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Artists weigh in on cost of living crisis

A slate of artists have capped the prices of their tickets or merchandise in a bid to help fans in the UK weather the cost of living crisis.

BRIT Award-winning singer Tom Grennan has been praised by fans and artists alike for the price of tickets for his 2023 UK tour, which went on sale last week.

The 10-date outing kicks off in March next year, visiting arenas in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow, Nottingham, Manchester, Brighton, Plymouth and London.

Face-value tickets to see Grennan at The O2 in London range from £25 to £40, with one fan tweeting that it is “The cheapest I’ve seen for a mainstream radio-played artist in a long time”.

Grennan replied: “Trust me we’ve worked hard to pull the cost of tickets down, and dismissed all VIP and platinum ticket options as it’s just ‘bollox’ in the middle of a cost of living crisis. The pinch is real, and I take it very seriously. Others should take note.”

One artist to laud the decision was Paul Heaton (Housemartins, The Beautiful South) who replied to Grennan: “That’s brilliant Tom! Hopefully other artists of your generation will realise, like you have, that this is going to really hit people hard.”

Heaton and fellow The Beautiful South member Jacqui Abbott last week went on BBC Breakfast to explain how they have capped tickets for their own arena tour with Billy Bragg at just £30.

“I’m against greed in the industry,” Heaton said, adding: “It’s incredibly important that through the coming months and possibly years, that we tell the fans that we’re getting paid enough and we want to keep it low for you.”

Ed Sheeran and his team took a similar approach after the pandemic, with agent Jon Ollier (One Finiix Live) telling IQ: “We’ve frozen the ticket prices from last [tour], because of everything the world’s been through.”

Other acts have taken different approaches to helping fans during the cost-of-living crisis, with Japanese-British performer Rina Sawayama partnering with food bank charity The Trussell Trust for her forthcoming UK and Ireland tour. Food and/or cash donations will be collected at each stop on her 10-date outing.

In the announcement, Sawayama wrote: “I’m sure you’re all aware but the cost of living is increasing so much at the moment, and people are struggling to pay for essential things like heating and food. No one should have to worry about whether they can afford to eat or not.”

Meanwhile, indie rock band The Big Moon kept their merchandise prices low by selling it at a pub nearby to their London headline show, thereby preventing the venue from taking a cut of the proceeds.

According to the band, the O2 Kentish Town Forum would have taken a cut of 25% plus VAT on each sale; “Basically all of our profits on merch.”

“This left us with the choice of either not making any profit, or increasing prices and charging you guys more – neither feels fair.”


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