CMU@TGE: The Drugs Conference


This CMU Insights conference took place at The Great Escape on 18 May 2017.

Following the battle for Fabric, we asked what clubs, promoters, law enforcement and licensing officials should really be doing to save lives. What practical measures can be taken to ensure the safety of our customers? And what about drug culture within the music community? How can artists embrace the sex, drugs and rock n roll lifestyle without damaging their health and that of those around them?

Presented in partnership with Help Musicians UK

Speakers included: artist Adam Ficek, Vice’s Alex Hoffman, Fabric’s Andy Blackett, CMU’s Andy Malt, artist Chris T-T, CMU’s Chris Cooke, Help Musicians UK’s Christine Brown, Skint Records founder Damian Harris, Mixmag’s Duncan Dick, MMF’s Fiona McGugan, Giant Men Management’s Hiroki Shirasuka, Vice’s Jamie Clifton, BIMM’s Jon Stewart, Music Support’s Matt Thomas, Vice’s Max Daly, campaigner Nathalie Wainwright, DJ/producer Nomine (aka Outrage), The Warehouse Project’s Sacha Lord, musician/writer Simon Mason, Vice’s Tayo Yusuff and CMU’s Tom Quillfeldt.

The day was hosted by Jen Long.


10.45-11.15 A Recent History Of Getting High
To inform the day ahead, we look at recent trends in drug taking at clubs, gigs and festivals, reviewing the fashions and fads that have had an impact on both consumption and the risks attached, and assessing how well informed young music fans are about the substances they consume. Jen Long talks to Mixmag Editor Duncan Dick.

11.15-12.10 Drugs, Clubs & Music: How To Actually Save Lives
The future of Fabric looked very bleak last year as it fought a highly public licensing battle with its local authority. This despite the London club being widely acclaimed for its anti-drug policies. Fortunately a deal was done and the venue was able to re-open for business. Everyone ultimately wants a safe environment – inside and outside the venue. How can club promoters, local authorities and local police better collaborate on making this happen in a practical and efficient way?

Join the conversation with Andy Blackett from Fabric, Sacha Lord from The Warehouse Project and campaigner Nathalie Wainwright. CMU’s Tom Quillfeldt moderates.

12.20-13.00 Drugs, Clubs & Music: Getting The Message Right
Given most people agree that the most effective way to actually save lives is better education, who should do the better educating, and what’s the message? How can we talk with young music fans about drugs in a credible, authentic way that also communicates our safety first message? CMU’s Chris Cooke talks to Vice’s Jamie Clifton and Max Daly about their drugs content, and how they approach these issues in an engaging way.


13.45-14.30 Music Making & Drug Taking
Songwriting under the influence may have produced some very fine songs indeed, but did the drugs really help? Is the role of certain substances in the creative process too often romanticised? And do trends in drug consumption impact on the music scene? Music makers Adam Ficek, Chris T-T, Damian Harris and Nomine (aka Outrage) join Jen Long to talk music making and drug taking.

14.30-15.15 Weed, Music And Mental Health
Noisey presents a new documentary hosted by grime MC Jammer, where he investigates the effect that habitual skunk use has had on the mental health of himself and other artists within the scene. CMU’s Andy Malt talks to the documentary’s director Tayo Yusuff, plus Vice’s Alex Hoffman and Music Support’s Matt Thomas.

15.30-17.00 Tackling Addiction In The Music Community
Following last year’s focus on mental health during CMU@TGE, this year we tackle addiction in the music community head on, exploring how the rock n roll lifestyle can take its toll.

CMU’s Andy Malt talks to musicians about their own experiences, and their subsquent work assessing and promoting the support mechanisms open to those battling addiction, with Simon Mason, author of ‘Too High Too Far Too Soon’, and Jon Stewart, Course Leader at BIMM Brighton.

Andy, Simon and Jon will then be joined by Christine Brown from Help Musicians UK, Fiona McGugan from the Music Managers Forum and Hiroki Shirasuka from Giant Men Management to dicuss how the music industry can better support those facing addiction issues; the role of artist management and other business partners in safeguarding the mental health of musicians; and schemes and initiatives – past, present and future – that could better support everyone working in music.