Bob Paterson is the owner of the independent live music booking agency BPA Live, promoting Americana music for over 25 years, and has been instrumental in raising its profile to where it is now in the UK.
Bob started his life in the music business in 1995 doing work experience for Johnnie Walker’s production company (Wizard Radio) and on his old BBC Radio 1 Saturday afternoon show. He continued his career with fellow music aficionado Bob Harris on Greater London Radio (GLR) from early 1996 and then moved with him when he started working on BBC Radio 2. He worked on Bob’s shows for over 6 years and they remain close friends to this day.
Bob had his own left-field radio show on various radio stations from 1991, most notably on Country Music Radio (1997-1999), on SpydaRadio (a pioneering online radio station he started with his friend and accountant Mike Chapman in 1999) and a stint on the short-lived Mean Country in London (2002-2003). His last shows were broadcast on the Americana-UK website when he decided to hang up his gloves in early 2011, exactly 20 years after his first broadcast on Livewire 945, the student radio station of The University of East Anglia in Norwich where he studied Environmental Science between 1990 and 1993.
In July 1997 Bob started a 13-year stint as one of the main stage DJs at the Cambridge Folk Festival, playing continuity music between the sets. He started off sharing the decks with Mark Simpson and then latterly with Alan O’Leary. Bob also DJ’d at Glastonbury Festival in 2011 on The Bourbon Street Jazz ‘n’ Blues Stage.
Bob first started promoting live music at the small yet perfectly formed 12-Bar Club on Denmark Street in London in 1997 and for a while also used the larger Spitz venue in Spitalfields Market. A major change happened in 1999 when Bob ventured into the world of booking agencies full-time. He joined East Central One record company as their in-house booking agent. His first clients were Dr Robert (from The Blow Monkeys), Colin Vearncombe (Black) and New Jersey singer-songwriter Kate Jacobs and it comes as no surprise that he started to develop a roster of largely Americana music through contacts he had developed through his radio work and through subsequent trips to SXSW in Austin, Texas.
Bob relocated from London to Suffolk in 2002 and this marked a return to promoting live music, again with Steve Fernie (East Central One) in 2004 as Movers & Shakers Promotions. The pair promoted a variety of live music in a range of venues across East Anglia (and into Lincolnshire). They regularly promoted the likes of Bellowhead, Show of Hands and Ralph McTell amongst many others. They were best known for promoting The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain in Ipswich and Norwich and still do to this day.
BPA Live was formed on the 1st of July 2005 and the agency now boasts a roster of over 25 artists, mostly American and Canadian.
In 2008 The Home Office in the UK introduced an online system to replace the old paper Work Permits to enable people from outside of the UK to work legally in the UK. Bob had been using the old system since he became an agent in 1999 and he became a ‘sponsor’ in order to carry on doing so. Work Permits were renamed ‘Certificates of Sponsorship’ in the transformation and since 2009 he has developed a consultancy arm within BPA Live to enable musicians and entertainers from around the world to tour the UK legally. He works with other booking agencies who aren’t licenced sponsors themselves.
In order to raise the profile of Americana music in the UK, in October 2012 Bob formed the UK branch of the US-based Americana Music Association with fellow booking agent Bob Butler (Grapevine Music Agency) and Paul Spencer and Ken Ansell from one of the first totally Americana only music festivals in the UK, Maverick Festival. It has evolved since then, hosting its first conference at the Maverick Festival in Suffolk in July 2013 and its first AMA-UK (as it is known) Awards show in Hackney, London in February 2016. Bob decided to step down from the day-to-day running of the AMA-UK to focus on the agency but remains an Associate Director and loyal supporter.
Bob lives in a small village near Bury St Edmunds in rural West Suffolk and has a young family with his wife Lucy. He is known as Windmill Bob by Bob Harris because of his lifelong interest in windmills and he enjoys walking and running in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.
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