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BCM Promotions





Here, Digger talks to Ray Martin at BCM Promotions Ltd. BCM present hit recording stars of the 1960's - 1970's 1980's to the present day and also provide a great selection of Tribute bands.

Brian Poole



Digger: Hello Ray, itís Digger Barnes at Retrosellers. How are you?  

Ray: Good thanks.  

Digger: Thatís good. Can you tell us the background to BCM Promotions?  

Ray: BCM Promotions was started about 25 years ago when I was with Brian Poole. Iíd come back from Australia and it was Brian who suggested I start my own agency up. And I did.  

Digger: And not looked back since.

Ray: Thatís right, not looked back since.  

Digger: Can you tell us about this year's Monster Bash and the other Music Festivals you manage?

Ray: The Monster Bash Ė this is our twelfth year and we have one in March and one at the end of October. I also have festivals at Folkstone in January and June Ė thatís where Iím going in five minutes. Itís a big festival down in Folkstone this weekend. We do the Seacroft in Great Yarmouth in November, so we do quite a lot.  

Digger: Is the audience changing over the years, apart from getting older are you getting more youngsters?

Ray: Yeah, you do, youíd be surprised at how many of the young kids are coming to see our music because itís not very often you go out and see a live band.

Digger: My daughter has told me sheís inherited her Dadís taste in music.  

Ray: There you go. I donít think much of the contemporary stuff will be around in forty yearsí time.  

Digger: But then, maybe thatís what all generations say, I donít know.  

Ray: Maybe, but, you know, I just canít see Take That doing gigs in forty yearsí time. Or these rappers. Because the music we like was the birth really. It was the biggest music swing of all time.  

Digger: Yes, and  lots of genres were being created almost simultaneously which was amazing, wasnít it?  




Ray: Thatís right, so these things, they manifest, and I think the sixties have got bigger and bigger as the years have gone by. As the bands have.  

Digger: Itís all technology-driven these days, isnít it?  

Ray: Thereís no personality. Itís all X factor and Britainísí Got Talent now.  

Digger: The cult of celebrity, rather than people doing their time in the business and getting established and the experience. Some people think The Beatles were an overnight sensation, but they did their time playing gruelling sets in Hamburg and Liverpool beforehand.  

Ray: Yes, youíre dead right. I think people do get brought up with the music and people are still going to theatres and even in this climate theyíre still relatively full. Itís still popular and the audiences are getting older but some of them have still even got their own hips!

Digger: Iíve seen three very retro shows recently and they all had a creditable audience.

Ray: Itís good value for money and people do like to forget their troubles, even if just for one night. Like going to watch a film, you go to watch to switch off and forget and to get entertained and have a good time. I kind of think thatís got something to do with it as well, getting away from reality.  

Digger: Does The Internet have much of an impact on your business?  

Ray: Yeah, I think it does. Itís difficult to say, but weíve got quite a good name in the business and everybody knows me for what I do. And itís not just sixties I do, I do a lot of stuff. But I get on with everybody and everybody seems to get on with me.  

Digger: You mentioned Brian Poole. What other acts are you representing and promoting?

Ray: Oh my, everybody! Wayne Fontana, The Tremeloes, Mike Berry, The Outlaws, The Mindbenders, Eric Haydock from The Hollies, Vanity Fair, The Dreamers, Edison Lighthouse, The Easybeats, The Manfreds, The Searchers, Dave Berry, Dozy Beaky Mick and Tich. Most of the American acts like Dionne Warwick, Buddy Guy Ė Iíve promoted most of them. They all worked for me at some time.  

Dave Berry



Digger: Itís funny how there are sometimes incarnations of a band which arenít quite the band, containing the neighbour of the drummerís cousin. Iím exaggerating, but you know what I mean.

Ray: But youíve got to realise that if you sit in the stalls at Manchester United youíre not going to see George Best playing, are you?  

Digger: Thatís true and thatís a very good point and Iím guessing someone has said what I said to you before! (Laughs) 

Ray: You canít expect it. Itís not about the people anymore, itís about the music. Youíve got to jeep the music alive even if the people and the bands have gone. Okay, The Fortunes have got none of the original members in there now but what do you do? Letís let The Fortunesí name go and youíll never hear those songs again live? Itís all about the music and not the people.  

Digger: Good point. What do you enjoy most about your business?  

Ray: Going home at night! No, obviously I still play myself and I still meet a lot of people and I still enjoy the crack on the phone and the business side of things. Some of them here will hang me and kick the stool away from under my feet, no problem. Iím a nightmare in the office.  

Digger: I spoke to Sid Bernstein and he said that the arrangement where The Beatles were going to play in America was done over the phone between him and Brian Epstein without them ever meeting face to face, all on a gentlemanís agreement on the phone. 

Ray: Thatís what you do. 99.9% of business is done on the phone.  

Digger: In what direction are you heading with BCM Promotions? More of the same?  

Ray: Itís never just more of the same. Youíre always looking for new artists, new venues. You canít just sit still. Iím forever looking forward. So you can never sit still. It is difficult because people donít want to spend the money or people are too frightened to book a show because they donít want to lose money, you see.  

Digger: They must take the occasional riskÖ  

Ray: Yes, you do, but a calculated risk. Thereís no point in taking foolish risks, which Iíve seen many, many times.  

Digger: Ray, thanks very much. It's been great talking with you.

Ray: Many thanks David.    

The Fortunes






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