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Hardee, SJM, Ticketmaster triumph at MW Awards

Wasserman Music agent Alex Hardee, SJM Concerts and Ticketmaster were among the winners in the live categories at last night’s Music Week Awards in London.

Hosted by comedian, presenter and TikTok star Munya Chawawa, the event took place at Battersea Evolution and was attended by more than 1,400 industry guests.

Hardee, whose roster includes the likes of Bastille, Sia, Liam Gallagher, London Grammar, Grace Jones, Lewis Capaldi, Kacey Musgraves, and Rag’n’Bone Man, danced onto the stage to collect the award for Live Music Agent of the Year. After cutting a flurry of trademark jokes, Hardee showed his serious side by dedicating the honour to the late Steve Strange.

“He was from a place in Belfast where it was so rough you looked overdressed with both your ears, and he became one of the biggest agents in the world,” said Hardee. “I’d like to dedicate this award to him. Steve, we love you.”

Elsewhere, SJM Concerts retained the Live Music Promoter of the Year prize and Ticketmaster UK was named Ticketing Company of the Year.

“Ticketing is a tough business, and I’m delighted we’ve found a way to work together to build something truly special for fans”

In addition, AXS and The O2 claimed Live Music Innovation of the Year for AXS Mobile ID. Through their collaboration, customers who purchase from other agents can now instantly receive and access their tickets through The O2’s venue app.

“We are honoured to win this award together with our friends at The O2, but we also share this recognition with our new partners at Ticketmaster, See Tickets, Gigantic, Eventim and Ticketzone,” said AXS UK MD Chris Lipscomb. “Ticketing is a tough business, and I’m delighted we’ve found a way to work together to build something truly special for fans.”

Adam Pearson, commercial director at The O2, added: “This project has been a real team effort and the recognition for this award should absolutely go to every single person who has played a part in getting us to this stage.”

Meanwhile, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) CEO Mark Davyd picked up the Grassroots Venue: Spirit of the Scene award on behalf of Hull’s 200-cap The New Adelphi Club, accompanied by Elbow frontman Guy Garvey.

“None of these guys are in it for the money and they all deserve our support and our protection”

Both took the opportunity to extol the virtues of MVT’s recently announced Music Venue Properties (MVP) initiative to buy the freehold of grassroots music venue properties.

“We can between us really simply become shareholders,” said Garvey. “If you’re in a position of power in any of the big, powerful companies in this room, you could make sure that everybody who works for you is a share owner in the Music Venue Trust initiative Own Our Venues. We could stop the very feeding cycle, that makes sure that we all live and work and love in this beautiful industry, being under threat constantly because none of these guys are in it for the money and they all deserve our support and our protection.”

Other notable winners included Elton John’s managers David Furnish and Rachael Paley of Rocket Entertainment, who won Manager of the Year, while music industry pioneer Jamal Edwards, who died in February aged just 31, was recognised with a special award accepted by his mother, Brenda Edwards.

The night’s final award, The Strat, which honours an industry icon, went to legendary publicist Barbara Charone. The MBC PR co-founder was presented with the gong by Warner Music CEO, Recorded Music, Max Lousada, with star clients such as Madonna, James Blunt, Metallica’s Lars Ulrich and Olly Murs giving video tributes.

 


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SJM’s Chris York honoured at 2022 Arthur Awards

SJM Concerts’ Chris York took home the Bottle Award for lifetime achievement as the cream of the international live music industry turned out in force for the 2022 Arthur Awards.

The awards and Gala Dinner returned in-person to its old stomping grounds, Grade II-listed ballroom Sheraton Grand Park Lane in London, for the first time in two years.

Hosted once again by Emma Banks of CAA, the biggest ever Arthurs paid tribute to a dozen of the industry’s trailblazers, in front of 400 industry professionals.

Rounding off the night, York name-checked SJM boss Simon Moran for changing the course of his life and paid tribute to late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins in a moving acceptance speech after being presented with the evening’s top honour by WME agent Lucy Dickins.

York is one of SJM’s four directors alongside Moran, Rob Ballantine and Glenn Tyrrell, and has worked with the likes of Oasis, Foo Fighters, Massive Attack, Stereophonics, Lily Allen, Smashing Pumpkins, Underworld, Fatboy Slim, Green Day, Placebo, Lorde, Robert Plant, Morrissey, Kraftwerk, Swedish House Mafia, and The Chemical Brothers across his 30-year career.

Other winners at the Oscars of the live music business included AEG Presents’ Simon Jones (Promoters’ Promoter), FKP Scorpio chief Folkert Koopmans (Festival Organiser’s Organiser), Mike Malak of Paradigm (Second Least Offensive Agent), Ticketmaster’s Sarah Slater (Golden Ticketer) and LIVE co-founders Phil Bowdery and Stuart Galbraith (Unsung Hero).

In full, the Arthur Awards 2022 winners are…

FIRST VENUE TO COME INTO YOUR HEAD
The O2, London

MOST PROFESSIONAL PROFESSIONAL
Sarah Martin, WME

THE PROMOTERS’ PROMOTER
Simon Jones, AEG Presents

THE PEOPLE’S ASSISTANT
Claire Macleod, X-ray Touring

FESTIVAL ORGANISER’S ORGANISER
Folkert Koopmans, FKP Scorpio

THE GOLDEN TICKETER
Sarah Slater, Ticketmaster

SECOND LEAST OFFENSIVE AGENT
Mike Malak, Paradigm Agency

SERVICES ABOVE & BEYOND
TAIT Towers

THE UNSUNG HERO
Phil Bowdery & Stuart Galbraith, CPA/LIVE

TOMORROW’S NEW BOSS
Dan Roberts, Live Nation (UK)

THE WINNER TECHS IT ALL
LIVENow

THE BOTTLE AWARD
Chris York, SJM Concerts

 


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Live music business remembers Taylor Hawkins

Foo Fighters star Taylor Hawkins has been remembered by the international live music world following his death aged 50.

The Texan drummer died on Friday (25 March) at a hotel in Bogota, Colombia, where the band had been due to headline Festival Estereo Picnic. His cause of death has not yet been established.

The band, whose remaining South American tour date at Lollapalooza Brazil in Sao Paulo was also cancelled, released a statement speaking of their devastation. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever,” they said.

Chris York, director of Foo Fighters’ longtime UK promoter SJM Concerts, is among the many touring execs to pay tribute.

“I share with my colleagues at SJM Concerts the deepest sadness at the tragic death of Taylor,” he tells IQ. “Over the last 25 years we have helped share the Foo Fighters’ global success. Taylor’s extraordinary musicianship, tremendous character and huge warmth was writ large. He was a force of nature.

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and bandmates at this time of unimaginable loss.”

Live Nation mourned the loss of “one of rock music’s greatest drummers”. “Our hearts go out to his family, the band, and fans around the world as we all mourn this heartbreaking loss,” the company tweeted.

“We are grateful for all the unforgettable concert moments he gave us”

Hawkins, who also performed and recorded with his Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders side project, was a touring drummer for artists such as Alanis Morissette prior to joining the Foos in 1997.

Australia’s Frontier Touring writes: “Vale Taylor Hawkins. Our hearts are breaking for his family and friends,” while FKP Scorpio, whose relationship with the band dates back quarter of a century, says it is “shocked and saddened”.

“We are grateful for all the unforgettable concert moments he gave us: his drum solos and singing instruments, his humour and his laughter,” it says on Facebook. “Thank you for the music, Taylor! Now you can play the beat in the big band of Freddie Mercury, John Bonham and all the other genius musicians who have already gone ahead. The memory remains for us. Our thoughts are with Taylor’s family, his friends, companions and of course the band and crew.”

In a lengthy tribute, concert series Austin City Limits, which has hosted the Foo Fighters on two previous occasions, says Hawkins “radiated enthusiasm and pure rock & roll energy”.

“We were looking forward to seeing him again when the band returned for their next taping,” it says. “But mostly we’re sending our thoughts and love out to his family and his bandmates, and we’re mourning our friend. May he rest in peace.”

Swiss promoter Good News Production posts: “We’re still a little blown away by the news from last Saturday’s tragic and far too early death of Taylor Hawkins. Over the years, we were allowed to accompany the Foo Fighters on several occasions, not least in summer 2018 at their show at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.

“Taylor’s open, vivid and cheerful style was not only on stage incredibly contagious and we will always remember him as the wonderful person and outstanding musician he was.”

The firm acknowledged the “uncertainty” over the group’s remaining 2022 concerts and says it will update fans in “due time”.

Foo Fighters have North American dates scheduled for April/May, with European festival and stadium shows lined up for the summer. The tour is then slated to return to the US before heading to Australia and concluding in New Zealand in December.

 


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The New Bosses: Remembering the class of 2021

The 14th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses celebrated the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honoured no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.

The year’s distinguished dozen comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:

Subscribers can read full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.

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:

 

 


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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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SJM’s Chris York awarded for ‘outstanding contribution’

SJM Concerts’ Chris York has been presented with the National Arenas Association’s 2021 award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Live Entertainment Industry’.

York was presented the award by the NAA and Liam Gallagher at the artist’s show for NHS workers, which took place at the O2 in London last month.

The award was given to York in recognition of his influential work in the music industry, and longstanding relationship with Liam Gallagher, as well as many other chart-topping artists.

John Drury, VP & general manager at The SSE Arena Wembley, on behalf of the NAA says: “It’s fitting that Chris York should be given his NAA Award by Liam, one of the UK’s biggest artists. The 2021 award honours Chris for the huge contribution he’s made to live music in the NAA arenas.

“His passion and commitment to the industry have always been reflected in the very high regard in which he’s held by everyone he works with – it’s an honour to recognise that now.”

“His passion and commitment to the industry have always been reflected in the very high regard in which he’s held by everyone”

Chris York, SJM Concerts added: “I was genuinely touched to receive the NAA award in recognition of the decades of toil in live music, with the great team of SJM Concerts behind me. It means a lot. It’s a great business and one I hope to see bounce back strongly again. Thank you for thinking of me.”

York has worked with the likes of Noel Gallagher, Foo Fighters, Massive Attack, Stereophonics, Lily Allen, Smashing Pumpkins, Underworld, Fatboy Slim, Green Day, Placebo, Lorde, Robert Plant, Morrissey, Kraftwerk, Swedish House Mafia, and The Chemical Brothers, among others.

He is also one of SJM’s four directors alongside Moran, Rob Ballantine and Glenn Tyrrell.

The National Arenas Association (NAA) brings together 23 arenas across the UK and Ireland.

 


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SJM Concerts partners with Twickets

Twickets has been appointed the official resale partner of SJM Concerts’ Gigs and Tours.

The partnership with SJM, one of the UK’s leading concert promoters, will provide a fan-friendly resale option for all tickets purchased through Gigsandtours.com, allowing users to list tickets for sale via Twickets’ website or mobile app at no more than the price originally paid.

Launched in 2016, Twickets has since served as the official resale platform for leading artists including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Foo Fighters, Arctic Monkeys, Mumford & Sons and Elton John. It now attracts more than three million users to its ticket marketplace every year.

“Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice”

“We continue to strive to not only offer our customers an efficient and straightforward purchasing experience, but also help them when things don’t go to plan,” explains SJM Concerts’ Matt Woolliscroft. “Providing a safe, secure and easy way to resell tickets is best practice and yet another step Gigsandtours.com is taking to innovate and improve concertgoing.”

Twickets founder Richard Davies says: “The UK is in the midst of a market shift away from rip-off secondary ticketing platforms and towards consumer-friendly resale services. I am proud Twickets is at the forefront of this change, and delighted we can bring our expertise in resale to such an important player in the UK music scene. Our goal is always to improve the ticket buying experience, fill venues and keep customers happy.”

 


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Virgin Fest to debut in LA in 2020

Marking the 50 year anniversary of the Virgin brand, the inaugural Virgin Fest will take place on 6 and 7 June 2020 at the Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California.

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and CEO Jason Felts confirmed the venue and date of the weekend event yesterday (11 December).

The announcement follows Felts’ September acquisition of US festival brand Kaaboo.

The LA festival will take place across multiple stages throughout the 160-acre outdoor space of Exposition Park and 22,000-capacity indoor California Stadium. The line-up is due to be announced in early 2020, along with ticket sales.

“My love of music led me to start Virgin Records nearly five decades ago. I’m thrilled that Virgin’s musical heritage lives on through Virgin Fest,” comments Branson. “We look forward to bringing Virgin’s expertise in customer experience, innovation and entertainment to our festival in Los Angeles, a place that has always been very near and dear to my heart.”

“I’m thrilled that Virgin’s musical heritage lives on through Virgin Fest”

Virgin was formerly involved with the UK’s V Festival, promoted by Live Nation, Metropolis Music, MCD Productions and SJM Concerts. The brand ended its partnership with the event in 2017.

The year after V’s end, Branson revealed plans for a US festival, “an innovative, multi-experiential” event which would focus on “music, exploration, innovation and generosity”.

Environmental initiatives also form a major part of Virgin Fest, which will include a ban on single-use plastics, a reusable cup deposit scheme and the use of renewable energy sources such as biofuels and solar power.

“With a focus purely on people and planet, I am proud to launch a first of its kind music and tech experience built upon a foundation of positivity, equality and unmatched hospitality,” says Felts.

“We hope to uplift our shared humanity by igniting a spirit of community for all, so that our fans feel welcomed, safe and free to enjoy the experience through music and forward thinking regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, religion, political party or disability.”

More information on the line-up, ticket sales and VIP offerings will be available here.

VIRGIN FEST | JUNE 6 + 7 2020 | LOS ANGELES from Virgin Fest on Vimeo.

 


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LN, SJM acquire UK’s Rewind Festival

Live Nation’s LN-Gaiety Holdings and SJM Concerts have jointly acquired a controlling stake in the UK’s Rewind Festival, the ’80s themed music festival which takes place annually in Henley-on-Thames (Rewind South) and Cheshire (Rewind North), England, and Perthshire, Scotland (Rewind Scotland).

First held in 2009 (as ‘80s Rewind Festival’), Rewind was formerly owned by Impresario Festivals and was acquired by Global in October 2016. It was one of a handful of events not acquired by either Broadwick Live or Superstruct Entertainment when Global divested its festival assets earlier this year.

Artists who played Rewind 2019 include Thin Lizzy (Rewind North), UB40 (North and South), Bryan Ferry (Scotland), Bananarama (North), Michael Bolton (South) and Foreigner (Scotland).

The festivals will return next summer.

 


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See Tickets launches secure digital tickets

See Tickets has launched a secure, non-transferable digital ticketing system to help combat the secondary market.

Each digital ticket features a dynamically refreshing barcode which is uniquely tied to a customer’s user account, mobile device and See Tickets app. Once at the venue, See’s access control system will decrypt the unique barcode to allow entry.

Customers can purchase tickets with digital delivery options as usual via the See Tickets website.

“The launch of digital tickets is a major milestone in our persistent anti-secondary market strategy as we now have a secure ticketing solution we can offer to our clients to use at any venue, on any show,” says Rob Wilmshurst, chief executive of See Tickets.

The move has been praised by anti-tout campaign group FanFair Alliance.

“The launch of digital tickets is a major milestone in our persistent anti-secondary market strategy”

“We welcome See Tickets’ continued efforts to keep tickets in the hands of genuine customers by investing in the development of secure, anti-tout technology,” comments campaign manager Adam Webb. “It should make the ticket purchasing and venue entry process safer, faster and more consumer-friendly.”

See Tickets launched the UK’s first integrated face-value ticket resale service, Fan-to-Fan, in 2017, selling more than 35,000 tickets through the site since then. See has rolled out anti-secondary market initiatives for artists including Ed Sheeran and the Arctic Monkeys and developed the photo ID registration system with Glastonbury.

See Tickets’ music client list includes Glastonbury, SJM Concerts, Kilimanjaro, Universal Music Group, Alexandra Palace, One Inch Badge and Communion Music.

Digital tickets will be used for the first time for Declan McKenna’s tour, which goes on sale on Friday 6 September at 8 a.m. (BST). Tickets for the four-date tour are priced from £16.50.

 


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