What We Are and What We Do:
We are an agency run by musicians who ardently believe in a philosophy of musical collaboration between talented musicians wherever they are. Our full title is Contemporary Music Events and Artists Services. The 'CME' bit was originally 'Chicago Music Explosion' because that was where the agency was originally based and where it started by introducing some of the superb contemporary musical talent of Chicago to the shores of the UK.
We are now an incorporated and fully licensed UK based international music sponsoring organisation that provides UK work permits, specifically Tier 5 Sporting and Creative Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) not just for international acts touring in the UK but also all categories of work that fall under Tier 5 guidance*. We can process permits fast, at low cost and with a relatively modest amount of information on the part of the applicant. See our work permit page for more information and work permit directions for a printable document.
We are an EXCLUSIVE organisation championing a roster of excellent original secular music** open to all to apply and representing many genres and many countries. 'Exclusive' means just that - we only work with acts on our roster.
Any act wishing to be on our roster must apply for a peer review for a chance to be selected. This can be done in one of three ways: apply for an event, apply directly, or propose a well thought out partnership idea.
We also promote specific events not only to our artist roster but also to the vast international musical community (yes, that includes the UK and EU) usually through our USA Boston based partner Sonicbids.
We coordinate music and music promotion for festivals (see Lancaster Music Festival and Pewsey Festival) and in many cases have now started combining our band exchanges (see below) with festival coordination and partnering.
We actively promote two showcase UK tours a year lasting about ten days each (one in Spring and one in Autumn) that are open to any original secular acts from around the world to apply for.** We use these and similar events to recruit to our roster and broaden our partnership opportunities. We cover all expenses except international airfares (though we're always trying to find ways around that cost). We've been running the UK Autumn tour since 2001 and the UK Spring one since 2006 both without a break.
We partner with musicians interested in exchanging gigs (e.g. Cafe Bar 401 in Holland, Gandhi in Costa Rica, Wabash Cannonballs in Chicago, Big Walker in Sweden, Daze of Dawn in Spain). See partnership proposal for more information.
We book several venues on our circuit as and when those venues need our assistance (venue booking opportunities may or may not appear on this website but are always available to our artist roster).
We promote other events and bookings to acts on our roster that may not be listed on our website.
What we don't do:
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. However, if you are a member of our roster, we will gladly let you use our venue list (which conveniently has the styles of music appropriate to each venue too) and let you use us as a reference. At some point we hope to be able to offer our artist roster such a large number of exclusive booking opportunities that they can indeed 'join the dots' and make a tour out of them.
We might consider helping you more if a) 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 b) 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 can, we have no control over festivals that we don't run) that we share with other acts. 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 UK based booking, to start running music events and festivals and to establish his own act in the UK. We now aim to place the excellent acts on our roster in our venues, events and festivals in the UK and also start to increase international collaborations between talented musicians globally. In other words, we know what it's like, we care, we want to share. We also hate egotistical selfishness so if that's you, disguise it well please so we don't notice it! In the end, it's the music that counts.
*If you are an act requiring a UK work permit go to our work permit page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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. We have a 100% success rate for bringing Tier 5 workers into the UK and have been awarded a Grade A Level rating by the UK Border and Immigration Agency. The following job types are covered by Tier 5 Sporting and Creative Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS): Artists, Authors, writers, Actors, entertainers, Dancers and choreographers, Musicians, Arts officers, producers and directors, Designers, graphic, Designers, product clothing and related, Journalists, newspaper and periodical editors, Broadcasting associate professionals, Photographers and audio-visual equipment operators, Sports players, Sports coaches, instructors and officials, Fitness instructors, Sports and fitness occupations n.e.c.
**Secular means non-religious. If you are a Christian rock band, a holy hip hop band, and you still apply we'll take your money and put it to a spiritual cause, if you're an old time gospel act we'll refund you or get you a well deserved gig - yes, this is bias but it's our bias and our audience. Peace.