Current & Past Opportunities Click here to obtain Tier 5 Work Permits



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.

Since last 2013 we've been concentrating on the increasingly succesful Lancaster Music Festival which brings in tens of thousands of festivalgoers into Lancaster, UK (the original Lancaster!) every year. We can actually book far more acts in this festival than we ever could running even two tours a year. Sadly, because the festival takes a year to plan we no longer have time to run our two UK tours (the last was in 2013).

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) for international acts touring in the UK. 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 do 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). See partnership proposal for more information.

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 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 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 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.

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