Board Members

The Liverpool City Region Music Board is made up of 22 members and 8 observers from across the music industry. Our members are listed below.

Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic

Michael Eakin OBE

Michael Eakin has been Chief Executive of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic since 2008. The organisation includes the award-winning Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and associated ensembles and choirs, a substantial music learning and education programme, and Liverpool Philharmonic Hall.

Michael joined Liverpool Philharmonic from Arts Council England, with whom he had been Executive Director North West since 2001. Previously, he was Director of Arts and Leisure for Reading Borough Council, with a portfolio including the arts and theatre, libraries, museums and archives, sport and leisure, and tourism.

His initial career was in theatre and concert hall management, including several years as Director of the presenting theatre and concert hall, The Hexagon, Reading. Here he programmed across several art forms including orchestral and popular music, theatre, opera, and dance. He also led the establishment in Reading of the UK's major annual world music festival, the WOMAD Festival, in partnership with the WOMAD organisation; and the renovation and re-opening of the 19th Century Reading Concert Hall.

He is a former Chair of the Association of British Orchestras and a former Vice President of the Theatrical Management Association (now UK Theatre).

In 2023 Michael was being awarded an OBE in The King’s New Year’s Honours list for services to music and to the community in Liverpool.

Managing Director of Sound City

Rebecca Ayres

Rebecca Ayres is Managing Director of Sound City, which is the UK's leading independent festival for new music. Hosting hundreds of artists performing to an audience of over 20,000 music fans and 2,000 industry professionals from 37 different countries, it offers controversial debate, unparalleled networking, amazing music, outstanding art, throughout three inspirational days and hedonistic nights, in the world’s most legendary music city. Other Sound City events include New York Sound City, Sound City Korea, Off the Record - Manchester, Sounds of the Xity: China (in partnership with Modern Sky Entertainment). In 2016 Sound City received investment from Modern Sky, China's largest entertainment company which led to the set-up of a sister company, Modern Sky UK. Modern Sky UK works with artists including Slow Readers Club, The Blinders, Calva Louise, No Hot Ashes, SPINN, Beyond Average, Red Rum Club, and Catholic Action. Rebecca is passionate about emerging talent succeeding and one of the favourite parts of her role is overseeing the international and emerging artist programme. She also runs the Sound City Entrepreneur Training Programmes which are aimed at anyone who has a burning desire to work in the music industry and board member of the UK Association of Independent Festivals.

Creative Consultant

Yaw Owusu

Yaw Owusu is a Liverpool-based creative consultant who specialises in the strategic design, development and delivery of music and music culture projects, programmes and initiatives that deliver long-term impact for creatives, brands, organisations and communities. He believes that the empowerment and platforming of under-represented voices, cultures and stories strengthens and bolsters the art, media and culture we consume.

Yaw has worked with the likes of Google, MTV, BET, MOBO, BBC, Universal Music Group, Levi’s, Liverpool Football Club, The Fader, Bauer, Diageo and more. He has also helped launch the careers of multiple artists and has produced several acclaimed radio, television and documentary projects for the likes of BBC Radio and TV, Spotify and more.

Yaw is considered a change maker in the UK music industry - working both regionally and nationally to disrupt the imbalance that exists in order to make a more equitable industry for all. This can be seen through his groundbreaking work with projects such as Google’s Union Black, POWER UP, LIMF Academy, Open Sauce and Liverpool Against Racism (first city-wide festival of its kind in the world).

Head of Skills and Development at Future Yard

Cath Hurley

Cath Hurley is Head of Skills and Development at new Birkenhead music venue, FUTURE YARD. This includes overseeing Future Yard’s programme for children and young people, alongside PROPELLER which is an in-depth artist membership scheme helping talented musicians professionalise. Cath is committed to ensuring that FUTURE YARD is a true community venue and fulfils the needs of those that need it the most.

Cath also manages three local emerging acts and tries to be a positive and supportive voice in the music community. She is also a regular assessor of PRS Foundation’s Momentum Fund amongst others.

Previous to this, Cath taught music business at LIPA for five years following a stint as product manager at Rough Trade Records. For a number of years before this, Cath specialised in online PR, digital marketing and social media management working with brand new acts through to well-known pop stars.

Lecturer at the University of Liverpool

Mathew Flynn

Dr Mathew Flynn is a Senior Lecturer in Music Industries at the University of Liverpool (UoL) and Director of the Institute of Popular Music (IPM).

Before joining UoL, he taught music business and professional development on the BA Music degree at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA).

Prior to teaching in higher education, Mat worked as a mentor on the New Deal for Musicians programme, and before and during that time was also a self-employed practitioner in the music industries, owning rehearsal rooms and an independent record label. In 2020 he was awarded a PhD for research that explored how UK based musicians make creative and career based decisions. He has (co)authored numerous research articles, book chapters and reports on the music industries, covering topics such as the impact of the pandemic on the LCR’s music sector, the education of copyright, audiences engagement with streaming, and musicians decision-making.

His work with the Board has seen Mat deliver and maintain the LCRs Live Music Map and the Venues Sub Group Blog, develop the business case, research, and coordinate the working group that delivered the return of N1 Night Bus in 2023, in conjunction with the Black Music Action Group produce the ReMap report in 2024, and he is currently developing a map of the LCR’s entire music sector.

Deputy Director of The Museum of Liverpool (National Museums Liverpool)

Paul Gallagher

Paul joined National Museums Liverpool (NML) in 1986 and has enjoyed a wide and varied career across the museum sector.

His first museum role was in film and sound production within exhibitions across NML. In 2004, he became Concept Developer for the Museum of Liverpool (MoL) before becoming NML's first Curator of Contemporary Collecting in 2005; specialising in music, sport and popular cultures.

Paul was a key member of the team that delivered The Beat Goes On in 2008; the first major exhibition and exploration of the city's musical heritage and reputation. He was lead curator and co-Ordinator of the Wondrous Place gallery in the Museum of Liverpool, which opened in 2011. This gallery celebrated the city's creative identity and, with a major focus on music, included The Beatles immersive experience, In the Town Where I Was Born.

He has continued to lead and contribute to many music related exhibitions and projects within NML; collaborating with music industry creatives to deliver live music events in the museums, the exhibition Double Fantasy - John & Yoko and the recent Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band - immersive experience.

Paul is currently Deputy Director of Museums at NML. He is also a member of the city's Beatles Legacy Group.

Founder and Director at Future Yard CIC

Craig Pennington

Craig is a Founder and Director at Future Yard CIC; a Community Music Venue and Music Sector Skills Hub located in Birkenhead, Wirral.

Future Yard thinks about music differently; as a transformative opportunity.
Future Yard’s model reimagines a Community Music Venue as a space for dynamic social change, providing skills and training opportunities for young people, creative and community development alongside a live programme blending international touring artists with emerging local talent.
Craig has been active in shaping policy approaches to music in the region for many years. He authored ‘Liverpool, Music City?’ with LJMU in 2017 and is a member of the Liverpool City Region Music Board.

Before Future Yard, Craig established Bido Lito! - The Liverpool Music Magazine - a publication and creative agency at the forefront of new music on Merseyside for 11 years, providing a vital platform for the region’s emerging new artists.

Craig is also one of the founders of Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia, the leading event of its kind in Europe which was named ‘Best Small Festival’ at the 2015 NME Awards.

Creative Director and Music Manager of Sense of Sound Singers

Jennifer John

Jennifer John is an award winning choral composer, vocal coach (specialising in artistic development) and music mentor. With a long a varied international history of working within the commercial music sector and strategist and performer and having worked intensively within community education, diversity and equality are at the heart of all of of her work. This has impacted local and national infrastructure around multiculturalism and gender equality.

As a vocal coach on ITV's The Voice and The Voice Kids, Jennifer has an outstanding career working with 1000s of young, emerging and successful artists within schools, specialist performance colleges and internationally renowned institutions and conservatoires.

As the Creative Director and Manager of the vocal ensemble Sense of Sound Singers, she has ensured that they been the choir of choice to perform with: Damon Albarn, Take That, Jo Bon Jovi, Cream Classical, Yoko Ono, Roger Waters, Russell Watson, Seal, Paloma Faith, NIle Rodgers & Chic, Natalie McCool, Blossoms, Shlomo, Brian Eno, Massive Attack, Space, The Christians, Cast, Michael Head and The Red Elastic Band and so many more....

Her biggest achievement to date was receiving a Pioneer for The Nation award in acknowledgement for her contribution to community choir development on Merseyside.

Chief Executive of Sentric Music

Chris Meehan

Chris Meehan founded Sentric Music whilst at university in 2006, developing the powerful technology at the core of the indie publisher’s operations. Today, that software drives an administration system which handles more than 1m copyrights across the world.

In the 12 years since its formation, Meehan has built Sentric into an award-winning publisher that represents more than 150,000 songwriters and licenses music directly in over 100 countries. The company employs more than 75 people across its Liverpool headquarters and offices in London, Amsterdam, Hamburg and New York and LA.

Meehan has personally struck deals with a range of leading music companies all over the globe and currently sits on the boards of a number of influential advisory groups in the music publishing world. Meehan has raised in excess of £5m for companies and fuelled growth via international expansion and acquisitions.

He has appeared in Music Week’s 30 Under 30 and Music Business Worldwide’s Young Executive list for 2015.

CEO & Artistic Director of Milap

Alok Nayak

Alok is currently CEO & Artistic Director of Milap, an international Indian Arts and Culture Company, based in Liverpool. He is responsible for the leadership, strategic and artistic direction of the organisation, delivering a long-term plan for Indian arts. Alok is an experienced professional and cultural leader, with specialist skills in artist development and mentoring, production and curation, and is currently in the final stages of PhD research on Indian music in Britain. His Milap role focuses on creating pathways for young artists, producing new music performances and events, and in creating projects and programmes that help people of all backgrounds understand, enjoy and appreciate Indian arts.

Following university qualifications in languages, literature, politics and public administration, Alok began a career in the arts, a creative industry in which he could pursue his passion to help make a difference to people's lives.

Founded in 1985, Milap’s mission is to Inspire, educate and entertain people of all backgrounds. Milap’s ethos is expressed best through these words ‘Uniting Hearts Through Arts’, as they use performances, events and projects to try to bring people together, give them amazing experiences, and send them away happy. Milap runs a varied national performance programme, an academy for emerging artists, and various strategic programmes to develop Indian arts. It is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation and a registered charity.

Artist Manager at Positive Impact

Barbara Phillips

Barbara Phillips became a professional singer at the age of 16 in Liverpool female vocal harmony band Distinction. She has written and composed 2 original musicals – ‘Misunderstood?’ performed at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool and Contact Theatre Manchester – and ‘Brand New World’ which was staged at the Edinburgh Festival. Barbara also spent two years as a Television Scriptwriter for Brookside.

Barbara is currently the Artist Manager of Positive Impact - a community training and development organisation for young people wishing to get involved in the performing arts. Developing local young talent is a passion – Positive Impact helps to recognise, develop and support talented young people and emerging musicians providing a springboard for young emerging talent from the local community. Through strategic planning and by developing partnerships with mainstream music organisations, Positive Impact has been able to open doors and influence in the support of musical development.

A number of young people who trained at Positive Impact have gone on to forge successful careers in the mainstream music industry signing publishing and record deals with Universal and Atlantic Records whilst also touring nationally and internationally - two of whom, local singer Esco Williams and Vocal Harmony group MiC LOWRY who Barbara co-manages have gone on to win MOBO Awards as Emerging Artists.

Chair of LCR Music Education Alliance

Ian Thomas

With over 20 years' experience within music education, Ian is currently the global Head of Evaluation for Arts for the British Council working with international partners overseeing the evaluation of the British Council's global arts programmes and the current chair of the Merseyside Music Education Hub Alliance working across 6 local authorities to develop their music education opportunities for young people from across Merseyside.

Previous to his work with the British Council, Ian worked for Telford & Wrekin Council as their lead for Music Education, leading the award winning Telford & Wrekin Music Education Hub, the development of their In Harmony programme with the CBSO and Manchester Camerata, Creative Employment Programme, their Musical Communities programme working across 4 local authorities in the West Midlands and building an international partnership with other music education programmes in Europe and Canada. Ian has served on previous boards such as Make Some Noise, Arts Connect and Disability Arts Shropshire. and has published articles on music education and arts and soft power. Ian is a graduate of both Liverpool and Durham Universities.

Commercial Director at The ACC Liverpool Group

Ben Williams

Ben Williams is Commercial Director at The ACC Liverpool Group, operators of Destination Venue ACC Liverpool, home to BT Convention Centre, M&S Bank Arena and Exhibition Centre Liverpool and ticketing agency Ticket Quarter.

As commercial director, Ben's role includes developing the overall commercial strategy for The ACC Liverpool Group. He oversees the commercial and sponsorship, marketing, sales and ticketing teams across all markets in which the company operates.

Ben joined from SMG Europe where, as general manager, he led the team that launched the first direct Arena in Leeds five years ago. Prior to this, he was commercial and marketing director at Manchester Arena and previously a head of sponsorship and promotions for Capital Radio Group.

Ben has worked within the music industry and across both small and large scale venues for many years and has knowledge and experience of working with many local and national promoters, agents and managers.

Yousef, International DJ and founder of Circus Music


Regarded as one of the world’s foremost electronic music artists, Yousef first stepped up to the decks over 20 years ago, becoming an iconic industry figure, dance music leader and visionary.

His commitment to house and techno has seen him criss-cross the globe, playing standout sets at an exhaustive list of the world’s most influential clubs, including; Fabric (London), Space, DC-10 and Amnesia (Ibiza) and Watergate (Berlin).

Yousef, and business partner Richard, are the brains behind Liverpool’s well-known event, Circus, (est 2002), which is known for bringing in the world’s biggest DJs, such as; Carl Cox, Adam Beyer and Loco Dice to name a few. They have since set up the Circus Recordings label.

In October 2020 Yousef was personally requested for a private audience with ‘HRH Prince William’, and later the cross party MP’s, as a representative to relay the difficulties dance music is facing as a result of Covid-19; collaboratively finding solutions to support the industry.

Yousef's Circus event recently hosted ‘The First Dance’; the UK’s first club event since Covid struck, which captured the attention of the entire world and has been cited as ‘the most significant global news story since electronic music begun’.

Mezzo Soprano & Creative Producer

Jennifer Johnston

Jennifer Johnston is a distinguished performer in opera, concert and recital. Winner of multiple awards including the Royal Philharmonic Society Singer of the Year and Gramophone’s Recording of the Year, she is a former BBC New Generation Artist. Her debut solo album ‘A Love Letter To Liverpool’ (Rubicon Classics) features the iTunes No.1 hit single ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir, for whom she was their Artist In Residence.

She has sung leading roles at the Bayerische Staatsoper, La Scala, the Salzburg Festival, Glyndebourne Festival, and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence and appears with many of the world’s most distinguished orchestras and conductors, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw and Cleveland. She is a creative producer for the London Transport Museum, a contributing writer and commentator on the arts for the Guardian, Opera Now, the Stage, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3, Classic FM and Times Radio.

Managing Director of Adlib

Andy Dockerty

Having worked with bands since the age of 16, Andy formed Adlib 7 years later, with the assistance of the government backed Enterprise Allowance Scheme in 1984. By the end of the '80s Andy was regularly touring the UK, mixing front of house sound for many Liverpool bands of the time including; The Real People, 35 Summers, 16 Tambourines and a plethora of other local artists.

In the '90s and early '00s Andy’s reputation as a FOH sound engineer grew, as did the reputation of Adlib as an audio rental company. Throughout this period Andy toured the world mixing sound for bands such as; Texas, Del Amitri, Scissor Sisters and Kaiser Chiefs. Simultaneously, Adlib secured contracts for worldwide artists, with the ultimate recognition coming in 2003 when Adlib supplied the audio systems and technicians across the UK and Europe for David Bowie’s Reality Tour.

Since 2010, Andy has spent more time in Liverpool working with the teams at Adlib to develop the sales, installations, video, lighting and rigging departments, with Adlib now being the largest independent audio rental house in the UK, as well as a leading full production supplier. In recent years Andy has overseen the development of the internal Adlib Training programme that has become world renowned.

Andy is also a founding member of the #wemakeevents campaign which aims to gain recognition and support for the live events sector.

Chief Executive of Spaine Music Company

Les Spaine

Les Spaine was one of the most important British club DJ’s of the 70s and is well known for having made a considerable contribution to the black music scene in the country.

Les has gone on to found and lead Spaine Music; one of Europe’s leading live agency and management companies representing major artists.

In the 70s he had DJ residencies at iconic venues including; The Pun Club and the legendary Timepiece Club in Liverpool, before moving onto a career in the music industry working for EMI, Motown and Capital Records.

In the 70’s and 80’s he worked with legends such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Ritchie, The Commodores, Rick James, Jermaine Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Billy Preston, Syreeta and many more before transitioning to Capital Records.

Here he continued working with industry leaders such as Melba Moore, David Bowie, Tina Turner, Frankie Beverley as well as Maze, Dr Hook, Kraftwork, Bob Segar & The Silver Bullet Band, and Ashford & Simpson to name a few.

Project Manager at The Studio

Louise Nulty

Louise has been the Project Manager at The Studio for LOOSE since 2012.

The aim of the charity is to remove barriers to the arts in Halton, and The Studio itself is a community venue with 300 capacity performance space, 3 rehearsal rooms and a recording studio.

Louise believes that emerging artists should be able to have a career in the place they grew up in, whilst knowing they are good enough to be successful anywhere. She has managed numerous arts projects and attracted funding from The Big Lottery, Reaching Communities, European Social Fund and Peoples Health Lottery.

A professional actor and director, Louise has been involved with community arts in the North West for over 25 years and is also chair of Halton Housing Customer Forum, Secretary of Victoria Park Environment Team, Mentor for Arts Emergency and is working with March For The Arts on the Freelance Working Agreement committee.

Radio Broadcaster and Music Industry Lecturer

Nina Kehagia

A radio broadcaster for award-winning radio station Resonance 104.4 FM, as well as a researcher, writer, producer, and host of cultural/educational events.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Sonic Arts and a Masters in Music Industry Studies, Nina often lectures on topics such as; music management, music careers, how to run an independent record label, and popular music history. Since September 2018 Nina has also been employed as a mentor and coach to early-career music professionals, and is the education manager for UK North.

Nina’s work includes various residencies and partnerships as a DJ, curator, and industry speaker, with high-profile guest speakers and collaborators including; Matthew Herbert, Daniel Miller, Kate Simko, Dr. Susan Rogers, Laurent Garnier, Richie Hawtin and Georgia Taglietti (

Nina has had long-lasting professional collaborations with high-profile festivals and organisations such as Sonar/Sonar+, CTM Festival, Primavera Sound, Mute Records, and Kings Place, Fabric.

Nina has hosted panels and events supporting the LGBTQ community, involving various acclaimed promoters such as Dan Beaumont, musicians such Toya Delazi, and collectives such as Horse Meat Disco.

Managing Director of 24 Kitchen Street

Saad Shaffi

Managing Director and owner of 24 Kitchen Street, founded in 2013. Saad, along with partners including a childhood and University friend, founded 24 Kitchen Street by delivering a programme of music generally unrepresented in Liverpool including; UK Bass, Garage, Drum and Bass, Rap and Grime. Accessibility for all is a key component of 24 Kitchen St’s door policy, which does not discriminate entry based on attire or race.

24 Kitchen Street has worked with Redbull Music, Sound City, LIMF, Resident Advisor and Africa Oye; international collectives such as Critical Music, Discwoman and Ilian Tape; as well as local record labels and promoters including Meine Nacht, M62 and many more.

Saad has played a significant role in the development of ‘The Baltic Weekender’, which is now in its 5th year, with partners Abandon Silence. The Festival has hosted internationally acclaimed artists, such as Stefflon Don, Ghetts, Aitch, Goldie, Egyptian Lover.

Saad is also an advisor on the PRS Foundation's Power Up initiative, and has started a new event with local media platform Culture Deck, reviving the Merseyside Caribbean Carnival for the first time in decades.

Music Consultant and Artist Manager

Mike Walsh

Music Consultant and Artist Manager, with decades of experience in broadcast, digital, and music businesses. Mike has been a Mercury Prize judge for the past four years, he is a member of War Child UK Music Board and Help Musicians Creative Advisory Board, and in his last full-time role he contributed to record results for Radio X (previously XFM), where he was part of the management team from 2005.

Mike’s current clients include; artists, managers, record labels, tech and festival companies, venues, charities, D2C, music start-ups, professional coaching, apparel brands and book publishers.

At Radio X, Mike hired and managed some of the biggest names in UK radio and provided first airplay or playlists to artists including; Adele, The xx, Mumford & Sons, Lana Del Rey, Biffy Clyro, Courteeners, The 1975, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Gerry Cinnamon.

Mike has also staged award-winning live events with household names like Noel Gallagher, Liam Gallagher, Florence and The Machine, Ed Sheeran, Kings of Leon, Muse, George Ezra, Kasabian, Richard Ashcroft, Snow Patrol, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Paul Weller.

Mike worked in TV and radio promotions at Parlophone Records in the late '90s where his roster included Coldplay, Radiohead, Paul McCartney, Supergrass, The Beastie Boys, Queen, Pet Shop Boys and Blur.