Heathrow airport could be this summer’s hottest concert venue

Airports are many people’s least favourite thing about travelling. But this summer, good old Heathrow is hoping to make the switch from travel purgatory to concert venue. 

Europe’s busiest airport has launched the ‘Heathrow Introducing Stage’ in partnership with music events organiser Sofar Sounds.

Located in Terminal 5, the temporary stage offers up-and-coming British artists a chance to perform for an audience bigger than Glastonbury’s – sort of. In 2019, Heathrow’s busiest year, around 90,000 passengers passed through the terminal per day – that would make Terminal 5 equivalent to Glastonbury’s second biggest stage in terms of capacity. 

But this summer is predicted to be the busiest on-record, with Heathrow expecting over 30 million passengers from June to September. Total traffic is set to exceed pre-pandemic highs, it should hit more than 82.4 million by the end of the year. 

China Bears, The Halfway Kid and Olivia Nelson – Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent runner up – performed for passengers waiting to board flights on Monday night. The stage will move between the arrival and departure levels for the remaining performances.

Victoria Canal and Kevin Davy White will play on July 12 while the final performance on July 24 features Hohnen Ford and Latir

 ‘We’re providing people from around the globe the chance to experience […] a taste of UK culture from the moment they reach the airport,’ said Heathrow’s Director of Services Tonia Fielding, ‘while helping British talent supercharge their careers.’

Sofar Sounds has a nose for new talent. Billie Eilish, Leon Bridges and Wolf Alice all played Sofar events before releasing their debut albums. They posted an online set with a pre-fame Olivia Dean back in 2020, and have hosted concerts featuring Hozier and Jessie Ware. 

‘It’s a game-changer for those aiming to break into the industry, especially with festival season at its peak, offering exposure to execs travelling through the hub,’ said UK regional director Karline Komolafe. ‘We’ve loved picking out who we think are the most promising and genuinely exciting acts that are starting out right now.’

Whether or not playing to an audience waiting for delayed planes will pay off, remains to be seen. But here’s hoping. 

Feeling festive? Check out our comprehensive guide to Glastonbury 2024 and this year’s Isle of Wight Festival 

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