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An interview with John Macaulay of Manchester’s Art Battle

  • By Ryan Moss

  • 06 Apr 2023
  • 6 min read

Header: Crispy Multimedia

Before co-founding Art Battle, John Macauley wasn’t the biggest fan of art events. “I found them a bit boring, low energy and sometimes a bit pretentious.” He explains over email. 

It was his partner and eventual Art Battle co-founder Sophie, who would try and encourage him to attend art events. But as John explains, football and music “were and are” his passions. Art events felt a far cry away from the rumble of a sound system or the excitement of a main stand. 

Sophie and John talked it through, realising that there must be a lot of other people with the same feeling as John. So, the two “set out to create an art event with the same energy you get at a good music gig.”

The result? The first ever Art Battle in 2013. Taking place at 2022NQ, John says they “had to beg and kidnap friends to take part. It was small, but the feedback was very positive.”

Encouraged by that initial feedback, John and Sophie kept going. Venues changed, and so did artists. But one thing grew: Art Battle’s popularity. Just check out their Stockport event in 2022. 

And after ten years, where are they at? John tells us: “We have up to 1,000 people attend each event. There’s festival vibes, and there’s always some unexpected shenanigans during the course of the battle.”

John and Sophie have worked with Skiddle since the beginning of Art Battle. For this interview, we asked John about Art Battle’s experiences using the Promotion Centre, working with our Account Support team and more.

John on… The reasons Art Battle decided to use Skiddle back in 2013

“We felt that Skiddle already spoke to a lot of our target audience. Some of the other ticket platforms were very corporate in their approach, whereas Skiddle had [more of a] street credibility. We wanted someone that could help us not just with the ticketing but to market our events in an ever-changing world.”

How the Promotion Centre has helped John & Sophie put on Art Battle over the years…

“The Promotion Centre has helped us take control of selling tickets. The functionality is great, so even a technophobe like me can easily find their way around it and access data 24 hours a day.”

John on… How our Account Support team have helped Art Battle with any challenges they’ve had.

“It’s very refreshing to have a real human being at the end of the phone to ring if there is a user problem. Whenever I have had a challenge with using platform functionality I’ve never used before, there is always someone there to handhold me through the process.”

How Skiddle’s collaboration with Art Battle in 2022 has helped the event…

“We were delighted when Skiddle mentioned the possibility of filming an Art Battle MCR. Skiddle were keen to showcase the wide range of events on its platform. We’re quite unique for an art event in many ways, the energy, the entertainers, the independent food vendors and always a few unexpected surprises. We hatched a plan to capture our event at an old Debenhams Building last year. We tipped off Skiddle as to some of the shenanigans we had planned and they captured it perfectly in a 6 mins short feature film.”

John on… Using the video to show collaborators.

“The film was shot so professionally and really captured the essence of the battle. We’re really proud of the finished film and have used it extensively on socials. We also use it when working with new collaborators or partners as it’s the best way to describe the unique nature of what we do.”

Photo via @ArtBattleMCR | Credit: Crispy Multimedia

How additional media support helps events like Art Battle…

“It’s massively valuable. The landscape of the world of media changes very fast and we haven’t got the time or expertise to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and technology. Having media expertise on speed dial from Skiddle means we can focus on what we do best – delivering Mannchester’s most energetic art event.”

John on… What he’d tell other brands looking to work with Skiddle

“What we like is that you are local, invested in the night-time economy industry and just get it. The staff are so friendly and helpful, I can’t imagine many other operators have anywhere near the same levels of customer service.”

Got a question you need an answer to? Give us a call on 03333010301 or ask us a question over on the Skiddle Promoter Twitter account by clicking or tapping on the button below. Alternatively, you can also find a list of our most frequently asked questions over at https://help.promotioncentre.co.uk/

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