Liverpool Sound City CEO Dave Pichilingi has revealed how the event came to host The Velvet Underground founder member John Cale's only European show to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the band's legendary debut LP.
Following a live concert at the Philharmonie de Paris to celebrate 1967's The Velvet Underground & Nico, Cale has decided to perform the album in its entirety only twice more – in New York and Liverpool.
Cale will play on Friday (May 26) at a bespoke open-air stage in Clarence Dock, Liverpool, the city that the Wales-born musician sailed from where he left the UK.
"It came about because I have been friends with John and his manager for years," Pichilingi (pictured) told Music Week. "We brought John Cale to the city some years ago and I realised that it was the 50th anniversary of the album, so I spoke to his manager about the possibility of doing the show.
"We had some stiff competition from some very large venues and I’m pleased that he chose to do it with us."
Sound City festival - which marks its own 10th birthday this year - runs from May 25-28. The Human League, Metronomy and The Kooks will also play headline sets. The conference strand has grown from 250 people at the first event to close to 2,500 delegates this year, while around 40,000 fans are expected to attend the live music portion over four days, compared to 3,000 in 2007.
"Our vision was to champion emerging talent and to bring what we though were the coolest acts, and nothing has really changed," said Pichilingi. "Some years haven’t been as good as other years, but the intention has always been there.
"Linked into that, there’s the conference side of it. The conference has always been designed to inspire people - to inspire a new generation of bands, managers, labels, publishers. - and that has never really changed.”
Conference speakers include Sire Records legend Seymour Stein, Peaches, the MMF's Diane Wagg and Fiona McGugan, See Tickets' Martin Fitzgerald, the BBC's Roger Hill and Nicky Bignell, Sentric's Simon Pursehouse, Adam Webb of the FanFair Alliance, MP Nigel Adams and Ammo Talwar of Punch Records.
We have purposely stopped the conference from growing any further over the past two to three years because I think, if you grow these things too much, they become a little bit too impersonal,” said Pichilingi.
"The biggest challenges for everyone is the crowdemarket place at the moment. When we set up Sound City 10 year ago, there was also The Great Escape within our time frame, and doing what we do. Since then, there are so many new competitors. The biggest challenge is to keep it fresh, energised, relevant to excite people. To give people what they want and not what you think they want."
He added: “I have been very excited about our conference this year. In the world that we are living in where you have Trump, and maybe a new Thatcher on the way., there are very few bands that have been rallying against that.
"We are trying to inspire that spirit of revolution in our conference this year. We are looking over some of the greatest revolutionary moments in British rock'n'roll - the first British invasion, punk-rock, acid house and compare it with Grime today - and hopefully, inspire a new breed of kids.”