Record number of new UK arena headliners crowned in 2016

Record number of new UK arena headliners crowned in 2016

A record number of new UK arena headliners were crowned in 2016, according to a Music Week investigation.

Nineteen acts - Adele, The Libertines, Jason Derulo, Tame Impala, Foals, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Rudimental, The 1975, Years & Years, Babymetal, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Bastille, Jess Glynne, Fifth Harmony, Marc Anthony, Seasick Steve, Fatboy Slim, Pete Tong and Chvrches - headlined a major arena for the first time last year. 

Not all were full-scale UK tours and some featured cut down capacities, but the overall picture is a positive one and marks an improvement on the previous best of 17 in 2012 - a year that saw the likes of One Direction, Olly Murs, Florence + The Machine and Drake step up to arena level. 

“There are plenty of acts still coming through into the arena business,” said Guy Dunstan, general manager of the NEC Group’s Genting and Barclaycard arenas in Birmingham. “That demonstrates that we have a strong platform for business moving forward."

The findings come from analysing the calendars of arenas in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Birmingham over the past 10 years. On average, it takes an act five years from releasing their debut album to graduating to an arena, although 43% of headliners achieve the status within three years.

“Where my concern usually lies is in the sustainability," added Dunstan. "If acts go to arenas too quickly, how quickly can they sustain being arena acts? Hopefully there are some acts out there that will stand the test of time and carry on playing arenas for years to come.”

It looks likely that the 2017 total will fall short of last year's record. To date, just seven announced acts are to make their UK arena headlining debut this year, including Emeli Sandé (nine dates), A Day To Remember (one-off date at SSE Arena, Wembley), Shawn Mendes (four dates), Ball & Boe (10 dates), Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds (five dates), Lady Antebellum (four) and Miranda Lambert (Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, concert halls elsewhere). 

Music Week’s full report on new arena headliners is featured in this week's (6/3) print edition, and can be accessed online here.

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