Cuffe & Taylor’s ‘unique’ touring opportunity
Cuffe & Taylor’s Peter Taylor has told IQ about the company’s “unique” touring opportunity after adding Forest Live to its portfolio and soaring past 120,000 ticket sales for The Piece Hall in Halifax this summer.
The Live Nation promoter has achieved huge success by securing big name acts such as Britney Spears, Lionel Richie, Gary Barlow, Sting, Little Mix and Christina Aguilera for UK towns away from the traditional touring circuit.
The firm programmes all live music events at the 5,500-cap The Piece Hall and 8,000-cap Scarborough Open Air Theatre, both in Yorkshire, UK. It also promotes Lytham Festival and Bedford Park Concerts, in addition to events at Cardiff Castle and Chepstow Racecourse.
Earlier this year, it agreed an exclusive seven-year contract to present Forestry England’s outdoor live music series, Forest Live.
“I think the element of sustainability that we’re bringing to those concerts and the ability to add those to our circuit gives us a unique opportunity that no other promoter in the UK has,” Taylor tells IQ. “We now have the most outdoor venues on a permanent contracted basis, so we’re now the number one outdoor summer concert promoter. We’re hugely excited that adding [Forest Live] to the portfolio gives us a great opportunity to tour an artist and to work with us on an exclusive basis.”
“We can play the big venues at the weekend and do midweeks in some of the smaller venues, which really helps artists”
Taylor feels the 6,000-10,000-capacity range represents the company’s “sweet spot”.
“We’ve still got our 15 to 20,000 and our 20 to 30,000 [venues], so we’ve kind of got something for everybody,” he says. “We can play the big venues at the weekend and do midweeks in some of the smaller venues, which really helps artists touring on the road. We’re in a really unique position.”
This year’s Lytham Festival in Lancashire featured headline sets by Def Leppard & Motley Crue, Jamiroquai, George Ezra, Sting and Lionel Richie, while Scarborough Open Air Theatre’s summer season has included gigs by Hollywood Vampires, Pulp, Rag’N’Bone Man and Blondie.
Elsewhere, The Piece Hall is set for its biggest ever year after ticket sales for this summer programme smashed the 100,000 mark. The West Yorkshire venue welcomes Limp Bizkit tomorrow, with Boygenius set to perform two dates from 22-23 August, before its 2023 line-up closes with Orbital (25 August) and The Charlatans and Johnny Marr (26 August).
Cuffe and Taylor, which was founded by Taylor and co-owner Daniel Cuffe, was acquired by Live Nation in 2017 and secured an exclusive five-year deal to programme live music events in the courtyard of The Piece Hall – the world’s only remaining Georgian cloth hall – in 2022.
“It’s taken on a life of its own and I think that’s down to that space and how unique it is”
“I don’t think I’ve ever done as many shows in the second year at a new venue,” says Taylor. “It’s got 22 shows this year [compared to] 12 last year, so it’s been quite a jump, but the thing about this venue, and you don’t take it for granted, is that the audience are incredibly engaged. It’s been a case of you put a show on and it sells out.
“Agents are starting to hear about the place and now, certainly from this year and even more for next year, they’re coming to us. It’s taken on a life of its own and I think that’s down to that space and how unique it is. I would like to hope that in a few years, The Piece Hall is seen as the UK’s premier outdoor music venue. It’s in a league of its own.”
Acts to have performed at the site from June to August include Queens of the Stone Age, George Ezra, Sting, Madness and James.
“The people who buy the tickets seem to crave different things,” adds Nicky Chance-Thompson MBE DL, CEO of The Piece Hall Charitable Trust. “This year, we had Boygenius, Queens of the Stone Age, Sting, Madness, and all of them sold out. There’s something about being in this beautiful building and enjoying the concert that really resonates with people.
“It’s often said to me by local people, ‘I can’t believe who you’ve brought to Halifax.’ But I’ve always thought the venue, the town and the borough deserve it. It is an amazing building, being utilised in the right way – a living heritage, as opposed to museum heritage.”
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.