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Jazz Shaper: Ciro Romano

Posted on 02 July 2022

Ciro Romano is the owner of Neapolitan Music and the founder and festival director of Love Supreme Jazz Festival and Nocturne Live at Blenheim Palace. 

Elliot Moss

Welcome to the Jazz Shapers Podcast from Mishcon de Reya.  What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however the music has been cut due to rights issues.

Welcome to Jazz Shapers, where the shapers of business join the shapers of jazz, soul and blues on the first full day of Love Supreme Jazz Festival, where we’ll be in exactly one hour’s time, ladies and gentleman, for our weekend of programmes.  Who better to join me than the man at the very centre of Love Supreme, Founder and Festival Director, Ciro Romano.  This is an Encore special because he was with me back in 2019.  Music was Ciro’s passion from an early age and after a few years working as a corporate lawyer, including a stint at music label, Universal, where he says he learned everything there was to learn about the music industry, Ciro founded Neapolitan Music, a management company and label back in 2002.  After spotting a gap in the market for a larger scale, authentic communal experience celebrating jazz music, as he says, Ciro set about creating Love Supreme, which launched in 2013 with a number of partners, including us here at Jazz FM.  It is now the largest jazz festival in the UK and with Covid-19 forcing the cancellation of both the 2020 and ’21 festivals, Love Supreme is back and it’s bigger than ever.  I’ll be talking to Ciro in just a couple of minutes about all of this and indeed his new ventures, the first Love Supreme in Japan and a brand new festival of music and ideas, the Kite Festival, which debuted only a few weeks ago.  It’s brilliant to have you back.

Ciro Romano

Thank you, Elliot, it’s good to be back.

Elliot Moss

It’s been a bit of a strange three years, as I was reflecting, the last time we spoke it was pre-pandemic, little did we know that anything was coming, the festival was going great guns and then it stopped and the world shut down.  We’re open for business again, Ciro, as you were thinking about putting this festival together this year, how did the last two years inform your attitude towards that?

Ciro Romano

I think it made me even more focussed and determined to make it work, to have the best bill that we could have and to sell as many tickets that we could do.  I think, especially after 2021 when I was hoping that we would be able to… we would be able to launch the festival again but we were a bit early in the season – it was June/July – so we knew early on, round about March/April it wouldn’t be possible but it was disappointing because there were some festivals in August and September ’21 so, yeah, it made me just more, as I say, more focussed, more determined to make it work and to come back bigger and better. 

Elliot Moss

Did it change anything in terms of the choice of acts that put on?  I mean, a lot of us have experienced a different view of the world, you know, things slowed down, things were more isolated, most people didn’t see as many people, most people couldn’t do things together.  Was there a sense that the acts that you were curating this year would really inspire and catalyse that sense of community or is it just, Elliot, they’re just great musicians and I wanted them?

Ciro Romano

I think the latter because I think trying to create that community feeling at a festival, something that we try and do every year anyway, so this year in particular the bill just happens to be particularly strong on both days but nothing changed in terms of my booking policy or how I approached it.

Elliot Moss

The bill is amazing.  It’s here in front of me.  Erykah Badu, Gregory Porter, Tom Misch, Lianne La Havas, Ezra Collective last night, Sister Sledge, I mean it’s, it’s like one of those… you do those fantasy league football things and it’s fantasy jazz, soul and blues.  Do you still, and I asked you this last time and I was listening back to the programme, knowing that I was going to see you today, do you still have the pinch you moments or do you think now, all this time later, you are like I’m kind of over it or is there still a frisson of excitement?

Ciro Romano

There’s still definitely a frisson of excitement, a hundred percent, especially with something as full and the crowd of going crazy, that feeling, which is not the case at every single show that you do, it’s still something really, really special so, no, definitely there are pinch me moments. 

Elliot Moss

And today, later, we are going to have is it twenty four thousand people here?

Ciro Romano

Twenty four thousand people here today, yeah.

Elliot Moss

Twenty four thousand people are going to be joining us very shortly here on Jazz FM at the Love Supreme Festival 2022, it’s happening.  You went international this year, you ended just outside Tokyo.  How many people were celebrating Love Supreme 2022 in Tokyo?  Do you remember?

Ciro Romano

Yeah, yeah, there were five thousand people a day.  We did almost exactly the same numbers as we did in Love Supreme in 2013 England, it was almost exactly the same, though it was a very different experience. 

Elliot Moss

Was it?  So, tell me about the vibe in Tokyo?  What’s the difference between a Japanese audience and a, and a, I say a British audience but an audience in the UK?

Ciro Romano

They’re a lot tidier.  They’re a lot less rowdy, they drink a lot less, even though the Japanese do drink, somehow at this public festival they don’t drink as much.  You know, there’s just a lot less littered, everything is more polite, they were all wearing masks, they are very respectful of the music – that’s not to say people here aren’t – but there’s, it was just a bit less rowdy is the best way to describe it but it was great, you know it was busy and it was a lot of fun.

Elliot Moss

And how did it make you feel knowing that you’ve managed to export this creation to another part of the world?

Ciro Romano

Yeah, it was quite, I mean I felt it was quite moving moment, I felt very proud of it obviously, when you’re sitting outside Tokyo and you’re seeing your original branding that you did in 2012 in lights, yeah, it’s a great feeling. 

Elliot Moss

The sense of other always strikes me in Japan, I’ve been a fair few times and worked with lots of Japanese companies over the years.  That sense there, apart from it being yours, did you feel that?  Did you feel the difference?  I mean, you talk about the fact that people enjoyed the mu… you know really into the music and I observed that as well, in terms of kind of being quite experts in what’s going on and being almost students of the music.  What else did that sense of other make you feel?

Ciro Romano

Yeah, yeah.  It definitely felt different from Love Supreme in the UK.  It made me… I suppose it makes you feel that it’s not all yours, whereas the one in the UK, it feels yours, you know you are effectively shaping it.  I think in Japan, I wouldn’t say they are more respectful of the music in terms of hardcore music fans but I think in the UK people still go to festivals, just to go to festivals, they want to go to a festival, there’s a festival market crowd, in Japan everyone was there for the music, all the shows were full, in between the shows there was nobody mulling around, sitting around drinking, you know, on the grass, it was just very much focus on the music.  So, yeah, it was different, it was a different experience and there is a sense of other, you are right, in Japan and it, I guess it’s an island and, you know, they’ve created their own culture, their own rules and regulations, their own conventions. 

Elliot Moss

That, not all yours thing though, that almost like it’s been taken out of your hands and now it’s living and breathing in a different way, can you imagine it’s going to pop up in other places in the world and are you comfortable letting go like that?

Ciro Romano

I think it will pop up in other places in the world.  We’re discussing different territories at the moment and yes, I am comfortable with it so long as there’s a sort of respect of the brand, our branding, how we convey the brand, our tone but you have to let go a little bit especially in terms of curation, in terms of what they are booking because they don’t book everything that you would necessarily book, so I think there has to be a little bit of distance between you and your partners in those territories and you have to give them some freedom to book what they want or what they feel is right for that market.

Elliot Moss

Because last time we spoke, you talked about, I loved it, you described it as the aesthetic, which is essentially is a brand only, you say this is the look and the feel, this is the tone of voice, this is the personality, these are my values.  How far is that aesthetic still going to be Ciro Romano’s vision?

Ciro Romano

Well I think all the branding is still ours and the tone is definitely still ours and the aesthetic, when I talk about aesthetic, it’s not just about the designs and the tone of the language that we use, which is really important.  It’s a sort of lack of histrionics in how we talk, there’s no exclamation marks, we don’t get over…

Elliot Moss

No hyperbole. 

Ciro Romano

No hyperbole. 

Elliot Moss

No adjectives.

Ciro Romano

Yeah, no adjectives, yeah.

Elliot Moss

It’s really important though.  No, no, it’s actually, that’s the mark of a confident brand. 

Ciro Romano

Yeah, so like, you know for example, we had somebody on site and there was something going on, the notorious so and so was coming and I just said no, that’s out so, I think from that perspective it will be maintained but in terms of just pure content, I think there has to be a little bit of distance.  But yeah, the aesthetic that we have will not change. 

Elliot Moss

The lack of exclamation mark, so I can see that’s really, it’s ruffled him.  Is that you?  Is that your personality or is that the personality that you think that the Love Supreme brand needs to have?

Ciro Romano

I think it’s a bit of both.  I feel that if you curate a festival well, if everything’s done properly, you don’t need to use exclamation marks because what you’re… the information that you’re conveying should be exciting enough without you having to tell the audience that they’re excited.  They should be excited, sorry. 

Elliot Moss

And you, being is that you? 

Ciro Romano

That’s me, yes.  Yes, definitely.

Elliot Moss

I don’t need to tell you to be excited, you should be excited because I’m Ciro Romano. 

Ciro Romano

So I never use exclamation marks and my emails are very minimal, generally.

Elliot Moss

They are.  I can attest to that, that’s absolutely true.  What time is it happening?  8.45.  Thank you very much.  Stay with me for much more from guest today, it’s Ciro Romano, he’ll be back in a couple of minutes here on our Jazz Shapers Encore Special at Love Supreme 2022.  Right now though we are going to hear a taster from the Mishcon Innovation Series, which can be found on all the major podcast platforms.  Natasha Knight invites business Founders to share their industry insights and practical advice for those of you thinking about getting into an industry and starting your very own thing, like Ciro.  In this clip, focussed on entering the arts industries, we hear from Fabien Riggall, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Secret Cinema. 

You can enjoy all our former Business Shapers on the Jazz Shapers podcast and you can hear this very programme again if you pop Jazz Shapers into your podcast platform of choice.  Ciro Romano is my guest today, Founder and Festival Director of Love Supreme and also the Founder of the Kite Festival, Kite Festival, which happened just a few weeks ago.  Where did that idea come from and just explain it for those people that aren’t aware of it?

Ciro Romano

So, Kite is a festival of ideas and music and the original idea came to me at Hay Festival in 2017.  I went to Hay Festival, which an amazing festival.  For people who don’t know it, it’s writers, politicians, intellectuals, economists, actors, actresses, the whole gamut of a Sunday magazine and it’s a great festival but after three or four hours of listening to talks and going from talk-to-talk, I though you know wouldn’t it be great now if we could just go into like a field and listen to some music, have a few drinks, DJs, it would become a different kind of event because this is really, really interesting but then it just kind of ends and you are in the middle of Hay in Wales and there’s nothing to do.  So that was the start of the idea and then I started thinking about it a little bit more and about whether there would be an audience for a broader type of offering with ideas at the centre of it and I’d thought about how the last twenty years we’ve changed so much as a society, for good or bad, we become more curious and more opinionated, more passionate, more informed, more activist, mostly as a result of the internet and social media, as I say for right or wrong, whether it’s fake new or otherwise but we’ve all become a bit more interested, it’s become less specialised and less elitist but the one thing that hasn’t changed in the last twenty years is that we still love music and we still love to have a good time.  So, the idea was, how can we bring together these two different types of events, you know, a music festival and an ideas festival and that, that was the idea and then I sort of thought about it more and more and started thinking about how it might look, how the day might pan out, who would need to help us with ideas, how to get the money, you know the usual things.  That was the basic idea. 

Elliot Moss

And I think there’s a human truth in that, I think you are, I’m, for what it’s worth, I think you are absolutely right in terms of the curiosity because of the, the level of information and ideas that we’re exposed to in the web and the connectivity.  I also think it’s true that our brains work in interesting ways where you can read something and I’m certainly the same, I might be reading The Economist or the FT but I love to stop and then listen to some music, relax and then come back into it so I think there’s a human truth to that which I am sure will, you know, for how many people this year?  Five thousand?

Ciro Romano

We had five thousand in the first year, which we are really happy about. 

Elliot Moss

Which is really fabulous.  But when you were talking, it reminded me again of something we talked about last time, which is the, your ability to pull people together to collaborate.  For those people that don’t collaborate, what would you say were Ciro’s three top things because you are good at it, Ciro, right, you do it for a living…

Ciro Romano

At collaborating or?

Elliot Moss

At collaborating, yes, as opposed to making music or writing books, which neither of which you probably do but if, we can talk about that as well.  But in terms of the collaboration, how can you, how do you bring these quite different worlds together? 

Ciro Romano

For me, the first thing is really understanding the market and understanding what is out there and seeing where there are, there are gaps.  So that’s the first thing that you have to do but I think understanding what things that you are missing, as an individual, what am I missing, what don’t I have?  So once you have the idea, we’re not good at everything and in terms of collaborating and bringing things together, I feel that you really need to understand your own limitations.  As soon as you understand your own limitations, that opens you up to bringing in other people that will fill those gaps so I think that’s the first thing.  I’m not quite sure there’s anything else in terms of, just so I understand the question…

Elliot Moss

Well, once they’re in, so let’s now say, I need to fill my gaps, I need someone who is going to be phenomenal in the world of literature, you then get Jane and Fred and John and they all come in and they, you know, in this instance for example in terms of music, the Tortoise Media, James Harding and his team over there.  In terms of making the work, the collaboration work at that stage, are there specific things?  I mean, you strike me as a good listener.  You strike me as someone who says well I’ve got my point of view but I’d like to hear yours.  Is that an important part of that?

Ciro Romano

Yeah and I think we discussed this last time, I think you have to be a great listener, not just to those partners and people in production, your ticketing people, there’s, you know, I don’t do everything myself, I’ve got an amazing team of people though that I work with and they all have opinions, you know, and sometimes I listen to those opinions and sometimes I feel like I’m on one route and we’re going on that route but sometimes you have to be able to kind of go off route a little bit and then get back on it again and just because somebody does production or because they do ticketing, doesn’t mean they won’t have an opinion on who you are booking or what your branding should look like so, yeah, I’m pretty open to, to… I wouldn’t say collaborating but to absorbing other people’s point of view and then I kind of, I then go back on my road again but with more information. 

Elliot Moss

But I assume also you are comfortable disagreeing?

Ciro Romano

Yeah, yeah, yeah.  You know, Italian. 

Elliot Moss

He’s Italian.  And a qualified lawyer, obviously. 

Ciro Romano

And a qualified lawyer.

Elliot Moss

A qualified practicing lawyer.  Don’t mess with Ciro. 

Ciro Romano

The other thing I would say about, about festivals is, you know, when you curate a bill, everything has to be interlinked and sometimes I think the best festivals are the ones where you look at a poster and it makes sense right away.  So, they’re not all the same, the artists, but there’s some kind of DNA in the…

Elliot Moss

So, what’s the DNA here?  So, we’ve got in front of us, we’ve got the Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2022, Erykah Badu at the top, Gregory Porter, Tom Misch, tell me the thread in this. 

Ciro Romano

So the thread for Love Supreme is, obviously, the DNA is jazz and out of jazz, has come soul music and funk and R’n’B and hip-hop, all those music genres have some form of connection to jazz so, that gives me a broader pallet with which to work, to make it broader at this event because if it was just jazz, we would not be sitting here talking, it wouldn’t be big enough, it would be five thousand people a day so, that’s important and even in Kite, where the type of speakers that we had, with the type of artists that we booked, the challenge was to go okay, if people want to go and see Ai Weiwei or listen to Rory Stewart speak to Andrew Neil or listen to Tina Brown talk about the Royal family, all of which happened, what kind of music do these people like?  Then you have to somehow make that connection, which is really challenging but, again, as you look at a poster, it all has to make sense and it has to make sense in a nanosecond. 

Elliot Moss

In terms of putting these things on, right, and you’ve done quite a few now.  Does it get easier, logistically or is every year just different in terms of the challenges you face?

Ciro Romano

So I’d say that the booking becomes easier because you’re, if you develop a reputation as a festival, the artists start wanting, you know, the first two or three years of Love Supreme was me trying to book acts, now 90% of the acts come to us, to want to play the festival, apart from probably the top, top really three or four acts.  So, that’s become easier and then that makes my other events easier, like Blenheim Palace concerts, Kite etcetera so I think that becomes easier.  Logistics remains a big challenge because it’s always changing, you know, when something gets bigger, you have more areas, so everything changes all the time, the site changes, so the site gets re-drawn, you’ve got an extra three thousand people, it makes a huge difference to how you draw the site so, that’s always a challenge and also, the biggest thing that I’ve found is that when you are on… because we were below the parapet for a long time with this festival, nobody really noticed it, it just… then all of a sudden, you are above the parapet, then more people have opinions on things, that’s definitely changed. 

Elliot Moss

And when more people have opinions and things, how do you manage that emotionally?

Ciro Romano

I sort of mostly, mostly ignore it because I think you have to keep to your vision, keep to your route and try not to be swayed too much by people, you know, saying oh why don’t you book X, why don’t you book Y, why don’t you go to a different site, we can get bigger, all those different things.  So, you just have to keep on the road, Elliot.  Keep on the road, keep your eye on the road

Elliot Moss

Keep trucking.  And in terms of, you know, I think about, in fact he was on the programme many years ago, Harvey Goldsmith and other people that are what I would call sort of impresarios, do you see yourself as an impresario?

Ciro Romano

Not really, no. 

Elliot Moss

How would you describe yourself, Ciro?  If you’re not an impresario. 

Ciro Romano

Um, I’m an ex-lawyer who went into business, basically.  That’s kind of what I am.  I’m not an impresario because I’m not like Harvey and those guys who are, you know they’ve been in the business since they were fifteen and sixteen, there’s a different… we used the DNA earlier, just a completely different DNA, you know I don’t, I’m not, I’m not saying Harvey is histrionic but I’m not, I just have a different way of approaching things, I’m generally pretty calm about everything and don’t get too excited. 

Elliot Moss

But I think at the core, you are still driven by the passion of the music and the passion of this excitement that you create, which I find interesting because that’s juxtaposed with the rational lawyer that just happened to have gone into business. 

Ciro Romano

Well I think that’s because I think because I studied law and I spent ten years a lawyer, that’s kind of shaped me a little bit because I wasn’t, you know, it’s given me a longer attention span, it’s given me a better attention to detail.  I wouldn’t have had those if I hadn’t been a lawyer, I would have just been a normal person but when you practice law for ten years, you just…

Elliot Moss

You’re not a normal person anymore.

Ciro Romano

You’re not a normal person anymore, which is the angle of staff, I’m like you can read these really long documents and you don’t get bored in meetings as easily as other people and those things are now in my… the very way I live, just as I read everything so, all my team know I read everything at one point, I will read it, no matter how many emails I get, just because just in case I miss something, you know I don’t want to miss anything, I don’t want anybody sneaking an email at 1.00 in the morning.

Elliot Moss

You are a nightmare, basically, Ciro.  You’re dangerous and as you said yourself, you are not a normal person because obviously, lawyers, and I know quite a few of them, are not normal people.  Stay with me for my final chat with Ciro Romano and we’ve got a classic track from another Love Supreme 2022 headliner, it is Erykah Badu and that’s all coming up in just a moment. 

Erykah Badu there with Honey, she’s the headliner here at Love Supreme Jazz Festival 2022.  Ciro Romano is my headliner on this Jazz Shapers Encore Special.  You were talking about the Kite Festival, you’ve talked about Love Supreme.  My question is around ideas and where they come from for you and potentially what’s next.  Ideas are funny old things, they creep up on you and you said you read everything and we talked about absorbing everything and it goes in there and then suddenly something pops out and you talked about the Hay Festival and where’s the music?  I know what I’ll do, I’ll go and create it.  What do you think the next one’s going to be?  Have you got another one brewing?

Ciro Romano

Expanding Love Supreme internationally, is one of our priorities and then making Kite a genuine event for the festival calendar, is a big challenge for me.  So right now, I have got a couple of ideas percolating but right now, I just want to get those two things, you know, in a… well, Love Supreme is already in a good place but get Kite in a really good place and obviously, we do have Blenheim Palace concerts every year as well so, we might extend that to another stately home somewhere in the UK but right now, I probably won’t do anything new for another couple of years I don’t think. 

Elliot Moss

Bu the R&D department of Ciro Romano’s is ticking away always. 

Ciro Romano

Always.  Always, yes, so there’s about two or three ideas in my head that I just know that if I start them, I’m not going to give enough time to Kite and then international expansion for Love Supreme to make those things work but they will eventually happen. 

Elliot Moss

And in the R&D lab, are there are other people that you look to that you talk to that inspire you? 

Ciro Romano

Not really.  I mean...

Elliot Moss

No, Elliot, this is all about me.

Ciro Romano

No, no, that’s not what I mean but the truth is that both those events, they just, you know they came from the R&D lab and then what happens, you have the idea and then you might speak to a couple of people about it, you’ve got to be really careful about that because most people think that’s a bad idea, that’s not a great idea and then so you’ve got to be quite…

Elliot Moss

Robust.

Ciro Romano

What you were just walking me for, you know, yeah, you’ve got to be, you’ve got have this kind of slightly bizarre belief in your own tastes and…

Elliot Moss

Gentle mocking, obviously.

Ciro Romano

Yeah, gentle mocking.  But that’s true so, you know, I mean Love Supreme, there was a lot of my friends who are promoters who thought the idea of an outdoor jazz festival was completely idiotic and it would never work and it’s the same with Kite so, like, I think you know Blenheim Palace hadn’t worked for many promoters before we did it and then…

Elliot Moss

But is there, and I understand that, I think you’re right, you know the crazier the idea, you know it’s the crazy people that get stuff done and that make things that no one else thinks they can do, that can be done but is there anyone where you kind of have a muse relationship at all where you go, I’ll talk to that person, I’m not going to get a no, I’m not going to get judgement, I’m going to get someone who goes that’s interesting, have you that about that?

Ciro Romano

I’d like to say yes but the reality is, I’ve never really had a mentor, I’m not the kind of person who… everybody’s different, some people love having mentors but I was never, I was more an absorber of everybody, I spoke to everybody, even as a young lawyer, I was always trying to learn from other departments, doing different things and absorbing information.  Talking to everybody definitely, I’m much more interested in what people have to say than getting advice from people, I’m just much more interested in absorbing what they’re doing, what they’re saying, what people feel, rather than somebody giving me advice.  I’m not sure I really believe in advice that much, I think…

Elliot Moss

I must admit, I’m probably with you.  If someone asked me that question, I think I’d probably say the same thing.  I love to listen but like, I haven’t got a formal relationship like that with anyone.  But we’re going to be going live to Love Supreme here on Jazz FM very shortly.  What are you most looking forward to later today and on the Sunday?

Ciro Romano

Ah, later today, I’d say on the jazz side, Charles Lloyd, who obviously we always have one legend at the festival in the jazz world and he’s the one today.  So Charles Lloyd and definitely Erykah, you know, having the only show that Erykah is doing in the UK this year, she hasn’t played for about five years in the UK, it’s quite a special achievement for us to get, to finally get her.

Elliot Moss

Fantastic.  Listen, I am really looking forward to enjoying it.  I’m going to be there later as well.  I’m going to be there with at least one of my children and he’s a major fan of many of the acts so, phenomenal to be here with you, Ciro Romano.  Just before I let you go though, what’s your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Ciro Romano

So, my song choice is by The Fatback Band, it’s called Gotta Learn How to Dance and I chose it because a couple of weeks ago, I got a call, I was in my study and I got a call from Candi Staton’s agent, telling me that Candi wouldn’t be able to do the festival for reasons I don’t need to go into here and I bowed my head and I thought how am I going to get somebody to replace them in two weeks and I know everyone’s going to find this difficult to believe but on my Spotify at that time, this song was playing and I thought, well I wonder if, they’re from America, there’s no way they are going to be free but I went onto their website and I saw that they were in the UK and that that date was free, I emailed the agent right at that moment and said are they free on the 2 July, I made an offer and an hour later they confirmed so like literally, it’s the fastest I’ve ever replaced anyone in my life and it doesn’t happen very often so, and I love this song anyway, so that’s why I chose it. 

Elliot Moss

That was The Fatback Band with Gotta Learn How to Dance, the song choice of my Business Shaper, my Encore Special, Ciro Romano.  He talked about this, the Love Supreme Festival 2022 not being all his as it were and letting go as he saw it evolve in Japan and no doubt it will come up in other places.  What don’t I have?  That question he asked when he thinks about how he is going to deliver the idea that intrinsically involves doing other things, that will therefore involve collaboration.  It’s a really simple way of looking at the world.  And finally, how he comes to new ideas and that sense of being an absorber, someone that really listens, that exposes himself to new ideas.  That is a way to develop brand new thinking.  Great stuff.  That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers, have a wonderful summer. 

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers.  You’ll find hundreds of more guests available for you to listen to in our archive, to find out more just search Jazz Shapers in iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to Mishcon.com/JazzShapers.

Founded in 2013 and with an attendance of close to 50,000 each year at its East Sussex site, Love Supreme Jazz Festival is the first multi-day greenfield jazz festival in the UK and is often spoken of as one of Europe's leading jazz festivals. Nocturne Live, established in 2015 at the UNESCO world heritage site Blenheim Palace, is widely considered the premier stately home summer concert series in the UK, featuring artists such as Elton John, Ennio Morricone, Kylie and Noel Gallagher. Previously, Ciro worked as corporate lawyer (Clifford Chance) and was head of legal and business affairs at Universal Music International. 

Highlights

I think the pandemic made me even more focussed and determined to make the festival work - to have the best bill that we could and to sell as many tickets as possible. 

The pandemic made me more focused and determined to come back bigger and better.   

There’s still definitely a frisson of excitement, a hundred percent, especially with a crazy crowd - it’s still something really, really special. 

In last twenty years we’ve changed so much as a society. We’ve become more curious and more opinionated, more passionate, more informed, more activist, mostly as a result of the internet and social media. 

I think you have to keep to your vision, keep to your route and try not to be swayed too much by other people. 

I’ve never really had a mentor. I spoke to everybody, even as a young lawyer, I was always trying to learn from other departments, doing different things and absorbing information. 

I’m much more interested in what people have to say than getting advice from people, I’m just much more interested in absorbing what they’re doing, what they’re saying, what people feel, rather than somebody giving me advice. 

I feel that if you curate a festival well, if everything’s done properly, you don’t need to use exclamation marks because  the information that you’re conveying should be exciting enough without you having to tell the audience that they’re excited.   

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