows annually as VMS Live presents.
Current and recent clients include ARC (Arena Racing Company), Manchester Academy, The Nick Rayns LCR, The Waterfront & The Waterfront Studio (Norwich), William Aston Hall (Wrexham), Warwick University Students Union (The Copper Rooms), Eventim Olympia (Liverpool), The Foundry (Sheffield), The Lemon Grove (Exeter), The Asylum at Hull University Union, Derbyshire County Cricket Club, The Guild Hall, Charter Theatre and LiVE (Preston), ULU & Brixton Electric (London) P&O Ferries and several local authorities and event organisers.
Alongside this, we own and operate The Welly, Welly 2 and The Polar Bear venues in Hull as well as Hull Box Office.
Meet the staff
Meet the people who make VMS Live the well oiled machine it is.
Richard joined VMS in June 2011, previously he worked for the Academy Music Group (AMG) for 8 years originally as the General Manager of Birmingham Academy before taking on a Group role in operations ultimately being appointed the Operations Director for AMG, where he was responsible for all operational aspects of an estate boasting 24 venues across 13 locations across the UK in 2010.
Between the summer of 2007 and late 2010 Richard project managed the development and opening of the Oxford Academy, Sheffield Academy, Leeds Academy, Birmingham Academy, Bournemouth Academy and the integration of the Glasgow ABC into the AMG Estate. He was responsible as a AMGs project manager for £20 million + of capital expenditure. He also oversaw the rebranding of the AMG venue estate with their new name in title partner O2.
Prior to joining AMG, previously known as MKG, Richard was the Theatre Manager of the Royal Court Theatre in Liverpool between 1999 and 2002, which produced a cross section of events ranging from Rock & Pop to Opera and Comedy. He promoted across all genres including Brendan O’ Carroll’s first live shows in England producing Mrs Brown Boys in various runs smashing all box office records along the way over a two year period.
Between 1991 and 1999 Richard cut his teeth in 3 vibrant Student Unions, Huddersfield, Hull and Liverpool. Between then and the present day he has managed either directly or indirectly over 35 UK venues gaining extensive experience in venue management, programme development, crowd management, all aspects of health and safety, ticketing, marketing, event production including major installation projects, procurement and all aspects of running a successful business in the live & club sector.
Since joining VMS Live Richard has broadened his skills to include the management of the company’s large scale outdoor events including the site design, production management and a specialism in Health Safety which resulted in a return to University to gain a suitable qualification in Event Safety Management.
Carl embarked upon his career in the entertainment industry whilst studying Law at the University of Hull in 1993. During his time as a student he promoted several successful club nights and live events moving on to a full time career with his appointment as Assistant Entertainments Manager at Manchester Academy. Some four years later he moved on to become Promoter and Entertainment Manager of the University of Liverpool Guild of Students. During his six year tenure the venue grew to become one of the busiest venues in the UK combining successful club and comedy activity against the backbone of a strong live music programme, mixing in-house and nationally promoted touring artists. The 1000 plus self promoted shows, established relationships with national promoters and agents ensuring “Liverpool Guild” became one of the must play venues on the UK live music circuit.
In 2005 Carl then moved on to the Academy Music Group (AMG) initially appointed as General Manager of the Carling Academy Birmingham, then moving to open the Carling Academy Oxford, also as General Manager. Remaining with the AMG he was appointed Commercial Development Manager for the group in 2008 overseeing commercial aspects of AMG’s 14 venue estate and also implementing an innovative new business model which was to see AMG operate the first fully branded O2 Academy venue in partnership with the University of Leicester Students’ Union along with several none branded management agreements with Liverpool, Bournemouth, Sheffield and Hertfordshire Universities. In 2010 Carl’s responsibilities within AMG were expanded to include Head of Academy Events (AMG’s in house promotion division) which promoted 700+ live events per year across it’s managed venue estate whilst retaining the role of Commercial Development Manager. For the past 11 years and whilst working at ULGOS and AMG Carl has also operated his own business Risk Promotions Ltd promoting such artists as Alice Cooper, The Human League, Doves, Ed Sheeran, Katherine Jenkins, Snow Patrol, Blondie and Frank Turner to name but a few. 2014 saw Carl move on to pastures new and move to VMS to tie up with former AMG Directors Steve Forster and Richard Maides. Carl has been appointed to the newly created position of ‘Commercial Director’ to VMS. Carl will focus on developing existing and new Commercial arrangements for VMS and its clients as well as overseeing its promotional activity.
VMS are delighted to welcome Paul to the team at VMS. Having worked with Paul in his role for the last 4 years via our Partnership with UEA, it is great to have Paul on board with us as a full time member of staff. Paul has a long career in the industry honed largely in UEA. After his degree Paul moved to Norwich some 25 years ago to do a Masters Degree at The University of East Anglia. With an interest in live music he joined the Entertainments Department in 1993. During that year the Students Union also took over running of The Waterfront from the local council, a live music venue for the residents of Norwich. Paul quickly progressed to be the Duty Manager/Booker at the city centre venue and soon enhanced his role by adding to his repertoire by booking for the LCR, UEA and taking over the relationship with national promoters. He also later instigated the successful reopening of the smaller upstairs room, The Studio at the Waterfront. During his tenure, Paul developed his skills and experience throughout the Entertainments department booking a number of genres of bands from 200 to 1550 capacity venues. Temporarily taking charge as Interim Entertainments Manager after the death of his mentor Paul has been a key part of the overall Social Enterprise department whilst a total restructure of the Students Union took place. During this time, he met and worked closely with new business partners VMS.
Paul has been working with Agents, National and Local Promoters in the live industry and club world for over 25 years. With experience in the industry as Promoter, Rep, Duty Manager, Operations including overseeing the Unions Box Office, combined with working within the student market. Paul has a wealth of knowledge across the wider Live sector and ever-changing market. He has promoted many shows including local lad Ed Sheeran very early on in his career. Over the years Paul has promoted a wide array of artists such as The Darkness, Akala, Stiff Little Fingers, Asking Alexandria, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Netsky, Hayseed Dixie, Magnum, Alabama 3, Lethal Bizzle, Nick Mulvey, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Courtney Barnett, Average White Band, Lucy Rose, Cat Empire, Beth Orton, Kate Tempest, Big Daddy Kane to name but a few. As part of Paul’s role with VMS he will be continuing to deliver shows into Norwich, but will also be looking to promote shows in the rest of the VMS and partner venue estate.
VENUES OPERATIONS MANAGER (NORTH)
Victoria joined VMS as Venues Operations (North) in May 2015, previously working for Live Nation, Mama Group and Academy Music Group (AMG). Prior to moving over to VMS, Victoria was General Manager for the Arts Club Liverpool from May 2014 to May 2015, a multi venue Gig, Club and Bar & Kitchen in the heart of the city centre. Victoria has a vast array of experience gained over a 10 year career in Live Music and Venue Management.
Between 2009 and 2014 Victoria was Assistant General Manager at O2 Academy Oxford, a 400 and 1000 capacity venue, and 1350 capacity club space. During her time there, she started up and booked their monthly BBC Introducing events, bringing hotly tipped bands to the city, including Catfish and the Bottlemen and Augustine’s.
Victoria started her career with Live Nation in 2004 in their Theatre division, working across 4 of their venues, Sunderland Empire, Liverpool Empire, Edinburgh Playhouse and Hastings White Rock. In the 5 years she worked for the company, she worked her way up from Box Office Assistant to Assistant General Manager, via the company’s Trainee Management program.
During the Summer months, Victoria has also worked Download, Wireless and Hyde Park Calling Festivals in Event Control for Live Nation. Additionally, in the summer of 2013, Victoria volunteered for Oxjam Festival in Oxford, organising a multi venue festival. With VMS Victoria delivers a number of Summer Racecourse shows and outdoor events including Inner City Live and Sounds of The Sumner in 2017.
Production & Technical Manager
Experienced in both Venue Management as well as Event/Production Management. Joe leads up the VMS team delivering our outdoor events as well as advancing all of our VMS promoted shows.
With a long career in the industry, Joe to work for Adlib Audio in Liverpool before making his way back to Liverpool University where he worked until 2007 as Technical and Events Manager.
A 7 year stint in Oxford working as Technical Manager, Assistant General Manager and then General manager at Oxford Academy, Joe was responsible for all aspects of the business from Budgeting to operations.
From 2013 Joe has been Freelance working as a promoters rep and production manager for various promoters, events and festivals. Including tours with TV Chefs Gino D’Acampo and Paul Hollywood.
Getting back to what he enjoys most, Joe joined VMS initially as a Freelance role as production manager and now heads up the department. Joe advances all VMS shows in the venues we work with as well as the ARC Racecourse shows and outdoor events.
He also drives a mean telehandler and has a wonderful beard.
VENUE MANAGER (EXETER VENUE MANAGER)
Lee has a long track record as both a promoter and and Venue Manager. Between 2009 & 2015 Lee was Entertainments & Events Manager at concert & club venue “The Forum Hertfordshire” (2250 cap). During his 6 years running the venues operations, Lee promoted or co promoted gigs with acts such as Florence & The Machine, Enter Shikari, Ed Sheeran & Ellie Goulding to name a few, as well as implementing and operating large scale club nights and multi stage outdoor events. In 2014 Lee and his team picked up a Live UK Music business award for best venue team work, as well the best club night award at the 2014 Ents awards.
Between 2011 & 2015 Lee was also the site manager for the southern leg of the Slam Dunk Music Festival (10,000 cap) Responsible for overseeing the entire site, from planning to build, operation and de rig, events manuals, traffic management, crowd management, health and safety as well as liaison with police, fire, ambulance, railways, highways & environmental health. Slam dunk was voted best festival in 2015 by Kerrang. Since joining VMS Lee has also worked in their Welsh SU venues as well as acting as Safety Officer on a number of the VMS outdoor events.
Aoifé joined VMS in October 2016 as Venues & Operations Co-ordinator, coming from Liverpool Arts Club.
After graduating from the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts in 2012, Aoifé joined Mama Group for the reopening of the Arts Club, a multi-room gig venue, 1350 capacity club venue and Bar & Kitchen in Liverpool City Centre. Having taken on several roles during her 4 years at Arts Club and gaining experience in all areas of the business, from May 2015 until August 2016 Aoifé was General Manager of the venue.
Aoifé first started working in music and events management in 2004, when she began running events for The Magnet Young Adults Centre, a 200 capacity music and community arts venue in Northern Ireland. After moving to Liverpool in 2007, Aoifé worked in various positions at festivals and live events including Stage Management and Event Production at Liverpool Sound City, Liverpool Music Week and Threshold Festival. As an Artist Liaison Manager, Aoifé has worked with acts as diverse as Ed Sheeran, Example and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
As part of her studies at LIPA, Aoifé was involved in collating an A&R showcase for Universal Records, worked as Front of House & Marketing Manager for the Third Degree Festival, and worked with Money North & Bold Management, who look after clients ranging from Atomic Kitten to the cast of Geordie Shore.
Aoifé also has considerable Festivlal Experience including Lovebox and Wilderness Festivals as well as working for VMS on the Wrexham stadium show in Summer 16 and the VMS promoted Inner City Live and Sounds of the Summer Shows in 2017.
SARAH LOUISE JONES
Sarah joined VMS Live in Spring in 2017. Achieving a 1st class BA(hons) Degree in Commercial Music in the year of 2013. Sarah has since managed up and coming bands, worked within the press department for One Little Indian Records, written music articles for online magazines such as 7bit & Buzz Magazine, been an artist liaison and front of house manager for among others AMG Live, the Isle of Wight Festival and for Motorpoint arena.
Immediately prior to joining VMS Live Sarah was an Events Management Assistant for William Aston Hall (based at Wrexham Glyndwr University) which is a 1,200 capacity venue. Sarah’s job roles at the WAH varied from managing the box office, running the website to repping and marketing the shows.
As Promoters Assistant Sarah will be joining our ‘Promotions Department’ responsible for booking and delivering over 600 events per year on behalf of our clients and for VMS.
Starting life at the barfly group nearly 20 years ago as the Camden barfly promoter Abbie then moved on into national tour promoting, firstly with the Channelfly PLC and then onto the Mama group where she delivered tours and branded events such as the Q awards shows. It was here at Mama that Abbie created High Voltage festival and after 8 successful years at the Mama group she moved onto creating the Ramblin man fair festival and has been a director and promoter there for the past 4 years
VENUES OPERATIONS MANAGER (SOUTH)
Gemma joined VMS as Venues Operations (London & South) in August 2018, previously working for Spirit of Rock, The Rock Collective and Mama Group. Prior to moving over to VMS, Gemma was the Operations and Event Manager for Ramblin’ Man Fair festival.
Gemma spent the first 8 years of her career with Mama Group in the Kentish Town Forum (2,300 capacity) working her way up from behind the bar through to Bar Manager, Assistant General Manager and eventually Acting General Manager before moving to the multi-room venue The Garage, Highbury (50, 650, 200 capacities respectively) where she was General Manager – holding the diary and delivering branded events for clients such as Fred Perry and Relentless and large underplays including the likes of The Killers who announced their show that evening from the stage at Wembley Stadium!
After Mama group, Gemma moved to Ramblin’ Man Fair full time and helped deliver the first 4 editions working her way from Events Assistant to Operations & Events Manager whilst also being the DPS for 3 out of the 4 years.
Gemma has also worked at a number of festivals including Global Gathering, We are Festival, Wilderness, Lovebox, High Voltage, V and Secret Garden Party across a number of roles including Bar Manager and Artist Liaison.
STEVE FORSTER - 1964 - 2019
Everyone at VMS Live is deeply shocked and saddened at the recent passing of our Managing Director and founder Steve Forster. He was involved in a serious car accident on Saturday, March 30th heading south after having watched his beloved Leeds United win (Marching on Together). Steve sustained a number of serious injuries which were treated in Sheffield after which he was transferred to Royal Surrey Hospital but following complications, Steve passed away peacefully on Friday, April 19th 2019.
Whether you knew Steve from his early days in Newcastle or through the many venues and events he worked with we are sure you will agree that he was a focussed and determined operator, a man who knew his own mind, and overall a truly unique and talented individual.
Steve was respected and influential throughout the industry and has passed on a great deal of knowledge and experience to those around him and for this legacy we can all be eternally grateful.
Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with his family, friends and all those who were fortunate to have known him.
RIP Steve – we know you will enjoy ‘The Great Gig In The Sky.’
Everyone at VMS Live is deeply saddened at the recent passing of Dan Pike. Dan was a much loved member of the VMS family and will be sorely missed.
We would like to offer our deepest sympathies and condolences to his family, partner, friends and everyone whose life, like ours, was made all the better and brighter by an extremely talented, creative and unique individual and above all a thoroughly wonderful human being.