Recent Sam Fender shows in Newcastle are said to have added £15m to the local economy.
The concerts took place in St James’s Park last weekend (June 9 and 10) and were the most important of his career to date.
On Friday and Saturday, more than 100,000 fans packed Newcastle’s stadium for an iconic moment for the city and a new milestone for the musician.
Supported by Hector Gannet, Holly Humberstone and Inhaler on the first night of the two-day residency, one of the highlights of the show was when the North Shields singer performed a cover of Bruce Springsteen at the opening. An even bigger surprise came on the second night, when rock icon and AC/DC legend Brian Johnson took to the stage with Fender. They both performed versions of “You Shook Me All Night Long” and “Back In Black”.
Now, less than a week after the homecoming shows took place, business manager Stephen Patterson has hailed the concerts as “a huge celebration of Newcastle, the city, its people and its musical history and sports”, and estimates suggest that they contributed at least £. 15 million for the economy of the North East.
“Thank you to Sam, his team and NUFC for putting on such a great show,” he said (via The Northern Echo), adding that Newcastle’s central shops reported a “significant increase ” on gains thanks to the concerts. “It’s very important for the city to host events of this size and quality, and we need more of them.”
The Mayor of Newcastle, Nick Kemp, also spoke about the impact of the shows in the city: “With Sam Fender selling out St James’ Park on back-to-back nights and the annual Blaydon races on Friday, we have had over 100,000 people come to to Newcastle just for these three huge events, as well as our regular weekend visitors, all of whom helped create a great atmosphere.”
Separately, the publication also noted that NewcastleGateshead Initiative destination director Ian Thomas called the weekend a “great example of regional pride”, adding that the numbers could be even higher than the estimate of 15 million pound.
“There was a unified and electrifying atmosphere in the region, as people enjoyed everything we can offer,” he said. We were forecasting a conservative £15m boost to the local economy, but we expect the actual figure to exceed those expectations, taking into account spending across the supply chain.” Newcastle and Gateshead hotels were around 95% busy, and feedback anecdotal from tourism and hospitality Businesses across the city show a significant increase in foot traffic and spending over the weekend.”
In a five-star review of Saturday’s performance, NME praised Fender for their ability to unite the crowd and maintain that electric energy throughout their set.
“Despite the heavy content of Fender’s music, the singer has a gift for guiding audiences through the emotional progression of his repertoire,” it read. “With a lively ‘howay’, he ignites the stadium in frenetic mosh pits with ‘Spice’ and ‘Howdon Aldi Death Queue,’ Fender’s most ignorant live tracks, complete with pyrotechnics.”
Ahead of back-to-back concerts, the singer-songwriter also teased area fans with a cryptic poster touting a new release.
The posters featured three variations of Newcastle United’s shirts, each representing one of their albums. The first featured the number one outfit – featuring his 2019 debut album, ‘Hypersonic Missiles’ – and the second featured number two, referring to his second LP ‘Seventeen Going Under’, due in 2021 .
However, it was the third shirt on the poster that caught the attention of fans, which showed a QR code next to it.
By scanning the QR code, fans accessed a link to pre-order a special commemorative edition of the musician’s third album at St James’ Park.
Two different picture discs are available (one for each night of the show) and both will contain photos from the weekend’s concerts.
Both discs of images are available on the musician’s online store, and will be offered to fans for one week only, closing at 6pm on Saturday (June 17). More information here.
Speaking to NME ahead of the weekend’s massive concerts, Fender described the new music as “very nice” with a strong “singer-songwriter” feel to it. He also revealed that he has written several songs for the upcoming album.