Express & Star

'I used to be a car dealer but now I work with some of the top bands and artists in the business'

A night time venue is nothing without entertainment or the people who work to organise that entertainment.

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A good promoter can make a venue better through the quality of acts they bring in, as well as helping venues to put on big shows through their own hard work and personality.

Chris Hill has been one of the top promoters in the region for the last six years with his company Ace Promotions Wednesbury Ltd, operating out of the Sandwell town, but known across the country for the shows he puts on and the artists he has worked with.

These include bands such Dr Feelgood, the Damned, UB40, East 17, Boney M, Slade, Chas & Dave, Public Image Limited and The Real Thing and artists such as Billy Ocean, Leo Sayer, Alexander O'Neal, Rose Royce, Molly Hatchet, Robbie Craig and Dr John Cooper Clarke, to name but a few from a who's who of big names.

He said he had worked as a car dealer for years while doing the promotions business as a part time, contracted sideline, but decided to take the plunge into his own business in 2018 after a person he had worked with had left the industry.

He said: "It started back then as I was working with another entertainment promoter, but he finished doing what he was doing and I decided to carry on from where he left as I was working with the same bands and venue and agents that he was using.

Chris Hill has worked across the country with a huge array of artists

"I'm 64 now and I've been in the industry in some way since I was 20 when I worked with the Beacon Radio Roadshow with a DJ I knew back in the day and I did all this while I had a proper job, working with a Ford dealers for 20 years, then running my own car sales business.

"Out of the blue, I met this bloke who asked me about events as he was promoting in Brighton and invited me to one of his shows in Bilston, with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, and afterwards, he offered me work, which I decided to do as the car business was getting a bit tedious and I then started doing more and more."

Since beginning his own business, Mr Hill said it had been hard work, but had been very rewarding and listed some of the highlights, artists he'd worked with and places he'd promoted at.

He said: "I'm probably the only promoter in the Black Country who has had fish and chips with Ben E King, which was unique, and I've lucky to work with loads of different people, such as Shalamar, the Damned, the Real Thing and Odyssey.

"I also did something with the Only Fools and Horses cast last year at three venues across the country and we've worked as far out as Weymouth, Glasgow, Brighton, Bournemouth, Margate, Bristol, Chesterfield, Burnley and Blackburn, so we've travelled a bit."

Chris Hill has worked with artists such as the Damned and Odyssey and does lots of work with Buster Bloodvessel from Bad Manners

The Ace Promotions Wednesbury Ltd website has a statement about its work which says: "We pride ourselves in presenting top class live music and theatre shows at venues ranging in capacity from 250 to 2000 featuring both original artists and top tier tribute bands all around the UK.

"We cater for all genres of music ranging from Soul and Ska shows to full blown Rock Concerts.

"We hope to see you down the front at one of our shows very soon."

Chris Hill said the message was one he truly believed in, saying that he loved to see people enjoying themselves and seeing bums on seats.

He said: "I get satisfaction from seeing people in the places and just keeping the music alive as some of these old acts have been around 40 or 50 years and they're still going and the music is iconic.

Chris Hill said the biggest joy for him came from seeing full venues

"That's what drives me on and makes me want to put the best acts on for people."

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