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Top UK festivals report strong ticket sales

BST Hyde Park, TRNSMT and Lytham festivals have all reported strong sales following another huge weekend of live music in the UK.

Held for the first time since 2019, AEG’s 65,000-cap BST series in London expanded to three weekends, selling 530,000 tickets across nine shows and welcoming a further 70,000 people to its Open House programme of free events between the weekends.

Adele, the Rolling Stones and Pearl Jam each headlined two nights, with Elton John, Eagles and Duran Duran also headlining shows. Support acts included Pixies, Stereophonics, Johnny Marr, Cat Power, Laura Mvula and Phoebe Bridgers.

“The demand for tickets was huge and we are very proud to have sold out the series”

“Like everyone in the festival business and across live music we are so happy to be back doing what we love and seeing music fans experiencing these great shows,” says AEG European Festivals CEO Jim King. “The calibre of artists we have had in Hyde Park was incredible with so many outstanding performances. The demand for tickets was huge and we are very proud to have sold out the series.”

In Scotland, DF Concerts’ three-day TRNSMT in Glasgow hosted 50,000 fans per day to see homegrown headliners Lewis Capaldi and Paolo Nutini, plus The Strokes and a supporting line-up including Sam Fender, Foals, Wolf Alice, Nile Rodgers + Chic, The Snuts, DMA’s and Sigrid.

“What an incredible weekend we’ve had,” says festival director Geoff Ellis. “We had the sun shining on Glasgow Green, a fantastic line up of over 70 artists across four stages and 50,000 incredible fans every day – we really couldn’t have asked for more.”

“TRNSMT marks the halfway point in Scotland’s record-breaking summer of music”

DF pressed ahead with a UK-heavy bill for TRNSMT last September after cancelling in 2020 due to Covid-19, but was able to return to business as usual this year.

“It was great to welcome back international artists to Glasgow Green, but also to see excited music fans enjoying our best homegrown talent, with Paolo Nutini closing day one and The Snuts getting the crowd going on Saturday,” adds Ellis. “TRNSMT marks the halfway point in Scotland’s record-breaking summer of music and I’d like to thank the artists, the fans and everyone who works extremely hard behind the scenes to make this festival happen.”

TRNSMT’s 2023 edition has been confirmed for 7-9 July next year, with ticket prices frozen for a limited time.

“It has taken us three years to bring Lytham Festival back and we came back in style”

Elsewhere, Live Nation’s Cuffe and Taylor attracted almost 200,000 fans over 10 days to its flagship Lytham Festival in Lancashire, which returned from 28 June to 10 July after a three-year absence, headlined by Diana Ross, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, Duran Duran, Nile Rodgers + Chic, Simply Red, Elbow, The Strokes, Alison Moyet and Paul Weller. The 20,000-cap event will revert to five days next year.

“More than 30 artists presenting 10 nights of live music has been absolutely phenomenal,” says co-founder Peter Taylor. “It’s taken us three years to bring Lytham Festival back and we came back in style. It has also been an absolute joy to see tens of thousands of people joining together with their friends and family to experience some of the best nights of their lives.”

The latest success comes on the heels of what is believed to be the Britain’s biggest weekend of live music ever at the end of June, with more than one million people attending concerts.


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Cuffe and Taylor: ‘Business has bounced back’

The director of Live Nation-owned UK promoter Cuffe and Taylor has told IQ that business is bouncing back strongly from the pandemic.

Cuffe and Taylor, who have staged tours with superstars such as Britney Spears, Rod Stewart, Mariah Carey and Little Mix, curate Lancashire’s 20,000-cap Lytham Festival and programme all live music events at the 8,000-cap Scarborough Open Air Theatre in Yorkshire.

The company’s Peter Taylor reports the firm is selling more tickets than ever before.

“We used to be quite reliant on stadium business, but we’ve created a much more sustainable business that isn’t necessarily relying on a headline artist,” Taylor says IQ. “We’re actually selling more tickets overall as a company. We’re on track to sell in excess of 750,000 tickets [this year], and 2023 is going to be in excess of a million tickets, driven by our theatre business and our outdoor venues.

“The demand is there, we actually haven’t seen a slowdown. Even in January, which is traditionally a slightly softer month, we have quite a number of onsales, all of which delivered great ticket sales.

“It’s been incredible how the business has bounced back, how resilient it has been and how it is even stronger now than it was before the pandemic. It’s been crazy busy but, as I remind everybody every day, this is what we wished for.”

After two years on inaction, Cuffe & Taylor’s flagship Lytham Festival is returning as an expanded 10-day event between 28 June and 10 July with headliners Diana Ross, The Strokes, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Duran Duran, Elbow, Simply Red, Tears For Fears and Paul Weller.

In the festival’s absence, the promoter launched the six-day WonderHall at Lytham Hall in 2021, welcoming artists such as Tom Jones, Anne-Marie and Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra. The event will return in 2023.

“This year is a bit of an anomaly in that we’re doing two weeks in Lytham, so we didn’t want to saturate the market and compete against ourselves,” explains Taylor. “But in ’23, we’re going to go back to five nights and bring back WonderHall. We’ll do Lytham Festival at the end of June, beginning of July, and then WonderHall at the end of August.”

The 2022 line-up for Scarborough, meanwhile, kicks off with a sold-out show by Sam Fender on 27 May, with other acts scheduled to include Crowded House (11 June), Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (25 June), Westlife (23 July), Christina Aguilera (2 August) and Lewis Capaldi (11 August).

“When I joined Live Nation I was the only promoter at Cuffe and Taylor. Now, I have a team of five”

“I always think Scarborough is an easy sell for tickets, and it doesn’t take a lot of hard tickets out of the market either because it’s a local audience that are proud that somebody like Christina Aguilera’s coming to the town,” he says. “That being said, clearly we bring people in from outside the area because there’s not a hotel room to be had in Scarborough when the concerts are on and we’re working with the council in Scarborough on a master plan for the area around the Open Air Theatre to kickstart that regeneration.”

Last month, the North West-based promoter also announced it had secured an exclusive deal to programme live music events at The Piece Hall in Halifax. Cuffe & Taylor will co-promote the 5,500-cap venue biggest ever summer season of live music in 2022 with The Piece Hall Trust, with headline shows by Jessie Ware, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra, Tom Grennan, Paloma Faith, Paul Weller, Primal Scream and Tom Jones.

“The venue wanted to look at a different model and we presented to them the opportunity to work with us in a joint venture,” explains Taylor. “Halifax is perfect, because it sits between Lytham and Scarborough and some things that don’t work at Scarborough and Lytham will work at the Piece Hall because of the capacity.

“It’s a great venue and everything that we’ve put in there has sold extremely strongly. We’ve got some other acts to announce, we’ll probably be doing about 16 shows with them this year. And the deal we’ve signed is a five-year agreement, so we’re already well into programming for 2023.”

Taylor reveals the company currently has no plans to revive its Greenwich Music Time London concert series, which was last held in 2019.

“We didn’t do anything in Greenwich for the last couple of years because we felt the market was softer,” admits Taylor. “Never say never, but we’re finding that getting a foothold in the regional venues – where there’s less competition – is actually proving to be our niche. And at the moment, I’m very keen to expand that regional growth into other areas.”

Cuffe and Taylor, which was founded by Taylor and co-owner Daniel Cuffe, recently celebrated five years as part of Live Nation following its 2017 acquisition.

“It’s been a good home for us,” reflects Taylor. “It’s allowed us to have the network of support that Live Nation is able to offer, while allowing me to really focus on building the business. When you’ve got your own business, you’re everything:  the accountant, the lawyer, HR, which doesn’t allow you to focus on developing new business.

“When I joined Live Nation, I was the only promoter [at Cuffe and Taylor]. And now I have a team of five and we’re all on the frontline securing tours, artists and venues, and that has made all the difference.”


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