After 255 shows and 8.5 million ticket sales, Ed Sheeran’s enormous ÷ tour comes to an end tonight with a fourth and final show at his hometown Ipswich’s Chantry Park.
Bar some catch-up shows in Hong Kong, due in November, it will mark the end of a two-and-a-half campaign that has broken records for streams, album sales and ticket sales: according to Pollstar, ÷ is officially the biggest tour ever, both in terms of concert grosses and attendance.
To celebrate, Sheeran’s manager, Grumpy Old Management founder Stuart Camp, appears on the cover of the new edition of Music Week, which drops today digitally with the print edition following tomorrow, after the Bank Holiday.
In partnership with Atlantic president Ben Cook and Asylum MD Ed Howard – plus Sheeran himself of course – Camp has overseen a ground-breaking campaign that has set new bars for success – and proved hugely innovative as well as highly lucrative.
Now, they’re taking it back to where it all began – Sheeran still lives in Suffolk, where Camp also grew up, and the manager said it was a special weekend for the town.
“I think JLS played [Chantry Park] once but who else has done that?” he said. “It’s a bit intense. There’s nearly 200,000 [tickets sold] in Ipswich and we know the city’s struggling to cope with it. Funnily enough, we’ve never played in Ipswich other than the odd promo gig at the Steamboat Tavern – we’ve never actually done a ticketed gig there since I've worked with him.”
The tour finale has already caused a sensation in Ipswich, with Stormzy making a special appearance last night. But, despite the hysteria, Camp said tonight’s final bow is set to be a more stripped-back affair.
“The irony is, the last show’s going to be very small and intimate, relatively speaking,” Camp told Music Week. “Some of the other shows we’ve brought people out and it’s all a big fuss, but he wants the final show to be just about him.”
There will, however, be quite a celebration following the final encore.
“We’ll go out with a bang afterwards,” laughed Camp. “There will certainly be a few drinks on the last night. The idea is we do something purely with the crew, just the people that have been on the tour. Otherwise, sleeping is going to be the celebration for a while and just being at home. A month of not having to worry about getting on a plane every two days will be good.”
But don’t expect Sheeran – whose latest album the No.6 Collaborations Project is still lodged in the Top 2 – to take too much downtime.
“He’ll go back into recording mode relatively soon, whatever that’s going to manifest itself into,” said Camp. “He won’t sit still for long. He’s not the holiday sort.”
* To read the full Stuart Camp interview and the story of ÷’s stunning success, see the new edition of Music Week. The digital edition is available here. To subscribe to Music Week and never miss a vital music biz story, click here.