Company behind massive Ed Sheeran and Kaiser Chiefs shows in Leeds set for record year

Ed Sheeran -  Picture by Zakary Walters.
Ed Sheeran - Picture by Zakary Walters.
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This summer has seen some of the biggest names in live music perform spectacular open air concerts throughout West Yorkshire.

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Ricky Wilson - Kaiser Chiefs

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From Ed Sheeran at Roundhay Park to concerts at Halifax’s The Piece Hall, the region has been well and truly on the map.

What has been lesser-celebrated, however, is the company behind those shows.

Leeds-based Futuresound, based on Duke Street, is celebrating a record-breaking year and is on track to have sold 400,000 tickets by the end of December.

Picture by Zakary Walters.

Picture by Zakary Walters.

Founded in Leeds in 1994 by director Colin Oliver, the company began as a successful concert promoter and venue operator of legendary Leeds venue The Cockpit.

The Cockpit may have closed down but the company has gone from strength to strength, having developed many arms under parent company The Futuresound Group.

Mr Oliver told The Yorkshire Post that the firm is currently looking at new sites around Yorkshire for more open air concerts.

“We are blessed in this region to have so many great heritage venues,” he said.

Picture by Zakary Walters.

Picture by Zakary Walters.

“We have so many great parks and recreational places – we are gifted with these places.

“We have got loads in the pipeline.”

The organisation employs 20 people and continues to promote more than 450 shows a year through the Futuresound Events and Slam Dunk live music companies.

It runs two music festivals, Live at Leeds and Slam Dunk, and operate venues such as The Wardrobe and The Key Club, as well as record label and artist management company Dance to the Radio, which has managed notable releases from the likes of The Pigeon Detectives.

Futuresound’s concerts during 2019 handed a major contribution to the Yorkshire tourism economy this summer, most notably with the Ed Sheeran shows in Leeds which sold a total of 140,000 tickets.

The gigs were the first to take place at Roundhay Park in 15 years and more than half of those who attended were from outside Yorkshire.

It also worked with Leeds United Football Club as part of its centennial celebrations to stage a show at Elland Road from city natives Kaiser Chiefs.

Paul Bell, the chief executive of Leeds United Football Club, said: “The show was a huge success with both music and football fans alike, and was a fitting tribute to 100 years of the club.”

He added: “We hope that this will be just the beginning of a long-standing partnership with Futuresound that will help establish Elland Road as an international stadium venue for major concerts.”

Additional outdoor spectacles in 2019 included a four-night takeover of The Piece Hall in Halifax, selling 17,000 tickets.

The shows were a huge coup for the Calderdale town being the first concerts of their kind to take place there, with names like Embrace, Elbow and The Levellers all performing to thousands of revellers, with people having travelled from the likes of North America, New Zealand and Japan for the shows.

Nicky Chance-Thompson, the chief executive of The Piece Hall Trust, said: “The events brought tremendous civic pride to the town and borough and it was extremely busy.

“Restaurants, bars and shops saw a large uplift in footfall.

She added yesterday: “The media and social coverage generated was significant with The Piece Hall’s social media posts alone reaching over half a million people.”