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Crosstown Concerts embarks on new era

Independent promoter Crosstown Concerts has added four young industry professionals to its team to extend its network of artists and live shows as the firm enters a new era.

Formed by Conal Dodds and fellow director Paul Hutton in 2016, the company has promoted more than 2,000 live shows across the UK with a focus on nurturing a loyal stable of artists and “protecting fans from the excesses of the secondary ticketing market”.

With Hutton now planning to step back to an advisory role, the firm says it is looking forward to a new era bolstered by an injection of fresh talent in promoters Hayley Thompson, Richard Walsh, Simon “Blaze” Bailey and Danny Morris.

“I was keen to introduce new voices into Crosstown that face the future”

“Promoting live music has never been more vibrant, as we rise from the turmoil of the pandemic to shape a new landscape,” says Dodds. “I was keen to introduce new voices into Crosstown that face the future. This new breed of promoters each bring their own passion, individual ideas and ambitions that will bring progression to our business, the artists and fans.

“Paul Hutton is stepping back from front line promoting from the end of March to take up an advisory consultancy role, so our new team is the way forward for Crosstown. We celebrated our seventh anniversary in business earlier this month and we look forward to the next seven.”

Thompson ran her own website, Music Festival News, before joining Crosstown as a freelance digital marketer in 2017 and was upped to head of marketing in 2020 before she began booking and promoting her own shows for Crosstown. Her debut showcase event Do It Without You begins on April 18th at The Lexington in London, featuring upcoming talent including Bekah Bossard, Rosie Shaw and Harriet Rock.

Walsh, who joined Crosstown as a national promoter in January, helmed early releases with Porridge Radio, The Orielles and The Golden Dregs via his own Art is Hard label, before making the switch to promoting in Bristol. For six years, his company, 1% of One, staged shows with the likes of Weyes Blood, Alex G, Bill Callahan, Mitski, Yard Act and Black Country, New Road. During this time, Walsh also founded Factor 50, managing the careers of Katy J Pearson, Happyness and Young Knives, alongside working as an assistant on the Adam Buxton podcast.

Bailey, aka Blaze, brings over a decade of promoting experience, starting his career in the booking team at Wolverhampton Civic Halls in the late 2000s. He has also worked in venue, artist and tour management.

Bailey founded Future Perfect in 2015, bringing artists such as Loyle Carner, IDLES, Tom Grennan, Slowdive, Easy Life, Dermont Kennedy, Courtney Barnett to Oxford. He has worked with Crosstown since 2018 and promotes the likes of Katy J Pearson, Pale Blue Eyes, Kurt Vile, DIIV, Bellowhead, Thea Gilmore, Easy Star All-Stars and The Comet Is Coming. In 2020, he launched Ritual Union Festival in Bristol in collaboration with Walsh and will promote more than 150 shows in 2023.

Morris, meanwhile, started out booking the likes of Idles, Catfish & The Bottlemen and Bill Ryder Jones into grassroots indie venues. Moving over to the Preston Guild Hall as the in-house promoter, booking artists such as White Lies, Bowling for Soup, Pigeon Detectives, Soul II Soul and British Sea Power.

After a brief stint working for VMS Live, he moved over to TEG MJR, where he promoted 300-plus gigs a year, and worked with the likes of De La Soul, Dinosaur JR, Eagles of Death Metal, Kiefer Sutherland, Alfa Mist, Starsailor and Red Rum Club. He moved to Crosstown in 2022, where he promotes UK tours for the likes of The Sherlocks, Badly Drawn Boy, John Cooper Clarke and Max Cooper.


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Crosstown Concerts launches artist management company

British promoter Crosstown Concerts has launched an artist management division, joining forces with Cliff Jones and Mark Bowers (the latter formerly a colleague of Crosstown founders Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds at Metropolis Music) to create Crosstown Management.

The new division – which the company says gives Crosstown a talent development arm that will be “important to its growth plans in the coming years” – is initially looking after artists including Keir, Mauwe, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and, in partnership with Ian Mizen and James Dawson of Jax Management, Paris Youth Foundation.

“The Crosstown team has a heritage in artist management as well as promoting, so it’s great to have that part of the business launched and some great up-and-coming artists under our umbrella already breaking through in the European market,” comments Dodds.

“It’s great to have some great up-and-coming artists under our umbrella already breaking through in the European market”

“We are looking at a huge number of touring dates and festivals this summer under the Crosstown umbrella and we’re inviting artists looking for representation to get in touch, as we are looking at expanding the roster during 2018.”

Adds Bowers: “We are delighted to join Crosstown and launch this new management company. We share a great passion for developing artists and for giving fans a great experience.”

Crosstown Concerts was launched by Hutton and Dodds, both former directors of Metropolis Music, and hotel owner Fraser Duffin in September 2016. Upcoming tours for 2018 include Belle and Sebastian, Franz Ferdinand, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Jack White, the Wombats, the Vaccines and George Ezra, along with festivals Bristol Sounds and the Downs Festival Bristol.


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Crosstown Concerts takes on OnBlackheath

OnBlackheath, the south London festival organised since its 2014 launch by Harvey Goldsmith CBE, has a new promoter.

As of this September, the festival is presented by fledgling promoter Crosstown Concerts – the new venture launched last September by former Metropolis Music directors Paul Hutton and Conal Dodds – although the relationship stretches back far earlier, Hutton tells IQ.

“There’s lots of history there,” he explains. “We [Metropolis] were going to go for it before Harvey Goldsmith, but for various reasons it didn’t happen.”

Hutton emphasises that the decision to take on the festival – which follows Massive Attack at the Bristol Downs last September and Bristol Sounds, scheduled for 21–24 June at the 20,000-cap. Canon’s Marsh Amphitheatre, as its third major open-air event – was primarily “artist-led”: “The value we bring to it is that we’re contemporary promoters,” he comments. “The agents and artists we work with, a decent chunk of them would fit bill for this event… As a promoter you do what the acts want to do.”

“We get approached all the time, two to three times a year, by someone who has a bit of a land – a football club, a stately home, a load of fields – and they say, ‘Why don’t you do a festival here?’,” Hutton continues. “We say, ‘Yeah, okay, you tell us who you want to play in your field 15 miles from anywhere!’

“We’ve had really positive feedback from artists. It’s gradually becoming part of the calendar”

“If we have someone really famous that comes to us and says, ‘We want to do a show in a field in Sussex’, that’s one thing – but you can’t just ring an agent and say, ‘Do you your acts want to play in a field in Sussex?’. Unless you offer them a huge amount of money, of course – in which case people will play anywhere…”

While already successful, Hutton says OnBlackheath – created three years ago by partners Tom Wates, Alex Wicks and Terry Feldgate – “needs to become the go-to event for the summer for certain artists”. For acts who “don’t fit the Lovebox, Field Day thing, who aren’t big enough to headline Hyde Park”, the 25,000-capacity Blackheath site, split between Greenwich and Lewisham in south-east London, is, he says, the perfect mid-sized city festival venue.

“We’ve had really positive feedback from artists,” Hutton continues. “OnBlackheath is gradually becoming part of the calendar. As years go by, it will, I think, become very much part of people’s thinking. It fits a lot of artists, and it’s a great area.”

The line-up for OnBlackheath 2017, which runs from 9 to 10 September – the same weekend as other end-of-season favourites Bestival and Festival №6 – will be announced next Monday (24 April).


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