This month marks the first anniversary of the launch of concert promoter 456 Live, comprised of former SSD Concert’s Joe Gill and Caitlin Maddison. With more than 90 shows under its belt, the promoter has a packed 2022 ahead, including the launch of two outdoor live music events in Newcastle. 

Launching a concert promotions business during a pandemic was an uphill battle admits 456 Live’s Joe Gill, but one year on and the future is looking bright for the fledgling operation.

The company was founded in March 2021 by Gill – a booker and promoter with 10 years’ experience, having worked at Leeds promoter Futuresound and Newcastle’s SSD Concerts.

Four months later, Caitlin Maddison joined her former SSD Concerts colleague at 456 Live. Between them, they had previously promoted acts including Lewis Capaldi, Sam Fender, Becky Hill and De La Soul – some of whom have already played under the 456 Live banner and will be doing so again this year.

Joe Gill

Gill says, “The idea of launching as a new independent promoter had always had an appeal, so when circumstances changed in my old role [at SSD] I tried to turn a negative into a positive and founded 456 Live.

“We focused our efforts on making sure we were in as strong a position as possible, with as many quality shows as possible, so when the restrictions were lifted we were raring to go.”

Among the promoter’s many forthcoming events is Leazes Live, a multi-artist 4,000-capacity show at Newcastle’s Leazes Park on 1 May that will be headlined by James. Shortly afterwards, on 28 May, 456 has A Stone’s Throw – a new 1,500-capacity event featuring 60 up-and-coming acts such as Sam Tompkins, Berwyn and Lauren Hibberd.

“We teamed up with Ant Thompson [Notion Music Recordings managing director] to launch this and we’ve got a great location with some really cool unique venues involved,” says Gill.

The duo are also working with the team behind Newcastle’s 2,000-capacity pop-up venue Central Park in Times Square, which last year hosted Euro 2020 fanzone viewings. Gill and Maddison are currently booking acts for the venue that will be in place throughout summer.

“The site is in a great location, the design is great and it’s really flexible,” says Gill. “We’re speaking to some of the biggest names on the touring circuit and hope to be able to announce some exciting shows in the coming weeks.”

Caitlin Maddison

While not being concerned by supply chain issues, Gill says that both he and Maddison have found that the incredibly busy 2022 events calendar has presented challenges when it comes to the availability of acts.

Looking beyond 2022, Gill says the plan is to grow the business “steadily and organically” by helping to develop the artists it works with.

Gill and Maddison plan to expand the 456 team and are looking to recruit someone for a “kickstart” role, which they say will be a mix of marketing and booking work.

Says Gill, “The plan is to expand the booking and marketing teams further and we’re hoping to have an announcement about this in the next few weeks.

“We’ve launched a number of new events and brands, which would be difficult even in a more normal year, but we believe it’s the right thing to do for the long term and we can build something positive for punters and artists.”