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TALKING WITH TEAM CAA: EMMA BANKS

We follow up our recent interview with CAA music topper Rob Light by chatting with several of his key team members. First up: U.K. office co-head Emma Banks.

We recently saw what looked like a successful test run of the Download Festival. It seems the U.K. is on the verge of opening, but mainland Europe is quite a bit behind. Travel between the U.S. and Europe is surely an issue as well. What effect do you see this having on the live music business?
The test events that have run in the U.K. have been hugely successful. There was no massive spike in cases after the Liverpool events of early May, for instance. But we are still seeing festivals canceling for July and August because, until June 25, there was no word from the government as to what mitigations will have to be in place for shows to happen. Travel between countries and quarantine requirements are clearly having an impact; the current 10-day quarantine into the U.K. for almost every country in the world is making it very difficult to make plans. We still have no real idea when that will end or, indeed, if it will end and then suddenly be reintroduced, as we saw in Portugal.

On top of this, we have Brexit issues for U.K. passport holders. Potential costs of around £500 per person to obtain a visa to play in Spain, for instance, is going to make it almost impossible for a young U.K. band to be able to afford to play there—even if they can get into the country.

There have been more changes in the agency world over the last 16 months than in the last 16 years, yet CAA has somehow managed to stay relatively stable through and through. To what do you attribute this success?
I attribute it to all the people who work at CAA. It’s a team—that is our strength. And, of course, while different people play different roles, we are strong because every person plays their part. From the top to the bottom, we look after each other and know that we will come out of the pandemic stronger than when we entered it. There has been a tremendous spirit of optimism, and I think everyone knows that every decision that’s been made—and there have been very difficult decisions—has not been made in haste. Bad news was given to people in person, not through a leaked email or gossip, and there has been as much transparency in the process as possible. Treating everyone with compassion and dignity is what keeps CAA stable and a great place to work.

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