The Needs Group celebrates record performance in its 10th year

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AN ENTERTAINMENT logistics company has had a record year as it celebrates its 10th year.

The Needs Group, which works with festivals including Glastonbury and Global Gathering, as well as Premier League football clubs, saw 47 per cent growth in the last year.

Its success has seen it add a Gloucester-based office to its Leeds headquarters. With turnover at close to £3m, it is now looking to expand internationally.

Director Matt Cheshire said the company did “very, very well” over the last year.

He said: “We’ve been involved with small, medium and large events around the world and spent most of the summer travelling all over the country for festivals.”

From its initial start in artist services, it provides everything from private jets to furniture for backstage and full tour management for music acts and support in live television broadcasts.

The company was founded after Mr Cheshire studied at Leeds College of Music, as he found himself drawn towards the management side of the industry.

Mr Cheshire said: “Logistic did a talk, asking for assistants at local events. I pitched for it and got the work.

“The first event I did was Leeds University Graduation Ball and Gatecrasher at Lotherton Hall. I got to know people and started to get phone calls.

“It was filling a black hole in the industry. I would do everything from covering tent pegs to stop people getting injured if they fell over, to driving the golf buggy taking artists from their cars or backstage to the tents.”

The Needs Group has now expanded to four divisions: Artists Needs, which focuses on event services and tour management for the music industry; Aviation Needs, which provides private air transport for artists, sportsmen and high-net worth individuals; Furniture Needs, which provides bespoke backstage set-ups; and VIP Needs, which provides support services for special guests.

The business developed from frustration at the disconnected services on offer when planning large scale tours and events. It offers a “one-stop solution” for events, Mr Cheshire said.

Dissatisfaction with the firms offering private aviation services prompted the launch of its air business, which now has clients as diverse as musicians, sportsmen and Wall Street traders.

Mr Cheshire said: “There are so many greedy companies out there. We’re very transparent and don’t have the overheads of 200 people in a Mayfair office, so we can pass savings to our clients.”

Similarly, Furniture Needs was launched to avoid renting items one week, only to send it back and hire it again the next. The Needs Group now owns a full itinerary of furnishings, with everything from chairs to hair straighteners stored in a Leeds warehouse.

“You never know what you’re going to be asked for,” Mr Cheshire said. “We’ve had some very unique requests. Some artists ask for very, very bespoke items that you wonder about, but we provide them. We’ve seen it all.”

The original tour management element of the business also remains in high demand, as bands adapt to the decline of music sales by upping their live schedule.

“Touring is massive now; there’s all kinds of pop acts and bands on tour,” Mr Cheshire said.

The Gloucester office was opened in response to the strong demand for its aviation services.

Two full-time staff are based at the site, in addition to six in Leeds. In summer, The Needs Group, which is a Living Wage employer, has up to 60 contractors.

The company is now looking to open an aviation office in Las Vegas to serve the West Coast of America.

However, Mr Cheshire stressed he does not want the firm to expand too quickly.

“We’re ahead of my targets but I don’t want to expand too fast. There’s structure behind everything we do,” he said.