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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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The New Bosses: Class of 2021 revealed

The latest edition of IQ‘s New Bosses goes live today, celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honours 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.

Our distinguished dozen this year 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:

As in previous years, full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses will appear online in the coming days and weeks. However, subscribers can read short individual profiles of each New Boss now 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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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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C2C announces 2020 return after record year

Following its best-ever year in 2019, Country to Country (C2C) will return for its eighth outing next March, the festival’s UK and Ireland promoters have announced.

C2C 2019, headlined by country music superstars Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum and Chris Stapleton, took place from Friday 8 to Sunday 10 March. It welcomed 80,000 fans across three venues – the O2 in London, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow and 3Arena in Dublin – in what SJM Concerts’ Chris York, whose company co-promotes the event with AEG, calls its “busiest year yet”.

The festival also expanded to Germany, holding its first German event at AEG’s new Verti Music Hall in Berlin on 3 March, and the Netherlands, with the first C2C Amsterdam, co-promoted with Greenhouse Talent, taking place at AFAS Live (6,000-cap.) the following night.

C2C 2019 welcomed 80,000 fans in London, Glasgow and Dublin

C2C Australia, which has a different line-up, is staged on 28 and 29 September in Sydney and Brisbane, respectively.

The flagship C2C 2020 will take place on 13, 14 and 15 March, returning to London, Glasgow and Dublin, according to AEG and SJM, with earlybird tickets available from this Friday (15 March).

Read IQ’s recent feature on how Country to Country – along with the tireless support of the Country Music Association, radio DJs, local promoters and others – helped country music conquer the world here.

Big country: How country music conquered the world

 


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SJM’s Chris York: becoming the guvnor

The first time that Chris York recalls meeting Simon Moran was at a Levellers concert at London’s Brixton Academy in 1993, promoted by Moran’s company SJM Concerts. “I was there purely as a punter and this man came up to me and berated me for trying to steal his acts,” remembers York with a smile. “I pointed out, probably not as eloquently as I might have done, that that was actually my job seeing as I didn’t technically work for him. He retorted, ‘Well, you should do then.’”

A few months later, York made the 200-mile journey up the M1 from London to Manchester to take up Moran’s offer and join SJM. Back then, there were five of them working out of a nondescript workspace shared with post-punk band The Fall, where the “much-missed” Mark E Smith could regularly be seen “swaying in the lifts in the mornings.”

Fast-forward a quarter of a century to today and SJM employs 65 people, puts on around 2,500 concerts and events a year, and proudly stands as the UK’s biggest independent promoter, with The Stone Roses, Take That, Coldplay, Muse, Robbie Williams, Peter Kay, Adele, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, The Courteeners and Little Mix just a few of the many acts it has worked with in recent years.

“I’ve always felt at home at SJM,” says York, who recently celebrated 25 years at the company that he has played a key role in turning into a promoting powerhouse. “It’s always had the right ethos. We’ve always been artist-focused and tried to develop talent, and I think Simon and I share the right attitude about how we want to take things forward. Certainly, whenever we’ve been recruiting new staff we are always keen to add people who aren’t identical to ourselves. In order for the company to keep progressing and be relevant to new challenges, you’ve got to find people who aren’t doing exactly what you do.”

“In order for the company to keep progressing and be relevant to new challenges, you’ve got to find people who aren’t doing exactly what you do”

“Chris has been a huge part of the SJM story over the last 25 years,” says Moran. “He’s made a massive contribution in all facets of the business – clients becoming bigger, getting and retaining new clients, growing the business and gaining people, [investing in] buildings. He’s a very, very bright guy. He works hard. We’ve become really good friends and we’ve got implicit trust.”

“I think Simon’s style and my style are distinctly different, but they work well together, and I guess the biggest barometer of that is that we have gone on to be a very successful company,” reflects York, whose personal clients include 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. York is also one of SJM’s four directors alongside Moran, Rob Ballantine and Glenn Tyrrell.

Respect and admiration for the 49 year old extends throughout the industry. “Chris is, if not the best, one of the best promoters that I have ever worked with in the world,” says Underworld manager Mike Gillespie, who has known him since the mid-1990s. “He is loyal and sticks with his artists. Whereas a lot of promoters are naturally very cautious and hedge their bets, he is a bold and confident risk taker and is always looking at what the next step can be.

“At the same time, he can be stubborn, belligerent and awkward, but that’s part of what makes him brilliant. He will tell it you like it is and he doesn’t hold back. When you have an act that is doing well people tend to tell you what you want to hear. Chris isn’t one of them, and I really like and respect that. He understands that you’re only as good as your last gig and he’s not afraid to say to the manager or the artist, ‘That’s not good enough.’”

“Chris is, if not the best, one of the best promoters that I have ever worked with in the world. He is loyal and sticks with his artists”

By way of an example, Gillespie turns the clock back five years to when “Underworld had reached a ceiling” in terms of how many tickets they could sell. Through working closely with York over a series of releases and tours they rebuilt momentum and were able to sell-out two nights at London’s 3,000-capacity Roundhouse.

“Chris’s response off the back of that was, ‘Now we do the (10,000-capacity) Ally Pally,’ which really knocked me out,” recalls the manager. The gig sold out six months in advance and Underworld are now selling more tickets in the UK than ever before, he states. “A huge part of that is down to Chris’s willingness to take a risk, his determination to be bold, and his clear vision.”

York-shire
The Roots of York’s promoting career can be traced back to his childhood in Yorkshire where he developed an “unhealthy interest” in music from a young age and became immersed in Leeds’ post-punk and goth scenes as a teenager. To earn some extra cash while studying chemistry at Warwick, he began crewing and stage managing bands that visited the university. That led him to being elected cultural affairs officer in 1989, booking gigs by The Sundays and De La Soul, and gaining a first real taste of how the industry operates.

“It was a steep learning curve initially, but through that I developed good friendships with people that I still work with today,” says York, who moved to London after finishing his studies and spent 18 months as a booker at punk and indie club The Venue in New Cross.

“It was a really exciting time in music and we put some great bands on,” he says, listing memorable shows by Lush, Pulp, Suede, PJ Harvey, New Model Army and Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. The job also saw him establish with Steve Lamacq the inaugural NME On Nights with On For ‘92, which ran at The Venue from 1991 to 1993, later evolving into the NME Awards Brat Bus tours.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 80, or subscribe to the magazine here

Spice Girls confirm Spice World UK stadium tour

Seven years after the Spice Girls’ last live show, and 11 years after their 2007–2008 reunion tour, the world’s most successful girl group are hitting the road once again, today announcing six UK stadium shows in 2019.

Promoted by SJM Concerts, Live Nation and Solo, the Spice World UK tour will initially visit Etihad Stadium in Manchester (1 June 2019), Ricoh Arena in Coventry (3 June), Stadium of Light in Sunderland (6 June), BT Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (8 June), Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol (10 June) and Wembley Stadium in London (15 June).

Owing to Victoria Beckham/Posh Spice’s “business commitments”, the band – managed by Modest! Management and XIX Entertainment – will tour as a four-piece comprising Melanie Brown (‘Scary Spice’), Melanie Chisholm (‘Sporty Spice’), Emma Bunton (‘Baby Spice’) and Geri Horner (née Halliwell, ‘Ginger Spice’). Support will come courtesy of Jess Glynne.

“We are beyond excited to be reuniting next year for a stadium tour,” say the four in a joint statement. “Bringing girl power and our message of friendship and love back to the stage feels more relevant than ever. We hope everyone can join us for one big Spice Girls party.”

“Bringing girl power and our message of friendship and love back to the stage feels more relevant than ever”

“Being in the Spice Girls was a hugely important part of my life, and I wish my girls so much love and fun as they go back on tour,” adds Beckham. “I know they will put on an amazing show, and the fantastic fans past and present are going to have a wonderful time.”

Formed in 1994 by Heart Management’s Bob and Chris Herbert, and signed to Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment, the Spice Girls’ breakthrough came with 1996 debut single, ‘Wannabe’, which topped the charts in 37 countries. Their first album, Spice, sold more than 31 million copies worldwide, and the band went on to become the biggest British pop success since the Beatles, selling more than 85m records globally.

They last toured in 2007 and 2008, with the Return of the Spice Girls tour grossing US$107.2m from ticket sales and merchandising, though they returned for a well-received one-off performance for the London 2012 Olympic Games closing ceremony.

Tickets for Spice World 2019 are on sale this Saturday (10 November) from Ticketmaster and SJM’s Gigs and Tours, with Twickets as the official resale partner.

 


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