THE WAVE –  Silent Radio’s feature where we speak to the city’s venue owners, promoters and new music advocates. The guys (and girls) behind the magic and probably the very people responsible for one of your favourite music experiences…

Verity Gardner

Verity Gardner

Verity Gardner, Salford
Co-promoter – Fat Out Till You Pass Out | Knows how to throw a good paaarrrtyyyy

Manchester’s music scene has a strong history of Do It Yourself. The guys and gals at Fat Out continue to strengthen the ethic through their fair and unassuming approach to promotions.


We just like a good party. We like to put on things that can challenge, entertain or surprise people and it’s not done in a pretentious way. Sometimes we’ll do an amazing sell-out show and sometimes ten people will come. It is a bit of a risk.

Starting out
Dälek at Tiger Lounge was our first, biggest gig. Then we started to book bigger bands here [Islington Mill], like Boris and Russian Circles that sold out, which was incredible. We did Wolves In The Throne Room a few times. They were really good shows and grew our stature and confidence. We built up a relationship with the Mill and this helped us to develop.

The unpredictability of putting on a gig
Last week we did a gig at Kraak, we did a door deal with the band so they’d take any profits; we did a fifty quid rider and paid sixty for the sound. We didn’t know what to expect; we had no budget, we didn’t print any posters and we ended up having over ninety people on Tuesday night. We walked away with a small profit, that’s unheard of for us for small DIY shows. It comes out of nowhere sometimes.


Inspired by holiday camps & Mills
We just loved All Tomorrow’s Parties, it blew our minds. We never felt the same again, it was the best weekend ever and we wanted to do something similar. We even looked around Pontins, just to see. We pretty much found out how to put it on and it terrified us! How the hell did ATP do it when they started, taking on a holiday camp?’ The risk assessment alone! It was partly to do with working in Islington Mill too and thinking how alive it is when you are here with people.

Fat Out Fest 2014

Fat Out Fest 2014

Festival Producing: The Challenges
Gig goers­­ / planning
— Getting people to buy tickets can be challenging. We’re well organised and think quite strategically. We like to have plenty of time to plan it, probably from the end of the last one.

Scheduling — It took us a while to decide when [to do it]. We changed it from August to April, and then we thought we were going to clash with Supersonic, so we moved it and then they moved theirs too!

Festival 2014
It’s pretty different [this year]. It’s three days not two and we now have a weekend installation in the gallery; one thousand contact mics ran by Don McLean and Harry Taylor from Action Beat.

Collaborations galore…
A new thing for us is to invite outside collaborators to bring their set in. This year we’ve got four different collectives; Opal Tapes and Video Jam on Saturday and we’ve got Gizeh Records and Tombed Visions on Sunday. Video Jam have just popped up over the last 18 months, they’ve has some incredible commissions, and I thought ‘wow this is really cool I’ve never seen this before, anywhere’.

Tickets are £30 – that’s £10 a day, that’s…


The Manchester Scene
A lot of people are into experimental stuff here. Lou Woodcock and Neil [Francis] do 2KoiKarp and run The Penthouse; they are really into their niche noise, real experimental. They had a gig and there was quite a large guy in speedos that came out performing for an hour. There’s [also] Kelly, Pascal and crew who do some really interesting free jazz and improv’ stuff. You just have to tap away and then you’ll realise that there’s this whole cave of weird experimental things.

The Ethos…
When I hear DIY I immediately think of small, grotty venues run by friends of friends and bands that are mates and sometime there’s not really any money in it, knowing that only 10-15 people are going to turn up. That’s how we started and it grows. We’re still DIY now, we will always pay the bands and we don’t take a wage from it. Any profit goes back into the pot, to put into the next thing. That is the essence of DIY.

…then there’s the passion…
It’s for the love of music.  It’s also looking after the bands and it’s for the audience coming to see something that they might not have heard of.

manatees saki barDIY advice for new bands, it’s not all about the big bucks
I get so saddened about the amount of bands that think they are going to make it. I used to run a venue in town and we’d get bands that’d have tables of t-shirts and CD’s. I was like ‘you’ve put so much money into this, but you’re shit.’ Great play your friends nights, parties and record your own stuff, but don’t push it on people because it’s crap and you just walk away with shit loads of merch. I know that’s harsh but when you see them hungry for the success, you’re like ‘well this isn’t what it’s about’, you’re best off trying labels or a big agent.

Islington Mill the DIY poster boy
Bill who opened this place, all the team that have built it and the people that have been through it are inspiring. I feel like that you have your time [here] and it goes into history.


An abundance of Manchester promoters
Manchester is saturated, but two promoters aren’t the same. There’s not so much rivalry, but if there’s competition between the two to get a gig it will often end up in a co-pro which is often ideal.  We’ve co-pro’ed with WotGodForgot and that’s because we’ve both been after it.

Co-pro, the way forward
It makes it less stressful and more fun because you get to know those people. If we can share the financial aspect and use each other’s networks and then share the…wealth! I’m close to Ben Pitman from Bad Uncle, we’ve worked together on a couple of occasions and that’s always been really fun. Usually, every promoter we’ve worked with in Manchester has been really fun.

The significance of collaboration
It’s very important. You feel closer to the circuit when you’ve worked with someone. When you’re working for the same ideal and result, you get to know them better and you’re introduced to loads of other bands and people. You end up caring more about them and supporting their shows more. It strengthens the scene a lot.

Promoter vs. Promoter
We’re pretty friendly with most of them and we’re lucky enough to get guest list for most of them!  Obviously we’ve always returned the favour, but I don’t think they are as keen to come to our gigs, as we are to some of theirs!


I’m a bit tired of the Northern Quarter, I don’t see its charm anymore. Salford is like the underdog of Manchester, but it’s a bit more real and I think that’s why it’s go more of a charm. Manchester’s all about ‘who’; it’s all a bit bullshitty. I think Salford is a little less worried about what it look like, you can go a bit more wild here. We had a stage at the Crescent Pub for Sounds From The Other City. We had such a good day there, some of the old regulars were like ‘what is this shit?’ By the end of the night, I shit you not, when we had face painting on, the old guys at the bar were painted like tigers! It was such a fun venue.


Fat Out Fest, Spring Bank Holiday weekend – May 23 – 25
3 days of music, art and collaboration over 3 stages across 5 floors of the Islington Mill
Tickets and more info

Verity also joins us on the Silent Radio, Radio Show Saturday 10th May.


Co-founder, Producer and Presenter of the weekly Silent Radio show. Part of the Silent family since 2010.Over 10 years experience of working with national, award-winning youth charities and in the creative industries. She’s the former Deputy Director of, Europe’s leading promoter of emerging creative talent. Here she helped secure new creatives secure massive media exposure (BBC R1, 1Xtra…), showcases at mega impressive locations (Downing Street, V&A...) and kudos from the best in the business (Brian Eno, Boiler Room, Peter Saville…).She also flies the flag for women in the media as Director of Manchester’s independent music website Silent Radio and co-Founder, Exec Producer and Presenter of the Silent Radio show on MCR.Live; Further radio includes BBC 5Live, BBC Radio Manchester, plus the odd bit of TV Production Management with international broadcast credits (BBC, ZDF / Arte, Smithsonian…), she also dabbles with playing records to people and her first podcast is currently in pre-production.Bestest gigs: Pulp, Sheffield Arena, ’12 | Micah P Hinson, Sheffield Lantern Theatre, ’12 | Dream Themes, Manchester Star & Garter, ’14 | Patrick Watson, Manchester Gorilla, ’15 | Less Than Jake, Nottingham Rock City, ‘01 | Frightened Rabbit, Manchester Deaf Institute, ’12 | The Decemberists, Manchester Academy, ‘11 | Passion Pit, Manchester Academy 2, ‘09 | Iron and Wine, The Ritz, Manchester, ‘08 | The Verve (with Beck), Wigan Haigh Hall, ‘98 | Take That, Manchester Eastlands Stadium, ‘11 |Worst gig: Fall Out Boy, Manchester Roadhouse ’05 (subject to change)