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X-Ray’s Javor: “Coldplay are leading by example”

In mid-October, X-ray Touring-repped heavyweights Coldplay announced their first tour in four years in support of their new album Music of the Spheres.

Having previously put touring plans on hold to investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable, Coldplay’s new announcement came hand-in-hand with a 12-point plan for cutting their carbon footprint.

The eco-friendly 2022 tour is currently slated to visit 40 stadiums around the world and one festival, with more dates to be announced, meaning that it could end up being the highest-grossing tour of the year.

For X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor, who planned the tour alongside his late partner, Steve Strange, seeing the groundbreaking tour come to fruition is bittersweet.

Here, Javor tells IQ about how the pair planned a tour of this nature; when he sees the industry recovering; and how he’d celebrate with Strange if he were here.

 


IQ: How would you describe the on-sale for the European leg of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres – World Tour?
JJ: It was insane… we pretty much sold out. We sold more than a million tickets just in Europe and added extra dates in the UK, France, Germany, and Belgium. At the moment, we’re discussing adding more dates. The US also went on sale that day and Latin America had already gone on sale and sold out.

You planned this tour with your late partner, X-ray Touring co-founder Steve Strange. On a personal level, what is this moment like for you?
This is one of the most bittersweet moments of my life. This tour is something Steve and I planned for a very long time and because he’s not here to revel in the success, it feels very bittersweet to me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic at how well it’s done, but the fact that Steve, unfortunately, didn’t make it to see our plan come together and work so well, brings things down to earth. It’s not the same on my own. My constant thought has been, I wish Steve was here to see this.

How do you think Steve would react to the success of Coldplay’s on-sale?
He would be on another planet. He was a member of the family when it came to this band and he would’ve been jumping for joy. We’ve all talked about it – management and ourselves – and about how amazing Steve would have thought this is. Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale – after selling a million tickets – and we’d be on our second bottle of champagne.

“[At] 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale – after selling a million tickets – [Steve and I] would be on our second bottle”

How did you approach ticket pricing post-pandemic?
Just being realistic. You just have to know what the market is and what people can afford. One way of doing that is to stay very grounded and down to earth. I think we’ve got ticket prices spot on. Tickets for this tour are slightly more expensive but not by much. Without the pandemic, we could have leant towards increasing them from what they are now, but you have to take everything into account.

How are you feeling about the business in general next year, and has this on-sale given you extra confidence?
Yes and no. It’s very difficult to predict what will happen. I think it’d be stupid to give any assurances, but I still worry about the industry between now and next summer. We’ve got a lot of shit to go through and a lot of hoops to jump through to get to where we want to be, but the on-sale is very positive, definitely. I think the industry as a whole is very happy and proud that the public is still interested in going to concerts on a grand scale. I think, in this instance, when one of us succeeds, in a way, we all succeed because we’ve been up Shit Creek for so long.

“It’s very difficult to do an eco-friendly tour when you’re at a smaller level than Coldplay”

Do you think this eco-friendly tour will become a blueprint for other bands of the same calibre?
I hope so. It’s something that everyone should be striving for, and just as Coldplay have said, they might not get it right, but at least they’re trying. They’re not just talking about doing something, they’re leading by example. I think you do need bigger artists to show other people how it could be possible to change.

It’s very difficult to do an eco-friendly tour when you’re at a smaller level than Coldplay. You have fewer decisions that you can make about how you tour when you’re a smaller artist. If you’re playing a club or a theatre, you don’t have the same choices as if you’re playing a stadium. It’s about the amount of control you have, the amount of money you can generate, and about the different kinds of venues and different rules that you have. It all goes hand in hand.

How involved were you in the creation of the 12-point plan to cut the band’s carbon footprint?
I was involved in the parts I could be, like figuring out how we can try and cut the carbon footprint by staying in the same place and playing more shows. It’s very different from the standard tour where artists do one or two shows and then move on in order to visit as many places as possible. We’re not visiting most of Europe. If you look at the tour, it’s cut down to a few cities.

“We’re staying in one place for a longer period of time and cutting emissions. It’s about staying put.”

What we’ve done is we’ve recognised that it’s not possible to tour everywhere in one summer or in one year. It’s going to take longer to visit everywhere, but by doing it this way, we’re staying in one place for a longer period of time and cutting emissions. It’s about staying put.

What advice would you give to other agents attempting to plan an eco-friendly tour?
It’s the little things sometimes. It’s not having single-use plastics or not having plastics at all. There are basics that everyone can be doing. The live industry has been at the forefront of trying to be greener since festivals started changing years ago.

Tell us about the time period in which you booked this tour.
It has been very difficult to put these shows in because, at the time of making these decisions, a lot of places were in lockdown. At the time, you couldn’t even go on-sale with shows in certain markets – let alone full-capacity stadium shows.

 


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IQ 105 out now: International Ticketing Report

IQ 105, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The November 2021 edition is spearheaded by the International Ticketing Report 2021: IQ’s indispensable annual health check on the global ticketing business.

As the live entertainment industry endeavours to build back its workforce, the issue also explores the world of Recruitment & Restaffing, as we speak to those responsible for creating and implementing recruitment strategies.

Elsewhere, Lisa Henderson talks to Coldplay agent Josh Javor of X-ray Touring on the remarkable ticket sales for their sustainability-focused 2022 tour – and the emotions of celebrating that success without his late mentor, the legendary Steve Strange.

For this edition’s columns and comments, we hand over to A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill and Primavera Sound’s Marta Pallarès.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, we ask the industry to recount their favourite (or least favourite) horror story from their career.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks. However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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Coldplay sell more than one million tickets in Europe

More than one million tickets have sold for the European leg of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres world tour, which went on sale last Friday (22 October).

X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor, who planned the ‘eco-friendly’ stadium tour along with the late Steve Strange, told IQ that the on-sale was “insane”.

According to Javor, the European leg has “pretty much sold out” and the team is currently discussing adding more dates.

The 20-date run, which kicks off on 2 July 2022, has already expanded with an extra date apiece at Deutsche Bank Park (Germany), Stade de France (France), King Baudouin Stadium (Belgium) and Hampden Park (UK).

Notably, an extra three dates have been added at Wembley Stadium (cap. 90,00) in the UK, on top of the three already announced.

According to Javor, the European leg has “pretty much sold out” and the team is discussing adding more dates

The world tour – which is mostly promoted by Live Nation, with SJM as the main partner in the UK – is also visiting the US and Latin America (which is completely sold out), taking in 40 stadiums and one festival (Rock in Rio) altogether.

The groundbreaking tour is one of the last projects that legendary booking agent and X-ray co-founder Steve Strange worked on before his tragic passing in September.

“This is something Steve and I have planned for a very long time and because he’s not here to revel in the success, it’s one of the most bittersweet moments of my life,” says Javor.

He continues: “Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic at how well it’s done but the fact that Steve, unfortunately, didn’t make it to see our plan come together brings things down to earth.

“Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale and we’d be on our second bottle of champagne”

“Normally, Steve and I would get to 12 o’clock on the day of an on-sale and, after selling a million tickets, we’d be on our second bottle of champagne. But, on your own, it’s not the same. My constant thought has been, I wish Steve was here to see this.

“He would be on another planet. He was a member of the family when it came to this band and he would’ve been jumping for joy.”

Coldplay announced the tour earlier this month after a four-year hiatus from touring while they investigated how to make their concerts more sustainable.

The Music of the Spheres tour is bolstered by a 12-point plan to cut the band’s carbon footprint, which supports new green technologies and sustainable, super-low carbon touring methods.

A full interview with Josh Javor will appear in the next edition of IQ magazine at the end of this month.

 


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