Public Address hire, Sound Engineer, Festival Organiser, Recording Producer, Recording mix engineer, Compere, Site Manager, Production Manager, Tour Manager, Agent, Artist Manager,

1981 – 2021

The name ‘Spadger’ came to encompass a number of connecting activities, across many joined up businesses. Formed in 1981, as a rehearsal and recording setup, it quickly burgeoned into P.A. Hire – Spadger Sound Services and Event and Festival management- Spadger Productions.

Over the 40 years the operation was working, a number of dedicated people helped cement the Spadger name as a business that could be relied on, with competent, professional staff looking after whatever was needed.

This overview of an number of the operations John and the crew delved into helps define the varied work!

John formed SPADGER RECORDING STUDIO, ( then SPADGER SOUND SERVICES /SPADGER PRODUCTIONS and finally becoming,) in 1981,and has been involved in the events industry since then.
Initially a recording and studio operator, he has gone on to become one of Britains leading live sound engineers, working for some of the worlds’ top artists and festivals.
He also presumes to know about producing records and includes the No 1 folk chart album by Band of Hope (Rhythm and Reds) alongside others inc. Thulbion, Jamie Smith’s MABON and Alistair Hulett and Dave Swarbrick in his list of productions.
IN 1994 he created BRASS TACKS (with Kit Bailey)and built one of the U.K’s most vibrant, cutting edge ARTIST AGENCIES, touring artists including, Martin Carthy, Eliza Carthy, Nancy Kerr, Band of Hope, Shooglenifty, Dave Swarbrick, La Musgana, Diesel, Swap.
In 1996 John became managing agent for Celtic band Anam , a JVC artist, and built their career and touring schedule from scratch, touring them throughout the world.
He went on to manage U.K. roots bands Daily Planet and Carmina, before taking on the (now) mighty Jamie Smith’s MABON, and creating their worldwide success.

Between 2000 and 2006 John concentrated on running his sound company business and becoming a director (or co-director with Wicked Events) of various festivals (STROUD FRINGE FESTIVAL/JERSEY FESTIVAL OF WORLD MUSIC/STROUD BLUES AND BEYOND/ATMOSPHERE..) alongside being a touring engineer: the SPADGER company became one of the Sound suppliers of choice for folk and arts festivals through out the U.K.
Amongst his other ‘hats’ he has been a broadcaster, photographer (4 shows), compere, production manager, tour manager and folk club organiser.
In 2001,He also became site manager for the small but perfectly formed Priddy Folk Festival, in the Mendips, which he is still involved in.
He sold the P.A. business in 2006 to “get a life”​ and limit the 18 hour days!
From 2008, John became the managing agent for Welsh Celtic roots band Mabon, and Jamie Smith’s MABON – who ‘retired’ , twice, in 2020 and 2021!!

The meaning of ‘Spadger’? = it is the Shropshire name for ‘Sparrow’. The name came about from the drummer of the band i was playing with. On opening the door to the rehearsal space (a barn), a blizzard of small creatures would scuttle, fly, hop, creep or just faint in the seconds before entry, and cheeky chappie that he was, always noted, ‘the spadgers are in tonight’….. and as is the way of all things, the name stuck. (In Australia i am led to believe the term means something COMPLETELY different)

Along the way a number of delightful events have occurred, including being nominated for a ‘Grammy’ award for providing a live track for a nominated album by Anoushka Shankar. (Live at Carnegie Hall 2001) Recorded at Salisbury International Arts Festival – 4 years before we did the sound for her father Ravi in Salisbury Catherdral.

I have also had the greatest accolade of a Shetland tune being named after me – Thulbions’ – ‘Eeles Dream. I produced the album ‘Twilight Bound’ and glibly throttled a harmonica (for it is that!) across the mix from the control room whilst they played and they sprung this on me on the finished album – it was just a throwaway track we did in one take at the end of the session. I am forever grateful.

Jamie Smith – from Mabon – has also written a tune for one of my birthdays 🙂