AEG PRESENTS U.K.'s CHRIS WAREING:
ENCOURAGING WORDS


AEG Presents has a strong foothold in the British hip-hop market thanks to its work with artists like Little Simz, Knucks, Loyle Carner, Sainte and Songer. Its festival brands, which include Coachella and London’s All Points East, are “hugely supportive” of the genre, according to U.K. SVP of Global Touring Chris Wareing. He also points to “a wave of exciting new artists coming through” whom AEG is helping build live careers through its touring and festival portfolio.

Wareing joined the company in 2022 after 10 years with SJM, where he worked with, among others, Travis Scott, Stormzy, Dave and Little Simz and established the Gods of Rap tour. Below, he answers a few quick-fire questions about the British hip-hop market from a live perspective.

British hip-hop has slowly but surely emerged from the underground over the past 10 years. How have promoters supported that?

I’m encouraged by the time and investment AEG has put into the growth and development of U.K. hip-hop. We have people pushing the genre at every level, from grassroots artists to those touring globally. Our festivals are also hugely supportive of the genre; we’ve seen hip-hop artists grace the stages of AEG festivals worldwide, whether that’s at Coachella, All Points East or everything in between.

How would you characterize the British hip-hop market from a live perspective?

It’s stronger than it’s ever been; sales are getting stronger and stronger. Little Simz was recently out on a U.K. tour selling more than 35k tickets, including two sold-out nights at Alexandra Palace. Hip-hop is starting to have a presence in places the genre had never been before. It’s been encouraging, for instance, to see hip-hop artists play the Royal Albert Hall this year. Loyle Carner [who’s been nominated for the Mercury Prize and three BRIT Awards] recently played a date that sold out in minutes; he will now go on to headline and curate a large festival promoted by AEG in London in 2024.

I also find that hip-hop resonates more today than it ever has. Hip-hop artists, as distinguished from rap, tend not to glorify their lives; they articulate and illustrate the struggles of life in the U.K., and that’s what resonates with people. They have the same struggles as their fans―it strikes a chord.

We’re generally in a good place, with artists investing in their shows with production despite the burgeoning costs to do so. They understand the value of their shows; they want their fans to return after a live experience.

How do you see British hip-hop evolving?

We work with successful, truly global U.S. hip-hop artists at AEG, including Tyler, The Creator and Kid Cudi. It’s only a matter of time before we see truly global hip-hop artists coming from the U.K. I think the king and queen, Carner and Simz, are about to carry that torch for the U.K. on a global scale. Both have recently returned from sold-out runs in North America and Australia after selling out U.K. and European tours. They are pushing British music and culture forward.

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