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Wembley Stadium’s music bookings chief to depart

Senior commercial manager James Taylor has revealed he will move on after the climax of the stadium's biggest summer of concerts yet

By James Hanley on 08 Jul 2022


Wembley Stadium’s senior commercial manager for concerts James Taylor has revealed he will depart the London venue later this year after overseeing a record summer of live music.

The national stadium set a new benchmark in 2019 by holding 14 gigs in the space of five weeks and is set to surpass that total this year.

Its extensive 2022 programme kicked off last month with Capital’s Summertime Ball, followed by two shows with Harry Styles and five nights with Ed Sheeran. Creating a second concert window to meet demand, it will also host Westlife (6 August), Coldplay (12-13, 16-17, 19-20 August) and the Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert (3 September).

“We still have one show to be announced and the shows that have happened have all been huge successes for the venue, artists and promoters,” he tells IQ. “The events need to work for all parties and that’s when you get true success. If it only works for the venue or the promoter, then you either don’t see the repeat booking or the venue wanting to work with that event again.

“The stadium is in a very good place with music now – all parties seem to be making it work.”

Taylor, who joined the 90,000-cap national stadium as commercial manager nine years ago, was promoted to run bookings for both sport and music in 2017.

“Music has a place right at the heart of Wembley”

“I was given a specific remit to increase the number of music shows and make them more profitable,” Taylor tells IQ. “We were averaging around seven shows a year and so have been very proud over the last two concert seasons – ignoring Covid years – to have packed our stadium with 14 and 17 shows respectively. It was the result of a strategy I thought long and hard over and required some difficult internal and external conversations.

“The 2019 concert window for me is my main highlight. We did seven shows in 2018 which was standard for the stadium and to grow that to 14 the following year through promoting collaboration between promoters and artists has played a part in setting up the multiple shows we see again in 2022 and will be the same in future summers I’m sure. Music has a place right at the heart of Wembley.

“The stadium is in a place now where they can capitalise on music content for many years to come. That what I’m most proud of – not simply coming in and continuing what was already being delivered, but making changes and moving things forward.”

Taylor, who will reveal his next move in the coming weeks, says the time felt right to head for pastures new.

“I have been at Wembley for nine years and I do feel the venue in terms of programming is in a good place and we have moved the bar up considerably,” he says. “I enjoy working in venues and so a combination of the right opportunity coming up and a desire for something fresh have both happened at the same time, fortunately for me.

“I will miss the stadium very much but look forward to returning as a fan and seeing who the future stars at Wembley will be.”

 


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