Lewis Capaldi pauses touring for “foreseeable future”
Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has said he will take a break from touring for the “foreseeable future”.
The announcement comes days after he struggled to finish his Glastonbury set due to his Tourette’s Syndrome.
Glastonbury was the 26-year-old’s first live performance since taking a previous three-week break.
“First of all, thank you to Glastonbury for having me, for singing along when I needed it and for all the amazing messages afterwards. It really does mean the world,” he began. “The fact that this probably won’t come as a surprise doesn’t make it any easier to write, but I’m very sorry to let you know I’m going to be taking a break from touring for the foreseeable future.”
He explained that he felt ready to return to the stage after cancelling dates scheduled for earlier this month but Saturday’s performance made it “obvious that I need to spend much more time getting my mental and physical health in order”.
“It became obvious that I need to spend much more time getting my mental and physical health in order”
“I used to be able to enjoy every second of shows like this and I’d hoped 3 weeks away would sort me out,” he said.
“But the truth is I’m still learning to adjust to the impact of my Tourette’s and on Saturday it became obvious that I need to spend much more time getting my mental and physical health in order, so I can keep doing everything I love for a long time to come.
“I know I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to take some time out when others can’t and I’d like to thank my amazing family, friends, team, medical professionals and all of you who’ve been so supportive every step of the way through the good times and even more so during this past year when I’ve needed it more than ever.”
Capaldi, who is repped by agents Ryan Penty and Alex Hardee at Wasserman Music, was due to play 26 dates around the world between now and October including Reading and Leeds festivals.
“We’re gutted that Lewis Capaldi won’t be performing at R&L this year, but health comes first and we wish him a speedy recovery,” an update from Reading and Leeds read. “We’re working hard to book a replacement, stay tuned.”
Read IQ‘s recent report for Capaldi’s biggest European tour to date here.
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Lewis Capaldi’s arena tour ‘only the beginning’
Lewis Capaldi‘s backroom team have spoken to IQ about the Scottish superstar’s biggest tour to date.
The 26-year-old singer/songwriter, whose new Netflix documentary How I’m Feeling Now dropped yesterday (5 April), broke the record for Scotland’s highest-selling indoor show earlier this year after shifting more than 15,000 tickets for his DF Concerts-promoted date at P&J Live in Aberdeen.
He also performed a sellout date at the 14,300-cap OVO Hydro in Glasgow as part of his 2023 European arena tour.
“His shows in Scotland for this tour were amazing,” says DF promoter Craig Johnston. “He has been very open about his mental health and that anxiety can cripple him sometimes, so it was so powerful to see him enjoying the shows, because hometown shows come with huge pressures. Our Aberdeen show became the highest-selling indoor show in Scotland’s history: it’s an incredible achievement.
“Lewis has an amazing talent of making everyone, even people who have never met him, feel like they are his best mate, and that is an incredible tool for us when selling tickets.”
Capaldi was forced to reschedule his remaining European tour dates in Germany, Spain, Switzerland and Italy last month due to illness, but has a stacked slate of high-profile concerts booked for this summer.
“The focus now turns to 2024. We’ve got dates held internationally, and we’re looking at bigger venues, especially in the UK”
“He’s confirmed for Electric Picnic, and Reading and Leeds festivals, and we’ve recently announced additional outdoor shows in August for Manchester, Belfast, Chepstow, and Edinburgh at the Royal Highland Centre,” says Ryan Penty, who represents the star along with Alex Hardee at Wasserman. “But the focus now turns to 2024. We’ve got dates held internationally, and we’re looking at bigger venues, especially in the UK where the sales we had for the arena tour were ridiculous.”
Capaldi, whose second album Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent is out in May, performed at the International Festival Forum (IFF) in 2017.
“The thing about Lewis is we never skipped a moment of building,” notes Penty. “In London, for example, we started at The Waiting Room [120 capacity], then we played a show at Oslo [350-cap] where there was an 18-plus age restriction, which was a little bit of a hiccup, at the time. But from there we played the Scala , then we went straight to Shepherd’s Bush Empire [2,000], then Brixton Academy [4,921], then Wembley Arena [11,500] for two shows on the weekend before the pandemic. And then last year we played two nights at The O2 [18,500]. That sort of sums up the hard work Lewis and the whole team have put in everywhere, just organically growing the audience each time.”
Speaking in the latest issue of IQ, Penty continues: “Lewis doesn’t do any VIPs – there’s no meet and greets, there’s no golden circle, there’s no end-of-the-aisle uplift or anything like that. He’s always wanted to keep the face value ticket prices affordable, so on the UK dates for this tour, we’re at £45, £55, and £65, which is the top price for the very best seats.
“This tour is only the beginning of the many things we have planned on the live side for Lewis Capaldi in 2023 and beyond”
“We don’t want his fans to feel like he’s ripping them off at any point, and I know he just wants to make sure that everybody feels like they’re not excluded from seeing him because of the price. Originally, the tickets were going to be even cheaper, but we had to push the price a little because the costs of everything have gone through the roof since this tour was routed two and a half years ago. But in the end, we worked hard to keep ticket prices reasonable. At the end of the day, if the fans come and have a good night, and they’ve had value for money, they’ll come back.”
Echoing Penty’s thoughts, Anna-Sophie Mertens, VP of touring at Live Nation suggests that Capaldi’s current tour is “only the beginning”.
“Lewis has a great team, from his band, his tour and production managers and road team who have, for the most part, been there right from the start,” says Mertens. “A particular mention needs to go to Ryan Walter, Lewis’s manager, who right from the start had a strong vision in place and ensures every step, every release, every artwork, every tour announcement and on-sale is meticulously planned and slotted into Lewis’s career. It was always a perfect execution of putting the right building blocks in place.
“This tour is only the beginning of the many things we have planned on the live side for Lewis Capaldi in 2023 and beyond. I am extremely excited for things to come.”
IQ subscribers can access the full tour feature here.
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Heavenly Sent: Inside Lewis Capaldi’s biggest-ever tour
When Lewis Capaldi played the final UK show of his Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent tour in Aberdeen on 15 March 2020, little did anyone know that 24 hours later, a ban on mass gatherings would be introduced that would curtail any further shows for the best part of two years.
However, during the intervening period, the singer-songwriter worked with his representatives to crank up anticipation of his soon-to-be-released second album (Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent) to such an extent that his return to performing live is smashing records.
Indeed, Capaldi’s return to Aberdeen’s P&J Live Arena on 23 January this year set a new high bar of more than 15,000 tickets sold. “His shows in Scotland for this tour were amazing. He has been very open about his mental health and that anxiety can cripple him sometimes, so it was so powerful to see him enjoying the shows, because hometown shows come with huge pressures,” states promoter Craig Johnston at DF Concerts. “Our Aberdeen show became the highest-selling indoor show in Scotland’s history: it’s an incredible achievement.”
That historic gig was all the more special for production manager Nick Lawrie, who has been on the road with Lewis since he only needed a car to get from gig to gig. “I was asked early on if I could look after him. In fact, the only person who has worked with him longer is Aiden Halliday, his musical director, who started on keyboards,” says Lawrie.
Having taken on driver duties, front of house, monitors, and part-time production manager in smaller venues, Lawrie stepped up to full-time PM as the size of show grew. “On the last tour, we had seven trucks, but we’re up to 14 trucks for the UK and European arenas tour,” says Lawrie, adding that the touring party numbers in the 80s including drivers, etc. “We were six buses for the UK leg – it’s a big tour!”
“The thing about Lewis is we never skipped a moment of building”
Hailing from Aberdeen, Lawrie is delighted that the P&J show broke records. He commends everyone involved on the road for their hard work, while singling out artist manager Ryan Walter and agents Ryan Penty and Alex Hardee for making sure everyone is looked after.
“A lot of the Lewis camp has been around for a long time and that definitely helps,” contends Lawrie. “As for the tour routing, we have a couple of spicy overnights in Europe where we’ll have to advance the rigging package, but thankfully, his manager and agents are mindful about burnout, from Lewis himself right the way down through the crew. The fact they take our welfare so seriously is really appreciated by everyone on the road.”
Examining Capaldi’s tour history hints at an artist who has an impressive work ethic, having put in the long hours around the world playing tiny venues and step by step growing his fanbase at every opportunity.
“The thing about Lewis is we never skipped a moment of building,” says Ryan Penty who represents Capaldi along with Alex Hardee at Wasserman Music. “In London, for example, we started at The Waiting Room [120 capacity], then we played a show at Oslo [350-cap] where there was an 18-plus age restriction, which was a little bit of a hiccup, at the time. But from there we played the Scala , then we went straight to Shepherd’s Bush Empire [2,000], then Brixton Academy [4,921], then Wembley Arena [11,500] for two shows on the weekend before the pandemic. And then last year we played two nights at The O2 [18,500]. That sort of sums up the hard work Lewis and the whole team have put in everywhere, just organically growing the audience each time.”
Assisting team Capaldi on the journey are a team of promoters whom he has remained fiercely loyal to. There are no fewer than eight promoters involved in his 12 UK dates, for example. One of those long-term partners is Anna-Sophie Mertens, VP of touring at Live Nation. “I first came across Lewis Capaldi in mid-2016, before any of his music had been officially released,” she says.
“He wandered on, plugged in, looking pretty casual about the whole thing, then started to play… and it was jaw-dropping”
“I was struck by his voice and the simple, yet remarkable, beauty of the songs, so I arranged a meeting with his management to talk about what plans they had in mind for him. Usually [at that stage] artists and managers would be looking for London showcase opportunities, but they wanted the opposite and felt strongly about getting live show experience outside of London and building from north to south. So, I focused on delivering just that, with a support to Seafret in spring 2017. I got to meet Lewis for the first time at Birmingham O2 Institute3 on that tour, and the room just fell silent when he went on – everyone being in absolute awe. It was a sign of great things to come.”
Anton Lockwood at DHP Family tells a similar tale. “I got an email from his manager, sometime in early May 2017, with a link to the song Bruises, which got my interest enough to offer Lewis a slot, at two weeks’ notice, at Dot to Dot Festival,” says Lockwood.
“I saw him for the first time with my colleague Dan Roberts at Hy-Brasil bar in Bristol, where there was a small but decent crowd. He wandered on, plugged in, looking pretty casual about the whole thing, then started to play… and it was jaw-dropping. One of those few times when you turn to the person you’re with and you both just say, ‘Fuck me, this guy is incredible. He’s going to be a superstar!’”
Mertens continues, “Once the music finally got released to the wider world, the headline live shows slotted in perfectly with sold-out shows across the board. The campaign gathered real momentum with Lewis’s songs really connecting with his fans of all ages and his humour and character making him instantly likeable and relatable, too. We found ourselves finishing his first album campaign with two shows at The O2, and they sold out in minutes. I am not sure this has ever been done before on a first album campaign.”
Capaldi’s legendary reputation to elicit laughter from his audience, as well as delivering a powerful set, has seen his popularity blossom. And the demand from fans to witness his shows is not lost on his promoter partners. Lockwood comments, “The thing with Lewis is, what you think he’s like from his social media, he is actually like that – and people respond to that.”
“We’ve no reason to change our promoters, because everyone’s done a great job. Everyone sells all the tickets”
Kilimanjaro Live promoter Steve Tilley agrees. “Lewis’s social media game is second to none,” he states. And Tilley discloses just how deep the loyalty to promoters runs through the Capaldi camp. “Kilimanjaro has been involved in Lewis’s career from the very start, and when Carlo Scarampi was working for us, he was given some parts of the UK when those decisions were made. I got involved after Carlo moved over to Communion, retaining our interest in the artist but working with Communion going forward in collaboration.”
Recalling his initial interaction, Tilley continues, “I saw Lewis supporting Bastille and suggested we put him forward to support Ed Sheeran at the 2019 Leeds and Ipswich gigs, which he subsequently went on to play. We also booked Lewis for the mainstage at Belladrum in 2019, just as he was exploding in career terms. So many people wanted to get into the mainstage arena to see him that we had to close it! We also added Lewis to Kew The Music in 2019 when Jess Glynne had to cancel her slot, and with only about two weeks’ notice, we sold out the show in minutes. It was a crazy time.”
Continuing their collaboration on the current tour, Kilimanjaro and Communion are co-promoting Exeter Westpoint Arena. “It sold out absolutely effortlessly,” reports Tilley. Addressing the decision to stick with the promoting team, everywhere, Penty notes, “We’ve no reason to change our promoters, because everyone’s done a great job. Everyone sells all the tickets. It was split up at the start for a reason, and everybody did their bit to help Lewis get to where he is, so people should be rewarded for that. In the UK & Ireland, we’ve got Futuresound, SJM, Communion, DHP, Kilimanjaro, Live Nation, DF Concerts, and MCD – just about everyone’s got a slice of the tour.
Let it Roll
With the UK leg of the tour wrapping up on that 2 February show in Exeter, Capaldi’s European promoters have been counting the days to welcome him back – many having first witnessed him live at the IFF [International Festival Forum] in 2017.
Michael Šimon, booker and promoter for Selection in Czech Republic, has Capaldi back for just his second headline show in Prague on 17 February, having also booked him for Colours of Ostrava Festival in 2019. “When we first saw him at IFF, his enormous talent was clear to us,” says Šimon. “The first costing for November 2019 was built on a cap of 750 tickets. A few years later, Lewis’s second show in Prague will take place in the biggest arena in the Czech Republic, the [18,000-cap] O2 Arena Prague.”
“He played a lot of shows but never the wrong places, allowing his fanbase to grow continuously”
In Switzerland, Stefan Wyss at Gadget abc Entertainment also recalls Capaldi’s showcase at IFF. “Alex Hardee told us very early about this super-talented guy from Scotland. At IFF we were really impressed – Lewis was sick and had a bad voice, but it was still a massive voice.”
That showcase led to a booking. “His first show in Switzerland was at Openair St. Gallen in 2018 on the tent stage. After that, we sold out – way in advance – his first headline at [the] end of 2018 with 500 tickets in Zürich.”
Turning to Capaldi’s work ethic, Wyss comments, “He played a lot of shows but never the wrong places, allowing his fanbase to grow continuously. And I’m sure his humour and charisma helped a lot. If you look at his live history in Switzerland – [nine shows across four years] – it’s very impressive for a new artist in a small market.”
And Wyss predicts the momentum will keep building. “He will [take] another massive step [this year],” he says. “Hallenstadion in Zürich will be sold out with 13,000 tickets. And he is also headlining Openair St. Gallen. It will be a massive year for Lewis.”
Commenting on Capaldi’s tireless efforts, Selection’s Šimon reveals, “During his first Prague show, we watched Lewis sign hundreds of CDs for hours after the sound check. He did it with a dedication and respect toward each and every fan.”
“The way Lewis engages his fans on social media is just brilliant and different from anyone else”
Other promoters attest to his enthusiasm and drive. Mertens notes, “Lewis and his whole team have a strong work ethic. If it is the right thing to do, they will find the time and way to make it work. In the early days, he was flying back and forth between the US and the UK almost weekly to ensure he was making an impact with the right opportunities.”
One recipient of such an opportunity was Alessandro Ravizza at Vivo Concerti, who promoted Capaldi’s first Italian show in 2017 at Linecheck Festival. “Some of the people knew Bruises, but he captured the attention of every single person in that room,” recalls Ravizza, who has since promoted two headline shows for the Scottish crooner.
“As an Italian promoter, you don’t always have the chance to work with artists on each step of their touring career; but I think Lewis, management, and Ryan/Alex had a long-term vision, and they’ve worked very hard on every territory to grow a loyal, organic fanbase. Also, the way Lewis engages his fans on social media is just brilliant and different from anyone else, and this helps us as promoters a lot when it comes to selling tickets.”
DF’s Johnston concurs. “Lewis has an amazing talent of making everyone, even people who have never met him, feel like they are his best mate, and that is an incredible tool for us when selling tickets.”
As the tour rolls through Europe, Ravizza reports that Vivo Concerti will sell out the 8 March gig at Mediolanum Forum in Milan. “To be honest, Clemente [Zard], Andrea [Ritrovato], and I felt very confident even without listening to any songs of the new album because we knew demand was there,” he says. “After hearing the new songs, it was pretty clear. We’re looking forward to seeing one of the greatest artists of his generation connecting deeply with his people.”
“It was always a perfect execution of putting the right building blocks in place”
Another beneficiary of Capaldi’s artistry is Live Nation Denmark promoter Anna Brink. She says, “In 2018, we sold out Vega Small Hall in Copenhagen, a 450-cap venue. There has been an increasing demand for his shows ever since, and the next hard-ticket show we did was in 2019, which we upgraded from a 1,550-cap venue to a 5,000-cap venue and sold out. It’s amazing for an artist to grow like this in such a short time, especially in a smaller market like Denmark. We’ve now sold out his Royal Arena show on this tour, so we couldn’t be happier.”
Brink adds, “Lewis has a wonderful team around him, and I love working with them, especially his agents, whom I’ve known for a long time, so it’s great to be able to share this success together.”
Mertens comments, “Lewis has a great team, from his band, his tour and production managers and road team who have, for the most part, been there right from the start. A particular mention needs to go to Ryan Walter, Lewis’s manager, who right from the start had a strong vision in place and ensures every step, every release, every artwork, every tour announcement and on-sale is meticulously planned and slotted into Lewis’s career. It was always a perfect execution of putting the right building blocks in place.”
To Tell the Truth I Can’t Believe We Got This Far
While the crew on the road now numbers in excess of 70, the core members have been with Capaldi from early on in his career.
DF Concerts’ Johnston observes, “Most of Lewis’s live crew are Scottish, and we’ve all worked together before on other acts and projects over the years. It’s worth mentioning that King Tut’s gets a lot of credit for bringing through new artists, but all of his crew have done shows in Tut’s as well, so it also brings through the new tour managers, production managers, sound engineers, lighting engineers, backline tech, etc.”
“Effectively, if you ignore the pandemic shutdown, he’s doubled the size of the production in less than a year”
As for the production itself, the back-to-back September 2022 shows at The O2 in London proved to be a rehearsal for the current tour. Nick Lawrie says, “By about the second week, every day was starting to feel the same, which as a production manager is kind of what you want. Now we can concentrate on finding efficiencies and trying to identify areas where we can tighten things up.”
One of the main features of the production is a giant video cube, which raises and lowers to the stage, and at one point, features Capaldi using its roof as a B-stage. “We have a customised automation system, which is pretty complicated, and the show relies on a fair amount of trim – 17 metres on the grid. Some arenas don’t allow that, so it’s something we have to adjust every day, as well as making sure that every seat in the house has good sightlines,” explains Lawrie.
Matthew Bull at All Access Staging reveals the production from last year’s O2 shows was slightly reduced for ease of use, loading in and out. However, with two trucks for staging alone, it’s still an impressive set up.
“They asked us for a rolling stage because of what they wanted to do with video, etc, so we supply that on the top level, as well as the risers on either side for the backline and cameras,” says Bull. And the feedback from the road he reports is all positive, “They’re a really friendly bunch, and the tour seems to be running really smoothly, so it’s great to be involved again with Lewis.”
Neg Earth Lights has been working with Capaldi since his last tour. “This production is much bigger, so Lewis has done very well in terms of scaling things up, because effectively, if you ignore the pandemic shutdown, he’s doubled the size of the production in less than a year,” says Neg Earth’s Sam Ridgway.
“We’re playing some of the biggest arenas in Europe, and I have to say it’s the best tour party I’ve ever worked with”
He adds, “Nick Lawrie is great to work with. Following The O2 shows, we had a production debrief and drew up plans on how to make improvements to the rig to make things more tour friendly.”
Those tweaks included adding a specialist automation company, WI Creations, to the equation. Involving automation of course complicated matters, with sound supplier FE Live completely redesigning its kit as a result.
“It’s fairly tricky audio-wise because of the three-sided cube, so we’ve had to design audio around that,” says FE’s managing director Ryan Mcilravey. “The O2 shows allowed us to trial stuff, and after those shows, we rebuilt our kit into bigger packaging because audio has to be assembled pretty quickly once everything else is loaded in.”
Like many of the suppliers on the tour, FE Live began working with Capaldi in 2018 and have witnessed the speed at which the artist moved to academy-sized shows and then onto even bigger venues.
“Fourteen months later, we’re playing some of the biggest arenas in Europe, and I have to say it’s the best tour party I’ve ever worked with,” says Mcilravey. “Lewis is very loyal to his suppliers and crew, so there are a lot of Scottish people who know each other well, but even so, it’s not that common to have 70-plus people on the road and everyone gets along.”
“It was glaringly obvious that Lewis would be playing arenas in a short space of time”
One of the key crew members is backline expert Paul Gibson, who handles tech for bass and guitars, including Lewis’s. He reveals that when Covid hit, the decision was made to sell all the Kemper equipment, which has now been replaced with Quad Cortex. “The equipment only recently came out, and I think we’re the first large production to use it, so that has been a bit of a challenge,” says Gibson. “It’s controlled by playback, so we had to get a couple of programmes made but that process has been quite exciting.”
Gibson, who has been working with Lewis Capaldi for close to six years, observes that while lots of production departments have stepped up their game, the biggest notable change for him is somewhat easier. “There are a few more stairs for me to climb in the arenas.” He adds, “Even the new suppliers who have been brought in are amazing. Usually, when you’re on the road, little cliques develop, but that hasn’t happened on this tour – we’re just one big family.”
Another happy traveller is Bobby Langley from Global Merch Services, who first encountered Capaldi at The Great Escape in 2018, thanks to a tip from Alex Hardee. “It was glaringly obvious that Lewis would be playing arenas in a short space of time,” states Langley.
“From my side of things, we inherited some incredible creative to work with. Lewis approaches his music as an art, rather than jumping on any bandwagon. There can be a temptation when you’re working with artists who reach arena level to just play it safe when it comes to merch, but if you keep being creative, you get a better result for everyone.”
For an emerging superstar – or “Scotland’s Beyoncé,” as Capaldi has jokingly referred to himself – the temptation to cash in can be overwhelming. But there’s no trace of greed among Capaldi’s inner circle, with tickets for the tour priced amazingly low for such a large arena production.
“Lewis doesn’t do any VIPs – there’s no meet and greets, there’s no golden circle, there’s no end-of-the-aisle uplift”
“Lewis doesn’t do any VIPs – there’s no meet and greets, there’s no golden circle, there’s no end-of-the-aisle uplift or anything like that,” says Penty. “He’s always wanted to keep the face value ticket prices affordable, so on the UK dates for this tour, we’re at £45, £55, and £65, which is the top price for the very best seats.
“We don’t want his fans to feel like he’s ripping them off at any point, and I know he just wants to make sure that everybody feels like they’re not excluded from seeing him because of the price.
“Originally, the tickets were going to be even cheaper, but we had to push the price a little because the costs of everything have gone through the roof since this tour was routed two and a half years ago. But in the end, we worked hard to keep ticket prices reasonable. At the end of the day, if the fans come and have a good night, and they’ve had value for money, they’ll come back.”
Having been planned three years ago, the current tour has been a long time in the making, but the results have made the wait worthwhile.
“We first started discussing and planning the tour dates in 2020, but we had to push back our plans several times due to the pandemic, so I am very excited to see the new tour and album campaign finally kicking off,” says Live Nation’s Mertens. “This tour is only the beginning of the many things we have planned on the live side for Lewis Capaldi in 2023 and beyond. I am extremely excited for things to come.”
And hinting at those future plans, Penty says, “He’s confirmed for Electric Picnic, and Reading and Leeds festivals, and we’ve recently announced additional outdoor shows in August for Manchester, Belfast, Chepstow, and Edinburgh at the Royal Highland Centre.
“But the focus now turns to 2024. We’ve got dates held internationally, and we’re looking at bigger venues, especially in the UK where the sales we had for the arena tour were ridiculous.”
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IQ 117 out now: Lewis Capaldi, Schueremans, France
IQ 117, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online now.
The March 2023 issue sees Belgian promoter Herman Schueremans look back on 50 years in the live music industry, while Lewis Capaldi’s team discuss what made the singer’s latest tour such a success.
Elsewhere, the full agenda for the 35th edition of the International Live Music Conference is revealed and the New Tech panel is previewed.
Plus, IQ editor James Hanley examines the current state of the live event insurance market and Adam Woods puts the French business under le microscope.
For this edition’s double header of columns and comments, Marcel Hunziker talks up the benefits of developing a presence on TikTok and Sheryl Pinckney-Maas outlines the reasons to consider crowdsourced data to enhance event security.
In addition, Joe Hastings highlights the work of Help Musicians in tackling mental health issues in the music industry and Chris Bray explains how the ILMC scheme to introduce young professionals to the conference fits with ASM Global’s own future leadership plans.
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 from just £6.25 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:
Lewis Capaldi breaks Scottish concert record
Lewis Capaldi has broken the record for Scotland’s highest-selling indoor show.
The 26-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter sold more than 15,000 tickets for his DF Concerts-promoted show at P&J Live in Aberdeen on Monday (23 January), smashing the previous record set by Gerry Cinnamon at the venue in November 2019.
Capaldi, who is represented by Alex Hardee and Ryan Penty of Wasserman Music, was in Aberdeen as part of his 2023 European arena tour.
“Monday’s show was absolutely phenomenal,” says Louise Stewart, interim MD at P&J Live. “The perfect blend of humour and pure talent, Lewis entertained the record-breaking crowd with new music, some classic hits and gave us a few laughs along the way. This is a fantastic accolade for P&J Live and is exactly what the venue was built for.
“We would like to thank DF Concerts & Events for bringing Lewis up the North East of Scotland and to his fans for all their continued support – we couldn’t do it without you. We look forward to continuing to bring a variety of world-class acts to the region.”
“Nearly 15,000 fans from Scotland’s North East standing on the floor has to be seen to be believed”
Operated by ASM Global, the £333 million P&J Live opened in August 2019, replacing the former Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC). It has upcoming concerts with the likes of Michael Bublé, Elton John and Pet Shop Boys.
“P&J Live was the perfect venue for Lewis’ full-hearted songs and incredible production on his hugely successful arena tour,” adds ASM programming director James Harrison. “Nearly 15,000 fans from Scotland’s North East standing on the floor has to be seen to be believed, a unique sight in UK venues, an incredible atmosphere and a night to remember for everyone that was there.”
Wasserman’s Penty talks Lewis Capaldi arena tour
Wasserman Music agent Ryan Penty has spoken to IQ about Lewis Capaldi’s 2023 European arena tour.
The Scottish singer-songwriter, whose second album Broken by Desire to be Heavenly Sent comes out next May, has announced a 31-date trek for January to March next year, with stops in the UK and Ireland (excluding London), Poland, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and Spain.
“We’re doing arenas right across Europe so it’s very exciting times,” says Penty, who represents Capaldi with Wasserman’s Alex Hardee.
Tickets for the UK leg cost £40-60. Capaldi broke internationally with his UK and US No.1 single Someone You Loved in 2019, while his debut LP Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent was the biggest UK album of both 2019 and 2020. His comeback single Forget Me topped the charts in the UK last month.
Back in 2020, Capaldi joined a select group of artists who have headlined arenas while still on their first album campaign. He also sold out two nights at London’s 20,000-cap The O2, which finally took place last month after being postponed twice due to the pandemic.
“I never thought I’d get to the point where I had two O2 shows and just wanted them to be out of the way so badly!”
“We announced them on the day of the 2020 BRIT Awards and sold them out in the first hour,” recalls Penty. “They were supposed to happen that year as the full stop of the campaign and they served in the end as the start of the new campaign. It was nice to tie it all up finally and have those shows done – I never thought I’d get to the point where I had two O2 shows and just wanted them to be out of the way so badly!
“The show has come on leaps and bounds. It’s gone from Lewis being on stage with great songs, a great band and great chat, to now also having really impressive production.”
Capaldi returned to the road over the summer for a string of UK festival headline shows at TRNSMT, Isle of Wight, Latitude, Lytham and Belsonic, as well as slots around the continent at Northside (Denmark), Rock Werchter (Belgium), Lollapalooza Stockholm (Sweden), Slottsfjell (Norway), Pori Jazz (Finland), MEO (Portugal), Sziget (Hungary), Live Festival (Poland), Frequency (Austria), Lowlands (Netherlands) and Zurich Openair (Switzerland).
“It was quite a struggle,” admits Penty. “We had that full festival summer, booked in for 2020, which we then moved to 2021 – which we then didn’t have the music ready for, so we moved it to 2022, which we still did that the music ready for – but we pressed on anyway and everybody was very accommodating.
“I’m just very excited about the future,” he adds. “We’ve taken it step by step, ticking off the boxes along the way, and I feel like we’re in a really, really good place.”
The full list of 2023 tour dates announced so far is listed below.
Sat 14th: Leeds, First Direct Arena
Mon 16th: Sheffield, Utilita Arena
Wed 18th: Manchester, AO Arena
Thu 19th: Liverpool, M&S Bank Arena
Sat 21st: Newcastle, Utilita Arena
Mon 23rd: Aberdeen, P&J Live
Tue 24th: Glasgow, OVO Hydro
Thu 26th: Birmingham, Utilita Arena
Fri 27th: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
Sun 29th: Belfast, SSE Arena
Mon 30th: Dublin, 3Arena
Wed 1st: Cardiff, International Arena
Thu 2nd: Exeter, Westpoint Arena
Mon 13th: Warsaw, Torwar – Poland
Tue 14th: Vienna, Stadthalle – Austria
Thu 16th: Berlin, Mercedes-Benz Arena – Germany
Fri 17th: Prague, O2 Arena – Czech Republic
Sun 19th: Hamburg, Barclays Arena – Germany
Tue 21st: Frankfurt, Festhalle – Germany
Thu 23rd: Antwerp, Sportpaleis – Belgium
Sat 25th: Amsterdam, Ziggo Dome – Netherlands
Sun 26th: Paris, Accor Arena – France
Tue 28th: Cologne, Lanxess Arena – Germany
Thu 2nd: Copenhagen, Royal Arena – Denmark
Fri 3rd: Oslo, Spektrum – Norway
Sun 5th: Stockholm, Avicii Arena – Sweden
Tue 7th: Zurich, Hallenstadion – Switzerland
Wed 8th: Milan, Mediolanum Forum – Italy
Fri 10th: Barcelona, Palau Sant Jordi – Spain
Sat 11th: Madrid, WiZink Center – Spain
Tue 14th: Stuttgart, Schleyerhalle – Germany
Wed 15th: Munich, Olympiahalle – Germany
TikTok displays live potential at 2020 Brits
The 2020 Brit Awards took place on Tuesday night (18 February) at the O2 Arena in London in a special, live-focused ceremony.
Performances on the night came from double award-winner Lewis Capaldi (best new artist, song of the year), album of the year winner Dave, Brits rising star Celeste, Mabel (female solo artist), Lizzo, Sir Rod Stewart and international female solo artist winner Billie Eilish, who debuted the new James Bond theme song at the event.
The Brit Awards changed a few things up for 2020, reducing prize categories from 14 to 9, upping the number of live performances and allowing artists more creative freedom.
Another new addition for this year was the partnership with video-sharing social networking platform TikTok.
The partnership, which is part of a wider programme to showcase TikTok’s potential for the live industry, saw the platform transmit key moments from the Brits directly to digital screens at London’s Piccadilly Circus.
“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year”
Via TikTok, Lewis Capaldi became the first artist to perform on the Brits red carpet, later singing a duet backstage with male solo artist winner Stormzy. TikTok users were also encouraged to take part in the #RedCarpetReady hashtag challenge – an interactive competition in which users post videos with a specific hashtag – and use the Brits ‘Jump In’ sticker.
To further elaborate on the platform’s compatibility with live, TikTok’s head of UK music operations Paul Hourican is delivering a workshop at the International Live Music Conference in March, explaining how artists, promoters, agents and festival organisers can capitalise on TikTok’s reach.
“On TikTok, artists can reach listeners at lighting speed and build authentic fanbases – it’s a unique connection between artists and fans that we want even more artists and fans to benefit from – as well as the discovery opportunities TikTok brings for success off-platform,” says Rich Waterworth, general manager of TikTok UK.
“We see this BRITs partnership as one of the major milestones in a big education push we have for the UK music industry this year.”
The full list of Brit 2020 winners can be found below:
Female solo artist: Mabel
Male solo artist: Stormzy
Best group: Foals
Song of the year: Lewis Capaldi – ‘Someone You Loved’
Mastercard album of the year: Dave – Psychodrama
Best new artist: Lewis Capaldi
International female solo artist: Billie Eilish
International male solo artist: Tyler The Creator
Rising star: Celeste
Billie Eilish to debut Bond theme at 2020 Brits
Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020 on Tuesday 18 February.
The Paradigm-repped artist, who recently became the second artist ever to take home all four top awards at the Grammys, is debuting ‘No Time to Die’ with her brother and producer Finneas, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and an orchestral arrangement by Hans Zimmer and Matt Dunkley.
Eilish is nominated for the international female solo artist award at the Brits, along with Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Lizzo and Camila Cabello.
Taking place at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, other performances at the live-focused event will come from Brits rising star winner Celeste, Dave, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Lizzo, Mabel and Stormzy and will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall.
London rapper Dave and scottish singer Lewis Capaldi lead the way with Brit nominations this year, with four apiece for male solo artist, song of the year, album of the year and best new artist.
Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020
Mabel is also nominated for multiple awards, appearing in the female solo artist, song of the year and best new artist nominees. Across the eight categories awarded on the night, the singer is the only woman to receive a nomination outside of the female-only awards, asides from Miley Cyrus’ feature on Mark Ronson’s ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’ in the song of the year category.
Stormzy – who is this year headlining Reading and Leeds, Pohoda and Sziget – is up for male solo artist, song of the year and album of the year.
The Brits is this year partnering with short-form mobile video platform TikTok, which will livestream the arrival of nominees and others on the Brits red carpet, including an exclusive live performance from Lewis Capaldi.
“Our BRITs 2020 partnership is part of a wider UK programme that aims at collaborating with and educating labels, managers and artists to make the most out of the platform, taking advantage of TikTok’s unique creativity to engage with their fans and connect with a new global audience,” comments Paul Hourican, TikTok’s head of music operations, UK.
The Brit Awards 2020 is taking place on Tuesday 18 February at the O2, broadcast live on ITV from 7.30 p.m.
Study: Capaldi, EIlish among hardest-working artists
The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) has named Lewis Capaldi the “hardest-working musician” of the past two years, after research revealed the Scottish singer played close to 200 shows from January 2018 to August 2019.
Billie Eilish, Pink, Ed Sheeran and Elton John complete the ICMP’s top five most conscientious artists.
Taking Billboard’s top 100 artists from 2018 and 2019, ICMP analysed the total number of domestic and international shows played and countries visited by each act to calculate a final tally.
Scottish crooner Capaldi, who earlier today cancelled a UK gig due to voice issues, came out on top with 195 shows in total – the most of any artist on the list. Among those, Capaldi clocked up 127 international dates, second only to Elton John at 147, and closely followed by Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran at 124.
Billie Eilish, Pink, Ed Sheeran and Elton John complete the ICMP’s top five most conscientious artists of last year
In terms of domestic shows, the singer lagged behind in 27th place with 68 home-country concerts, although he was the only non-US artist among the top thirty in this category.
Teen sensation Billie Eilish topped the domestic shows chart, playing 92 US dates, as well as 92 international dates, putting her in second place overall. A capella group Pentatonix, fast-rising star Lizzo, country music band Old Dominion and Pink also played a high number of shows in their native United States.
Both Eilish and Capaldi have visited 23 different countries since the start of last year, fewer than Portugal the Man (24), Sam Smith (25), Post Malone (26), J Balvin (27) and the Chainsmokers (31). Thanks to his mammoth Divide tour, Sheeran had the highest country tally at 32 and fourth highest number of shows overall at 156.
The complete list of results can be found here.
The ICMP is an independent music school in London, UK.
Third outing cements Trnsmt as Glasgow staple
The third edition of DF Concerts’ Trnsmt took place at Glasgow Green over the weekend, with headliners Stormzy, Catfish and the Bottlemen and George Ezra playing to sold-out crowds.
Around 150,000 festivalgoers descended on the event from 12 to 14 July to see acts including Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, the Snuts, Gerry Cinnamon and Years and Years. Organisers confirmed the return of the event immediately after the close of the main stage on Sunday, projecting the 2020 dates onto buildings in the centre of Glasgow.
“After three hugely successful years, Trnsmt is now an established part of Glasgow’s annual cultural calendar,” says festival director and DF Concerts chief executive Geoff Ellis.
“This year’s sold-out festival was the best yet with so many highlights. We can’t wait to return to Glasgow Green next summer for another phenomenal weekend of music.”
“Trnsmt is now an established part of Glasgow’s annual cultural calendar”
The festival was smaller in scale than the 2018 event, which took place over two consecutive weekends. A new addition to the 2019 festival came in the form of the female-only Queen Tut’s stage, which aimed “to close the gender play gap”.
Trnsmt launched in 2017, after DF Concerts put major camping festival T in the Park on hold due to “onerous site restrictions”. Ellis recently confirmed that T in the Park would not be making a return.
“It’s all about Trnsmt for us now,” states Ellis, who last year told IQ that the appetite for large-scale camping festivals in Scotland had declined.
Trnsmt also garnered the support of the local council, with Glasgow city council leader Susan Aitken naming Trnsmt an “integral part” of the city’s offering and commending the “vibrancy and enjoyment” it provides.
Trnsmt 2020 will take place from 10 to 12 July on Glasgow Green.