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Arlo Parks latest act to cancel shows over mental health

Arlo Parks is the latest artist to call off tour dates due to mental health concerns, following similar cancellations from Shawn Mendes, Sam Fender, Russ, Wet Leg and Disclosure.

“I find myself now in a very dark place, exhausted and dangerously low,” reads a statement posted on Parks’ social media accounts.

The British singer-songwriter began the North American leg of her ‘Collapsed in Sunbeams’ tour at the start of this month, but said that her mental health has “deteriorated to a debilitating place” and left her “burnt out”.

Parks has subsequently cancelled eight dates scheduled from 14 to 24 September but has promised to resume the tour next week starting with her 26 September date at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon.

“I pushed myself unhealthily, further and harder than I should’ve”

From there, the singer is slated to deliver six more shows and conclude the tour on 12 October. Read Parks’ full statement below.

“I’ve been on the road on and off for the last 18 months, filling every spare second in between and working myself to the bone. It was exciting and I was eager to grind and show everyone what I was capable of, how grateful I was to be where I am today. The people around me started to get worried but I was anxious to deliver and afraid to disappoint my fans and myself.”

“I pushed myself unhealthily, further and harder than I should’ve. I find myself now in a very dark place, exhausted and dangerously low – it’s painful to admit that my mental health has deteriorated to a debilitating place, that I’m not okay, that I’m a human being with limits.

“With that in mind I’m having to cancel the shows from Boston to Salt Lake City and recommence the tour in Portland. I don’t take decisions like this lightly but I am broken and I really need to step out, go home and take care of myself. I will do everything I can to make this up to you – for now you can get refunds at your point of purchase.

I’m forever thankful to everyone who continues to show up for me, what a dream to have fans like you guys – I’ll be back. Love AP.”

 


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Sam Fender cancels US dates, citing mental health

British singer-songwriter Sam Fender has cancelled his upcoming US tour dates, citing mental health concerns.

The 28-year-old from Newcastle announced that he is “taking some time off the road” to look after his mental health, after admitting that he was “burnt out” from touring.

The news comes soon after Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes cancelled the remaining dates on Wonder: The World Tour to focus on his wellbeing.

Fender’s scrapped US dates include three remaining headline shows in the US, support slots with Florence and the Machine, and a performance at Life is Beautiful festival in Las Vegas.

“It seems completely hypocritical of me to advocate discussion on mental health and write songs about it if I don’t take the time to look after my own mental health,” reads a statement on Fender’s social media channels.

“It’s impossible to do this work on myself while on the road”

“I’ve neglected myself for over a year now and haven’t dealt with things that have deeply affected me. It’s impossible to do this work on myself while on the road, and it’s exhausting feigning happiness and wellness for the sake of business. My friends and colleagues have been worried about me for a while and it’s not going to get better unless I take the time to do so.”

Apologising to fans, Fender has also cancelled a number of rescheduled UK record store dates. However, the singer-songwriter said that he is “super excited” for his Australia dates in November and “everything to come in 2023″.

Earlier this month, Fender announced a 2023 headline show at St James’ Park in his hometown of Newcastle. He will become the first Geordie to top the bill at Newcastle United Football Club’s ground.

Fender’s agent Paul Wilson spoke to IQ earlier this year about the artist’s long-term ambition to perform at St. James’ Park, among other things.

 


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Sam Fender to play historic gig at St. James’ Park

Sam Fender is to become the first Geordie artist to headline St James’ Park in his hometown of Newcastle, UK.

The North Shields singer-songwriter says it is “a dream come true” to announce a show at the 55,000-capacity football stadium, home to Premier League club Newcastle United.

The 28-year-old’s historic concert is set to take place on 9 June 2023, with support from Inhaler and Holly Humberstone.

It will see Fender follow in the footsteps of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones and Ed Sheeran who have all performed at St. James’ Park.

“Ever since I started this band, I always used to joke with the boys that one day we might play St James’ Park in Newcastle,” says Fender.

“This is literally [going to] be the biggest show we’ve ever done – our first stadium show”

“This is literally [going to] be the biggest show we’ve ever done – our first stadium show, which is so weird to say. I can’t wait, it’s gonna be absolutely lush and I hope to see you all there.”

Fender has won two Brit awards, the critics’ choice rising star in 2019 and best rock/alternative singer in 2022, both of which have been turned into beer hand pulls at the Low Lights Tavern in North Shields, where he worked and was discovered at the age of 18.

Both his albums, 2019’s Hypersonic Missiles and 2021’s Seventeen Going Under topped the UK charts, and he had supported the likes of The Killers and The Rolling Stones before headlining a sell-out 45,000 crowd in London’s Finsbury Park in June this year.

Fender’s agent Paul Wilson spoke to IQ earlier this year about the Finsbury Park show and the artist’s long-term ambition to perform at St. James’ Park.

 


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CAA’s Paul Wilson on Sam Fender’s global breakout

Sam Fender’s agent Paul Wilson has spoken to IQ about the BRIT Award winner’s international ambitions ahead of his biggest headline show to date this summer.

The singer-songwriter tours venues such as Halle 62 in Zurich, AFAS Live in Amsterdam and Zenith in Munich in May, and also has festival slots lined up at Southside, Hurricane and Rock Werchter, prior to headlining London’s 40,000-capacity Finsbury Park on 15 July.

“We managed to get in a small Berlin show and an Amsterdam show before the end of last year, and then we were going to do more shows in Paris and Holland in December, which had to be cancelled because of Covid,” CAA’s Wilson tells IQ. “And we had some festivals at the end of last summer.

“We’re going to do shows in May which, fingers crossed, will happen. Then we are playing a whole bunch of key festivals, which were booked on the first album campaign two or three years ago, but never happened, so he’s now going back but he’s returning in a much better position on the back of two albums.”

Originally set for 2020, Fender’s first UK arena run in support of his debut LP Hypersonic Missiles finally took place in autumn 2021.

“He’d sold 60,000 tickets and that was too big a tour just to lose,” explains Wilson. “Obviously, those were people who were super-excited to see him the first album campaign, so we had to see that through. The challenge then was trying to get those shows done as soon as things opened up, but with nobody knowing when that would be, we had to keep moving the dates.

“We ended up doing some of the smaller shows from that tour around some festival runs in August/September, and then we moved the bigger arena shows to November last year.”

“We were into the second album campaign before the first album campaign had played out”

Fender’s acclaimed second album, Seventeen Going Under, was released last October, topping the charts in the UK and reaching the Top 10 in Germany, Switzerland and Ireland. Its success, and the reception to Fender at his festival shows, persuaded Wilson to put the star’s spring 2022 arena tour on sale before the rescheduled 2020/21 dates had taken place.

“We were into the second album campaign before the first album campaign had played out, but it sold out straight away.” he says. “Then, when we were looking at Finsbury Park, for example, the conversations were, ‘Sam’s got to play two nights at Alexandra Palace [10,400-cap] and he’s got to play two Wembley Arena [12,500] shows, that’s too many tickets in order to do Finsbury Park. But a lot of the tickets were sold a long time ago and there was renewed excitement around Sam and the new album.

“We put his arena tour on sale and it sold out straight away, so there were no new tickets. So we thought that Finsbury Park made sense.”

Fender, who also tops the bill at UK festivals Tramlines, Truck and Victorious this July, won the award for Alternative/Rock Act at last week’s BRITs. And after trending on TikTok, he scored a Top 3 hit single in the UK – a rarity for a rock song in the streaming age – with Seventeen Going Under‘s title track.

“It’s opening him up to a whole new audience because that’s come through TikTok and he’s getting really big streaming numbers,” suggests Wilson. “In terms of his live work, all of that single success has been since we put all these shows on sale and sold out, so we haven’t really seen whether that’s had an impact on his crowds yet. We will see that with the shows to come.”

“He’s now moving quite quickly to headline festival status. The key now we’ve reached that point in the UK is to try and achieve that in other territories”

Fender’s long-held ambition to headline St James’ Park in his hometown of Newcastle remains “on the bucket list”, reports Wilson, while his shows supporting The Killers on their 2022 UK stadium tour, originally scheduled for 2020, will be honoured.

“They’re probably going to be slightly different shows now, because there’s going to be a whole stadium who knows who he is, which wouldn’t have been the case when we booked them a couple of years ago,” notes Wilson.

“When he moved up to arena level at the end of last year, that was a big step. That tour was originally going to be a couple of years ago, so it was probably a positive thing from the pandemic that, when they actually happened, he’d played a whole bunch of big festival shows. He was in a position where he was ready to play arenas and he put on a fantastic show.

“It was partly seeing the reaction to those shows that made us think we could go and do something like Finsbury Park – the bigger the show, the better he gets. He enjoys playing for big crowds, which is not the same for every artist, and he’s now moving quite quickly to headline festival status.

“The key now we’ve reached that point in the UK is to try and achieve that in other territories. We need to get back to Europe; he is going to America in August to try and get that started. Then we’re going to try and get into Australia before the end of the year. As the world opens up, we have to get that message internationally so people can see just how good Sam is.”

 


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The perfect storm: Inside the UK’s only live shows

Selling over 72,000 tickets for a concert series that began when live shows in the UK were – strictly speaking – not allowed, is no small undertaking. But then neither is building a new outdoor arena for shows at a time when strict social distancing rules are in place.

All the things that could have gone wrong would’ve gone wrong on the opening weekend but they didn’t,” says Jim Gee, a director at Manchester-based production company, Engine No.4.

Gee and his team have spent the last few months working tirelessly on the launch of the UK’s only major summer concert series of 2020 at the country’s first socially distanced arena in Newcastle. And it’s a remarkable story in a time of lockdowns, postponements and cancellation.

The Virgin Money Unity Arena is set to host 29 events in 26 days, featuring artists including Supergrass, The Libertines and Maximo Park.

Sam Fender opened the series on 11 August with a sold-out show, which Gee deems were an enormous success despite the high stakes. We went from never having done this kind of event before, straight to a full-capacity for the first show but it opened with a bang,” he says.

“We went from never having done this kind of event before, straight to a full-capacity for the first show”

The 2,500-capacity shows are the vision of SSD Concerts boss Steve Davis, with whom Engine No.4 worked on Newcastle-based festival This Is Tomorrow.

Having one pandemic project under their belt already – the UK’s first socially distanced dining concept, Platform 15, at Escape to Freight Island at Depot Mayfield, Manchester – Engine No.4 was the ideal choice for Davis and SSD, and the team set to work on finding the perfect site for the concert series they’d dreamt up.

We looked at various places around Newcastle and the Racecourse ticked all the boxes. We needed a big car park capacity, a big arena capacity and a big capacity in between those sites for walking and socially distanced queueing,” explains Gee.

The site features 500 viewing platforms each accommodating up to five people. Attendees were given 20-minute slots in which to arrive, though Gee says that was the only aspect that didn’t quite go to plan on the first night.

Avoiding queues was one of the key factors in the event running smoothly, along with space and sanitation

“The thing that slightly caught us off guard was how quickly people arrived. They were raring to get in ahead of their segmented times so we ended up having slightly longer queues getting into the event than anticipated, but we tweaked that after the first night,” he says.

Avoiding queues was one of the key factors in the event running smoothly, along with space and sanitation, says Gee. And the rest is “purely common sense and over-speccing things”.

“Over-speccing things” meant equipping the arena with 150 hand sanitizer stations; eight food operators; more bar frontage; and approximately four times more toilets than an event of that size would usually require.

But of course, over-estimating facilities is just one of the factors driving up costs for an event like this. “Holding an event for 2,500 with facilities that could normally take 35-40,000 people clearly isn’t a brilliant financial model,” he laughs.

Gee notes that for events like these, commercial support from sponsors like Virgin Money is crucial. He also says that although the financial model of socially-distanced events like this one isn’t sustainable, it is a step closer towards a viable model.

“There was a lot of stakeholders working together in the perfect storm”

“I think you can mitigate those costs in some way with the length of the run,” he says. “What we’ve done here is a bit like the venue model. If you can create a temporary venue and put enough shows into that venue then at some point you might start to break even and maybe make a bit of money but to try and do this for a weekend or a festival or a week doesn’t make sense,” he adds.

The desired time frame was another crucial consideration when choosing the site, says Gee, but the Racecourse was able to provide the licences and planning permission required for the event.

However, the success of the event wasn’t just down to right place, right time. “There was a lot of stakeholders working together in the perfect storm,” says Gee, crediting the enthusiasm of Newcastle City Council, the emergency services, Virgin Money and the artists who have to “buy into the concept”.

According to Gee, the series has been such a success so far, Newcastle City Council has been approached by a number of other local authorities asking for pointers. On top of that, the Department for Culture, Media and Sports and Public Health England has accepted an invitation to view the systems in place.

“A lot of hoops have had to be jumped through to make this work and it isn’t particularly economically sustainable but what we’ve managed to create could be used as a model going forwards,” says Gee.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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UK live music at “record high” £1.1bn value

The live music sector contributed £1.1 billion (US$1.42bn/€1.28bn) to the British economy in 2018 – a 10% year-on-year increase – according to UK Music’s inaugural Music by Numbers report.

Music by Numbers 2019 – which builds on and replaces the umbrella body’s forerunner Measuring Music and Wish You Were Here reports – reveals the UK music industry continued to grow across every sector last year, with live once again leading the charge.

UK Music, which includes the UK Live Music Group, measures the health of Britain’s music business each year by collating data on its contribution in goods and services – known as gross value added (GVA) – to the UK’s gross domestic product (GDP), including export revenue.

The findings of this year’s report include:

GVA from recorded music also rose, by 5% to £535m – remaining at around half the contribution of the live sector – while total record label revenues grew for the third consecutive year (3% in 2018).

“The figures in this report are testament to the outstanding creativity of our world-leading artists”

Employment in live, meanwhile, increased 7% to 30,529.

“Our report reveals firm evidence that the British music industry is in great shape and continuing to lead the world,” comments UK Music CEO Michael Dugher. “The figures are hugely encouraging and show that, as well as enriching the lives of millions of people, music makes an incredible contribution to the UK’s economy.

“Live music is now at a record high and continues to draw millions of fans from both the UK and abroad to our arenas and smaller venues alike.

“Music exports are another amazing success story, with the best of British creative talent being showcased across the globe. However, this is not a time for complacency. We face many challenges to ensure we keep our music industry vibrant, diverse and punching above its weight. 

“Live music is now at a record high and continues to draw millions of fans from both the UK and abroad”

“We need to do more to protect grassroots venues by helping them combat soaring business rates. We need to nurture the talent pipeline, including by reversing the decline of music in education, so that children from every background have access to music. 

“We need to make sure that creators get fair rewards for their content and are not ripped off by big tech. And we urgently need to ensure that the impact of Brexit doesn’t put in jeopardy the free movement of talent, just at the time when we should be looking outwards and backing the best of British talent right across the world.”

The UK live music industry first broke £1bn GVA in 2016, though the 2018 figure is around £100m higher, indicating continued growth.

Writing in the Music by Numbers 2019’s foreword, culture secretary Nicky Morgan pays tribute to emerging British acts including Sam Fender, Dave (pictured) and Little Simz, and says “the figures in this report are testament to the outstanding creativity of our world-leading artists”.

 


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Sam Fender tops March’s Radar Station chart

British singer-songwriter Sam Fender, the 2019 recipient of the Brit Awards Critics’ Choice, tops the table for March, with former Nashville star Lennon Stella holding strong at number two and Mexican-American soul singer Omar Apollo coming third.

IQ’s monthly Radar Station chart uses an algorithm to identify the fastest-growing new artists by analysing data across a number of online platforms, including Spotify, Facebook, Songkick and Last.fm. Last month’s chart-topper was electronic and acoustic fusion artist Still Woozy.

Newcastle, UK-born indie singer-songwriter Sam Fender first came to attention in 2017, when his single ‘Play God’ earned him a place on the list of nominees for the BBC’s Sound of 2018. Fender went on to release his debut EP Dead Boys in November 2018.

This year, Fender won the Brits Critics’ Choice award, joining past winners Adele, Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith. The singer recently announced he will be playing alongside Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Laura Marling in London’s Hyde Park on 12 July.

Fender won the Brits Critics’ Choice award, joining past winners Adele, Florence and the Machine, Ellie Goulding and Sam Smith

Fender is embarking on a European and UK tour this month, ahead of summer festival appearance at Glastonbury, All Points East, Isle of Wight Festival, Lollapalooza and Down the Rabbit Hole, among others.

Canadian singer Lennon Stella of Nashville fame has maintained her position at number two in the Radar Station chart. Stella released her latest single ‘Bitch (takes one to know one)’ on 15 March. The singer has explained that the song is about “girl power” and aims to reclaim the pejoratively used, gendered insult.

Stella is currently touring in the United States, following the release of her debut EP Love, me last year.

Soulful singer-songwriter Omar Apollo released his first EP Stereo in May last year. The bilingual singer, born to Mexican parents in Indiana, has recently moved to Los Angeles and is touring extensively throughout the United States.

The singer, real name Omar Velasco, makes the trip to Europe in June, with dates planned in Norway, Germany, the UK, Spain, France and Belgium.

See the full chart, along with links to artists’ Facebook pages and booking agency details, below.

 

This monthLast monthArtistCountryAgency
16Sam FenderUKCAA
22Lennon StellaUSCAA
316Omar ApolloUSParadigm (USA), Coda (UK & Europe)
415CrumbUSGround Control Touring (USA), ATC Live (Europe)
59Dominic FikeUSUTA
67JpegmafiaUSParadigm (USA), WME (RoW)
738Polo GUSN/A
846Samm HenshawUKCAA
914Tierra WhackUSUTA
104IdlesUKParadigm (USA & Canada), Coda (RoW)
1112DuckwrthUSICM Partners
1296Boy HarsherUSSwamp Booking (Europe), Ground Control Touring (North America)
1381GashiUSN/A
1417Jade BirdUKCoda (UK), Paradigm (USA)
1533ShaedUSParadigm
1660MallratUSN/A
1718Soccer MommyUSHigh Road Touring (North America), ATC Live (Europe)
1829Flora CashSEParadigm (Americas), UTA (RoW)
1950BadflowerUSAPA
2032Jakob OgawaNorParadigm (Americas), Primary Talent (RoW)

 


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