The MOBO Awards may have originated in London but for four out of the last seven years they have been hosted in Glasgow – and 2016 was no exception.
In recent years high-profile events like the MOBOs – “Music of Black Origin” – have started to look beyond the capital in an attempt to win new audiences and broaden appeal. The Turner Prize taking place in Glasgow last year is just one example.
The city has in fact proved to be a very good fit for the MOBOs; it has undoubtedly had a bigger piece of the action than most other UK cities looking to host the awards, which were established in 1996 by Kanya King and Andy Ruffell.
When I speak to Anna Chapman-Andrews, Head of Marketing & Comms for MOBO, she explains the appeal of city for the awards, which took place on November 4 at the SSE Hydro.
“There’s a real affection for the awards in Glasgow – we’ve even had the taxi drivers saying how great they are, which is lovely,” she said. “The whole city has made us feel very welcome, actually.”
She says the association with the city has even coincided with a rise in international artist bookings; but it’s the venue – the Hydro – which seems to have made a very deep impression on Chapman-Andrews herself, who is in her first year with the organisation.
“It’s just a beautiful building. We had the first multi-artist show there in 2013 and I think it just works really well as a space.”
This year, 40 students an events management course at the University of the West of Scotland were able to get involved on the night, as part of a work experience placement.
Chapman-Andrews said it’s part of the MOBOs’ attempts to encourage young people into the creative industries.
Organisers also worked with the local events supply chain: Blue Parrot Company supplied all of the event’s decor, letters, table art and ‘magic mirrors’ and MacGregor & MacDuff supplied the kilts. Hosts Rickie & Melvin even took to the stage wearing their Scottish attire.
As to whether the awards will come back to Glasgow next year, Chapman-Andrews says it’s too early to say as a decision has not yet been made.
“I imagine we will come back to Scotland – it was part of the original strategy to move around. We’re in the process of evaluation at the moment and a decision on where to go next will be made following that.”