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Major music festival on Plymouth Hoe for next year

Four days of epic music, thousands of happy punters at a fabulous world-beating location – Plymouth Hoe will next year play host to a major music festival, Summer Sessions.

A deal been agreed this week with events company Live Nation to bring the best of rock and pop and big names to Plymouth next year – and if popular will become a regular fixture in Britain’s Ocean City’s cracking events calendar.

The company have been successfully running the Lytham Festival for 10 years which attracts 20,000 a day to see the likes of Jamiroquai, Sting, Lionel Richie, George Ezra, Blondie, the Kaiser Chiefs, Def Leppard and Kim Wilde.

Now Live Nation is keen to invest in a long-term strategy to grow an event in partnership with the Council. The deal involves a commercial agreement for up to four consecutive concert days in 2024 with a ticketed capacity of 15,000 to 20,000 per day.  If all goes well in the first year, there’s an opportunity to extend the agreement for up to five years and again for up to 10 years.

Under the conditions of the deal Live Nation would be responsible for the entire set up and organisation of the event with the Council events team offering assistance, access as well as use of Plymouth Hoe.

Council Leader Tudor Evans OBE said: “This is a brilliant deal for Plymouth, for music fans and for the tourist industry who will all benefit from people staying in hotels, drinking at bars and eating out.

“MTV Crashes showed that Plymouth has the wow the factor when it comes to events. It was amazing for our profile and brought in £10 million into the local economy. The Hoe is known around the world, it has stunning views out to sea, to the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park. I can’t think of a better setting for a music event.

“The last few years have been extremely difficult for live music. Costs have massively escalated and risks are high. We have been looking for some time at bringing something special to the Hoe and we think this is it.

“I can’t wait to find out what the line-up will be and am told we only have a few weeks to wait!”

“Summer Sessions has been on the forefront of live music in Scotland for over ten years – it’s a brand and event much loved by artists and music fans alike” added Peter Taylor, Co-Founder, Cuffe and Taylor.

“The Hoe in Plymouth already boasts a rich cultural history, and we’re thrilled to contribute a weekend of world-class live entertainment to the stunning location. This marks just the beginning of our announcements for our first summer in Plymouth, so stay tuned for more updates, and we look forward to welcoming you in 2024.”

Due to the challenging nature of the Hoe as an event site, an investment of around £1.2 million is needed to stage a large live music event. A procurement exercise was carried out in 2019 to find an independent promoter to shoulder this financial risk but no suitable candidates tendered.

The first 1 Big Summer was planned for 2021 after an independent promotor approached the Council, but this was postponed in 2021 due to COVID challenges and held in 2022. The second event was planned for 2023 but cancelled by the promoter due to rising costs, coupled with a lack of early ticket sales.

To develop an annual live music event on the Hoe, stable investment over a period of years is required. The promoter needs to have enough financial backing to make a loss in the early years while the event is establishes itself.

The Council has liaised with Plymouth Culture and local live music promoters, but none had the required investment or funding available to develop an event of this scale.

Live Nation Entertainment is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, LN Media and Artist Nation Management.

The agreement will not require the Council to make any financial investment or take any financial risk. In fact the event could generate an income for the Council from the second year, helping to fund the British Fireworks Championships and Armed Forces Day, keeping these events free for the public.

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