What We Are and What We Do

Our full title is Contemporary Music Events and Artists Services. The 'CME' bit was originally 'Chicago Music Explosion' because that was where the agency’s UK founder Ben Ruth was originally based and where it started by introducing some of the superb contemporary musical talent of Chicago to the shores of the UK. That, of course, required UK work permits and this was originally sourced through a third party until Mr. Ruth moved back to the UK in 2005 and formally created the UK company in early 2006.

From 2006 and 2013 CMEAS ran two UK music tours twice a year and these were open to acts from around the world.

Since starting the Lancaster Music Festival in 2009, which grew rapidly every year, it became increasingly difficult to run the UK tours and these were finally discontinued in 2013.

Also, since the points based system in immigration was introduced in late 2008 it became economically feasible for our agency to start increasing the assistance to other acts and promoters involved in the international music scene in the UK as we had built up considerable experience in understanding the requirements and challenges of work permits for the arts.

Now, although still very much involved in the international component of the Lancaster Music Festival, the work permit side of our agency (technically Tier 5 Certificates of Sponsorship, or CoS) has became the main focus of what we do. Since about 2013 we have worked with all of the creative sectors in Tier 5 sponsorship, not just music.

We can process permits fast if need be and at a highly competitive cost. See our work permit page for more information and our contact page if you have any queries.

What we don't do:

We don't book acts other than on our festival or on an exchange but we can assist them if they are applying for work permits.

We don't book unilateral tours, i.e. if you are an excellent band and want us to book you a tour we will refuse unless you are offering something in exchange. The word 'exchange' is key. See partnership proposal.

This might seem harsh but we have our own band, three other bands we book regularly, the guy who runs this (me) also coordinates festivals (and answers your emails personally). We get about 100 emails a week from acts not on our roster who have not taken the time to understand what we do (and don't do) and want us to book them a tour. If you don't have something to offer in return please don't ask us to book you (and then you won't be offended).

When we promote an event that is the event. There are no other bookings associated with it unless they are specifically mentioned in the promotion.

We might consider helping you more if:

  1. you apply for one of our events, become selected and / or do a superb job on our circuit (e.g. Big Baby Ernie, Wabash Cannoballs) or
  2. you offer us a partnership, e.g. a number of gigs on your own circuit for one of the acts on our roster in return for which they (or us) will return the favour.

Who we are

We are musicians who understand the frustrations involved in travelling and playing music, especially internationally. We have our own band The Convulsions and it's mainly that band's gig base (where we cacts. Originally based in Chicago the founder of CMEAS, Ben Ruth, moved back to Britain in 2005 and re-registered the company in the UK to be able, among other things, to process work permit applications for highly talented international acts wanting to play in the UK, to take first hand control over our band's UK based booking, to start running music events and festivals and to establish his own act in the UK. We would like to increase international collaborations between talented musicians globally.

*If you are an act requiring a UK work permit go to our work permit page or email us at workpermits@cmeas.com.

If you need to expedite a work permit please text 'work permit' to the work permit hotline: 07908 495549 (NOTE this number is for no other use). See Work Permits (Tier 5) Directions for more information and permit fees