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Teenage Cancer Trust concerts break charity record

This year's Royal Albert Hall concert series raised more than £2 million for the charity for the first time in its 24-year history

By James Hanley on 22 May 2024

The Who with Eddie Vedder


image © John Stead

This year’s Teenage Cancer Trust concert series raised more than £2 million for the charity for the first time in its 24-year history.

Held at London’s Royal Albert Hall from 18-24 March, the 2024 series marked the final week of shows with Roger Daltrey as curator.  The lineup included three nights of celebrations of Daltrey himself, including two nights with The Who and an orchestra, and Ovation – A Celebration of 24 Years of Gigs For Teenage Cancer Trust.

The latter night featured many of those who helped establish the gigs as a celebrated annual event such as Daltrey, Kelly Jones, Robert Plant with Saving Grace, Pete Townshend, Eddie Vedder and Paul Weller.

The week also saw headline performances by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Young Fathers and Chemical Brothers, as well as a Night of Comedy.

“Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have tirelessly built up these concerts annually for 24 years and when they started by telling me they wanted to bring their orchestrated Who show to the Royal Albert Hall, we knew we were off to a strong start,” says Rob Ballantine, director at SJM Concerts with responsibility for the shows.

“My fellow director Chris York has promoted The Chemical Brothers from the beginning and they wanted to end this tour cycle with Chris at the Hall. That was a major shift in direction for the venues normal talent and was such an incredible night it will live long in Albert Hall folklore! Noel Gallagher has supported the charity from day one and believes this year’s gig was one of his best in London ever due to the energy of the audience.

“This was the first time Young Fathers had set foot in the venue and they absolutely delivered! All seven nights sold out including the annual comedy night headlined by Kevin Bridges. The curtain came down with an Ovation to Roger Daltrey from Eddie Vedder, Paul Weller, Kelly Jones and Robert Plant all of whom have supported Roger from the start.”

“The stature of the artists ensured we could charge high ticket prices and customers supporting these shows understand there is a premium on the ticket”

Ballantine continues: “The stature of the artists ensured we could charge high ticket prices and customers supporting these shows understand there is a premium on the ticket as it’s a fundraising week. However, to ensure everyone got their money’s worth we also brought special guests such as Squeeze and Blossoms both of whom are headliners in their own right and we kept John Bishop as a surprise guest on the night.

“I believe there is a lot of returning business to these shows from both artists and audiences who both have a real affinity with the charity and its work for teenagers. I know they trust us to deliver a great line up and we are overwhelmed by the support from artists year after year. To break all records and raise over £2million for the charity is phenomenal and makes all the hard work worthwhile. We know since Covid the charity have been hit financially and these funds will be much needed.”

Daltrey, frontman of The Who and founder/curator of historic annual concert series, adds: “To find out that this year’s concerts in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust raised over £2 million for Teenage Cancer Trust was music to my ears. After 24 years of doing the concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, to make that much money in my final year as curator is really special. That’s all I wanted when I started these gigs – to make money and bring awareness to an important cause, which has shown what an amazing difference the people at Teenage Cancer Trust can make to a young person dealing with cancer. With a target of building 28 hospital units, I’ve completed the job I set out to do. We have built 28. I’m not going away from the Teenage Cancer Trust – we still have a lot more to do.

“I’ll continue working with them whilst someone else curates the Royal Albert Hall shows, I’ll make sure it’ll be in good hands. The money we raise during that week of gigs is vital to us. It changes people’s lives. Thank you to everyone who came and donated this year, and every year since we started in 2000 – what a ride it’s been.”

Since launching the series at the history London venue in 2000, Daltrey has persuaded superstars such as Paul McCartney, Oasis, Muse, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran, The Cure, Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Take That, to perform unique, one night only gigs to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust, generating more than £32 million from ticket sales in the process.

“We have secured three amazing global superstars to individually curate the next three years and they will have already started behind the scenes planning”

“What an incredible way to mark Roger’s final year curating these flagship fundraising gigs,” says Teenage Cancer Trust chief executive Kate Collins. “The terrific total raised has never been more needed. We rely on donations to make sure young people don’t face cancer alone and these funds will make a difference to teenagers and young people with cancer when they need it most.

“The phrase legend is over-used but totally applies to Roger and what he has achieved. We can’t thank him enough for all he has done over the last 24 years to make these gigs such a spectacular success. When he pulled together his friends for that first one-off gig in 2000, I don’t think anyone could have imagined what it would have grown into. There have been so many memorable moments and he’s inspired the music industry and music fans to change the lives of young people with cancer.”

She adds: “What hasn’t changed over the years is that young people with cancer need us in their corner – making sure they are not forgotten. Young people with cancer face unique challenges – from challenges accessing clinical trials through to the impact of cancer at a critical point in their lives, it is essential that they receive specialist care tailored to their unique needs.

“We’ve come a long way since that first gig but progress won’t continue without an organisation like Teenage Cancer Trust to fight for it. Roger’s achievement is about more than the money raised – it’s about the spotlight he has shone on the needs of young people with cancer and the difference this has made to thousands of young people’s lives over the years.”

James Ainscough OBE, chief executive of the Royal Albert Hall, adds: “It’s a huge honour to have hosted this incredible concert series for more than twenty years – one of the jewels in the crown of our programme, and such a privilege to support the mission of Teenage Cancer Trust. This year’s concerts felt particularly poignant with Roger stepping down after 24 glorious years, but we’re very excited to see how the series develops over the coming years.”

From 2025, Teenage Cancer Trust will work with a series of guest curators to take the shows forward. Next year’s shows will run from 24 to 30 March.

“With Roger standing down we face a new and exciting challenge,” concludes Ballantine. “We wanted to give the amazing opportunity to other artists to curate a week of shows at the best venue in the UK. We know it’s a challenge but for an artist to start with a blank canvas and bring together a week of shows reflecting the best of our industry and raise funds for such a worthy cause is an offer most will jump at.

“We have secured three amazing global superstars to individually curate the next three years and they will have already started behind the scenes planning. We are excited to reveal these annually when the shows go on sale. If there are any agents, managers, artists who would like to schedule a show for Teenage Cancer Trust at the Royal Albert Hall into their live calendar they are very welcome to contact us at SJM Concerts.”

 


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