fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

The New Bosses 2021: Paris Harding, SJM

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Anna Parry, programming manager at the O2, London, here.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Harding belongs to a family of musicians, artists and performers, with multiple generations of his family having a presence in and around the industry.

Influenced by the first grime wave, Harding learned to produce music and opened a small recording studio where he worked with local talent, and ultimately landed remix placements with the likes of Wiley, Sneakbo, Dappy, Steve Aoki, Iggy Azalea and others.

Stints as a club DJ introduced him to other emerging acts, prompting him to promote his own events and underground nights, which led to curating line-ups and securing talent for local festivals. His focus then switched to touring and concert promotion and in 2019 he began a new chapter at SJM Concerts.


What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to have many, which have all been relatively important to where I was in life and what my goals were at that time.

I would say the present moment – even as we limp out from a global pandemic – feels like the highlight for me; the artists, tours and projects I’m able to work across on a daily basis whilst being such a fan and follower of the music and culture itself and be able to make a real contribution to it… incredible.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to find a job in live music?
Think laterally; your specialities and skillset can be used and will be needed in numerous ways. Try not to become restricted to the idea of only having one role or path. Say yes to opportunities that feel uncomfortable, pick up the experience and aim to become the nucleus.

“Think laterally; your specialities and skillset can be used and will be needed in numerous ways”

The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you and SJM are taking out of it?
With so much uncertainty and changes made throughout the industry, it has definitely forced us all to be more introspective and compassionate. We’ve had to collectively help each other navigate our way towards normality on a business and personal level, and there’s a much greater sense of unity as a result of this.

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
In the immediate future, maintaining a fluid mindset to how we build our way back to normal. What we’ve experienced in the last 16 months globally means the scaffolding will very likely need to be rebuilt somewhat differently, and we all need to be on board and willing to do that.

“[The industry needs to] maintain a fluid mindset to how we build our way back to normal”

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I want to continue to help bring through new artists and play my part in building their live career experience with the aim of taking them to the highest level possible (with a few arena-level tours under my belt by that time.) I’ve always been involved in the creative process from production, visuals, to release campaigns, so I’d also like to bring those aspects to the table as an all-round offering.

What’s the biggest challenge for you and SJM now that the business is emerging from lockdown restrictions?
I think helping everyone regain confidence in attending shows, managing crowds, performing and travelling safely and successfully. From this, we’ll be able to better play our role in helping the industry thrive again. To achieve this we need patience and a solid end to the year, but things are already looking really positive.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Six countries, one genre: C2C makes 2020 return

AEG’s Country to Country (C2C) festival is returning in 2020 for the eighth edition of its flagship London event, alongside repeat editions in Ireland, Scotland, Germany, the Netherlands and Australia.

Luke Combs, Darius Rucker and Eric Church will headline C2C’s European festivals, alongside acts including the Cadillac Three, Tanya Tucker, Charles Esten, Brett Young and Old Dominion.

International touring series Introducing Nashville will be present at C2C for the first time this year, with acoustic performances from Abby Anderson, Eric Paslay and Tenille Townes.

C2C 2020 will take place from 13 to 15 March in London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, which yesterday (22 October) celebrated reaching 25 million ticket sales. Simultaneous events will take place at Ireland’s 3Arena Dublin (13,000-cap.), promoted by MCD Productions, and the SSE Hydro (13,000-cap.) in Glasgow, Scotland, promoted by DF Concerts.

The country music festival is also returning to Afas Live Amsterdam (6,000-cap.) and AEG’s Verti Music Hall (4,350-cap.) in Berlin, following successful first outings last year. Greenhouse Talent will co-promote C2C Amsterdam, which takes place from 7 to 8 March, with Semmel Concerts taking charge of the Berlin edition on 6 to 8 March.

“C2C Festival 2020 continues to build on the massive success of Country to Country in the UK and across Europe”

“I am so proud to be part of the C2C family,” said Bob Harris OBE, the main stage host of the London event, at C2C’s line-up launch party at Country Music Week, which began on Monday.

“I can’t wait to listen to the best music in the world, enjoy the fantastic atmosphere of the main auditorium, catch the excitement of the pop-up stages and meet the incredible Country fans that make C2C so special.”

Chris York, C2C Festival promoter for SJM Concerts comments: “C2C Festival 2020 continues to build on the massive success of Country to Country in the UK and across Europe. We look forward to seeing all you passionate country fans in March once again.”

Tickets for all C2C’s European events go on sale on Friday 1 November at 10 a.m. (GMT).

More information about C2C Australia, which also returns for its second year in 2020, will be available at a later date. The Australian version of the event, promoted by AEG Presents and TEG Live, takes place in Sydney and Brisbane with a different line-up to other C2C events.

Read more about country music’s rise to global fame here.

Big country: How country music conquered the world


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK stadium success for the Hella Mega tour

The Hella Mega tour, the upcoming world tour jointly headlined by Fall Out Boy, Green Day and Weezer, has sold out multiple stadiums in the UK, shifting 150,000 tickets for its three SJM-promoted British shows next June.

The tour sees the three ’90s/2000s rock icons (all of whom are represented by Jonathan Daniel and Bob McLynn’s Crush Music) heading out on the road together for the first time.

The trio will touch down in Europe on 13 June 2020, playing their first show at Paris’s 40,000-capacity La Défense Arena; the UK dates are at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, London Stadium and John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield, on 24, 26 and 27 June, respectively.

North American dates follow in July and August.

For a full Hella Mega tour itinerary, visit hellamegatour.com.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Olympia London boosts live offering

The 10,000-capacity Olympia London is widening its live music programming, with upcoming performances from Korean-American rapper Jay Park and UK grime artist Skepta.

The historic event space, which first opened its doors in 1886, attracts more than 1.6 million visitors annually.

Investors including Deutsche Finance International and Yoo Capital purchased Olympia in 2017 for €330 million, following reports that the Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) was eyeing up the London venue. MSG unveiled plans for a new future-facing London arena, MSG Sphere, in February.

After a short hiatus, live music programming is again becoming a focus for the venue.

“Olympia London is perfectly placed to host music concerts within our existing calendar of events,” says venue director Gillian Kiamil. “We are fortunate to not only have the flexibility, but also the capacity to welcome up to 10,000 people standing at any single gig.”

“Olympia London is perfectly placed to host music concerts within our existing calendar of events”

Hatsune Miku, a Japanese singing synthesiser taking the holographic form of a blued-haired, 16-year-old girl, played at Olympia in December, followed by former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft in May.

Korean-American hip hop artist Jay Park is performing at the venue as part of his Sexy4eva tour on October 20, before an SJM-promoted Skepta show on November 29.

According to the venue director, concerts are “operationally very different” to other Olympia events, which include trade conference Blockchain Live and the London Dentistry Show. However, adds Kiamil, “the satisfaction we get from seeing fans really enjoying themselves while watching their icons perform live at Olympia London is priceless.”

Over the years, the venue has played host to the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Status Quo, Rod Stewart, the Cure, the Animals and Pink Floyd.

More recent concerts to take place in the venue include the Chemical Brothers in 2008, Bloc Party in 2009 and Primal Scream in 2010.

Tickets for Jay Park and Skepta’s Olympia London shows are priced at £44 and £41.25 respectively.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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

New Bestival owners offer refunds for Camp Bestival 2018

Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM Concerts, the new owners of Camp Bestival, are to provide refunds and discounts on 2019 tickets out of their own pockets for all 2018 ticketholders, after the insurance pay-out from the partial cancellation of Camp Bestival 2018 was lost during the recent administration process.

“The nature of the last few months means that the insurance money that was available to refund 2018 ticketholders, and money from 2019 ticket sales, was entirely lost in the administration,” reads a statement from festival founders Rob and Josie da Bank. The final day of last year’s Camp Bestival was called off due to bad weather.

The festival, founded in 2008 and held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset, on the south coast of the UK, was forced into administration in September. Administrator Begbies Traynor later sold the event’s assets (along with those of Bestival itself, as well as several related companies) to Richmond Group, a company controlled by loans tycoon James Benamor which had previously loaned Bestival a reported £1.6 million.

The following month, Live Nation and SJM acquired those assets from Richmond Group (which had set up a new company called Safe Festivals Ltd, since handed over to LN-Gaiety), securing the future of Camp Bestival.

Since then, all parties have been tight-lipped on the future of the da Banks’ larger annual event, Bestival – though new documents filed by Begbies Traylor reveal Safe Festivals owns Bestival Group Ltd and Bestival Ltd, in addition to Camp Bestival Ltd, meaning the ball is likely in LN/SJM’s court. (Safe Festivals paid £958,824 for the companies, slightly less than the £1.1m reported originally.)

“The new owners, LN-Gaiety and SJM, understand how unfair this feels and as a result have agreed to fund discounts and refunds for 2018”

The documents also show that at the time of the acquisition, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster UK was Bestival Group’s largest known unsecured creditor, being owed £1.2m.

A person with knowledge of the situation says they believe the insurance money is still in the possession of Richmond Group, though this could not be independently verified at press time. IQ has contacted Richmond for comment.

The loss of the insurance money, the da Banks’ statement continues, “is unfair to you, our fans. The new owners, LN-Gaiety and SJM, understand how unfair this feels and as a result have agreed to fund discounts and refunds for 2018 ticketholders, and will honour all existing 2019 tickets.”

Anyone who bought a Sunday 2018 ticket can exchange it for a full refund, or apply for a free day ticket to either the Friday, Saturday or Sunday of Camp Bestival 2019, scheduled for 25–28 July. Those who had a 2018 weekend ticket are being offered a 33% discount on 2019 weekend tickets, to be redeemed via an email code.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.