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UTA’s Gary Howard: ‘2023 will be a busy year’

UTA agent Gary Howard warns ticket prices will likely have to increase to cope with rising costs as the business readies itself for another packed 12 months.

Howard, who represents the likes of N-Dubz, Craig David, Blue, Steps and UB40 ft. Ali Campbell, is coming off a sterling 2022, which saw him named The O2’s Agent of the Year after handling eight shows at the London venue – more than any other agent.

“2023 will again be a busy year for most although some of the logistical issues caused by Covid and Brexit will still be with us for at least another 12 months,” he tells IQ. “Also, I think ticket prices will have to increase to deal with rising costs of production and the current cost-of-living [crisis].”

The veteran pop agent describes the sheer volume of concerts held last year as an “eye-opener”.

“I have never seen so many stadium shows happen at the same time”

“It was a wild year,” he says. “I have never seen so many stadium shows happen at the same time. On Glastonbury weekend alone, you had BST on with three nights, Red Hot Chili Peppers at London Stadium, Ed Sheeran at Wembley, Diana Ross and Billie Eilish at The O2 and hundreds of other shows happening at the same time – and that was just in London!

“My expectations were high as I had four massive arena tours out and a huge summer programme as well, and the year didn’t disappoint.”

Personal highlights included hip-hop trio N-Dubz’ UK arena comeback tour, which sold more than 250,000 tickets, and an emotional UB40 ft. Ali Campbell tour in memory of late bandmate Astro, who died in November 2021.

“Seeing [Astro] digitally up on the massive screens performing Rat in mi Kitchen in February was so emotional,” says Howard. “I, like most of the audience was brought to tears. I really loved that man, he was a top fella who had time for everyone and would always greet me with a big smile and say in his Brummie accent, ‘Alright Millwall.'”

“I just hope that by the end of 2023, I’m staring at 2024 with a big smile on my face as we have so much new talent breaking globally”

He adds: “Also, N-Dubz selling out four O2 Arenas and 23 arenas across the tour when most of the industry said we couldn’t sell out Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and that I was apparently mad for trying is something that will always stick with me. But more than that, Tulisa from the band calling me with tears of joy the moment it all flew out of the window saying, ‘We did it Gary. No one believed us, but we did it.’ That was also a major highlight.”

In closing, Howard discusses his high hopes for some of the newer additions to his roster.

“I just hope that by the end of 2023, I’m staring at 2024 with a big smile on my face as we have so much new talent breaking globally like JVKE, Natalie Jane, Johnny Orlando, Leah Kate, Bellah Mae and Junior Andre. It would be great for some of them to break through in a major way. We are definitely expecting that they will!”

Howard is also excited to be working with singer-songwriter Jess Glynne, who recently signed to UTA for worldwide representation.

“She is just the most amazing talent and a true British icon,” gushes Howard. “I represent her with Oliver Ward and we are currently building the comeback plan alongside her management at Roc Nation and her new label EMI. I just can’t wait.”

 


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UTA signs Jess Glynne for worldwide representation

Talent agency UTA has announced it has signed British artist Jess Glynne for worldwide representation.

The singer-songwriter won a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording for her Clean Bandit collaboration Rather Be at the 57th Grammy Awards and has been nominated for nine BRIT Awards.

Glynne’s 2015 debut studio album, I Cry When I Laugh and 2018 follow-up Always in Between both went to No.1 in the UK and spawned a string of hit singles.

The 32-year-old, who is managed by Roc Nation, became the first British female solo artist to top the UK Singles Chart seven times. Additionally, she was honoured on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list in 2019.

Prior to signing with UTA, Glynne was represented on the live circuit by Paradigm (now Wasserman).

The UTA roster also includes artists such as Post Malone, Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Cardi B, deadmau5, Bad Bunny, YG, The Jonas Brothers, Demi Lovato, Marshmello, Bebe Rexha , Common, Offset, LL Cool J, Young Thug, Ari Lennox, Lil Wayne, Burna Boy, Halsey, Guns N’ Roses, Muse, Paramore, Machine Gun Kelly, James Blake and Florence and the Machine, among many others.

 


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Paul Weller named Forest Live’s best-selling artist

Annual UK concert series Forest Live has named Paul Weller as it best-selling artist ever, with ticket sales surpassing 145,000 over the years.

Forest Live, a concert series taking place at seven forest locations across the UK, is organised by land manager Forestry England. Other artists to play the 2019 series include Foals, Jess Glynne and Stereophonics.

Weller most recently completed a run of seven Forest Live dates, including four sold-out shows at Cheshire’s Delamere Forest and Staffordshire’s Cannock Chase Forest, among others.

The capacity of venues included in the series ranges from 5,500 to 9,750.

Forestry England presented Weller with a commemorative inscription to mark the achievement.

“I’ve loved playing the forest shows: the settings and crowds are always fantastic”

“It’s an honour to receive this plaque. I’ve loved playing the forest shows: the settings and crowds are always fantastic,” comments Weller.

Forestry England event manager Simon Hough says he is “extremely grateful” for Weller’s “massive contribution” and “commitment to be a part of Forest Live.”

Weller made his Forest Live debut in 2004 and has since played three more times at each of the seven venues. Money raised from ticket sales goes towards forest conservation.

Launched in 2001, past artists to perform at Forest Live include Pulp, Van Morrison, the Pet Shop Boys, Ed Sheeran, Blondie, Little Mix, George Ezra and Paloma Faith.

Pictured (l to r): DB Event Services’ David Barrow, Paul Weller, Forestry England’s Rob Lamb.

 


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Camden Assembly to host week of charity shows

The Camden Assembly, the London venue formerly known as The Barfly, will this December host a week of shows in aid of music-therapy charity Nordoff Robbins.

Tickets will be made available via a lottery on ticketing app Dice, with a £2 fee per entry (limited to five entries) donated to Nordoff Robbins.

The full charity showcase line-up is Kaiser Chiefs on 2 December, Jess Glynne on 3 December, Jake Bugg on 4 December, Tom Odell on 6 December and Clean Bandit on 7 December.

Here’s the poster:

Nordoff Robbins charity gigs, Camden Assembly

The Camden Assembly’s operator, the Columbo Group, bought the 200-cap. venue along with The Jazz Café – also in Camden – in January.

 


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