I write this in the midst of a pandemic which has affected our lives like nothing we have previously experienced, but also on the anniversary of one of the most profound events in my lifetime – that of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in New York. In August 2001 I tendered my notice to my employer having decided to join forces with a former colleague and set up a new company dedicated to providing concert tours of excellence and creating for the new generation of young musicians wonderful memories as I have from my own touring days in the 1980s. Having made the decision, I ploughed my savings into this new venture: three days into trading at just after 2.00pm I watched, live, as flight UA 175 flew into the South Tower. It was a sobering moment and one which seemingly stemmed, if not extinguished, the new company’s flow. However, over the next few months I learned three things:
- However good your business plan, something beyond your control can alter its course
- You must always have a plan B
- The effects of such events mean that you need to take up a position from where you can push back against similar things in the future
We are in that position now, and I can tell you that M&T is in a position of strength. In March, before the Government had imposed lockdown to the UK, we recognised the very difficult situation that our UK clients (schools, music services, community ensembles) were in and contacted them to offer the option of deferring their planned 2020 tours to 2021 with a full credit of funds paid to date. This meant that they could focus on more pressing matters and, of course, also helped us to plan for a time when travel would become easier and we thank our customers for this support. All of us at M&T look forward to the time, hopefully very soon, when we can again realise the touring dreams of the many musicians, young and old, who travel with us.
Matthew Grocutt, Director