John Giddings

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John Giddings (born 1 May 1953 in St Albans, Hertfordshire) is a music agent and promotor who has been responsible for tours by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Madonna, Genesis, Celine Dion, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.[1] In 2002 he revived the Isle of Wight Festival and continues to run the festival today.

Early career[edit]

Giddings graduated from Exeter University[2] with a Philosophy & Sociology degree. He had worked booking bands at the university as social secretary[3] and later entertainments chairman for Exeter College.[4] During his time at university he was responsible for booking acts such as Genesis, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band and Procol Harum.

After leaving university Giddings, using contacts he had made while working with the bands he booked, got his first job as an agent at the M.A.M. Agency in London and by 1977 he had become the agent for a number of punk acts such as The Adverts and X-Ray Spex[5] before taking on acts such as The Boomtown Rats, The Ramones and Iggy Pop (who he still represents today).[6]

In 1980 he left M.A.M. to form TBA International with fellow M.A.M. agent Ian Wright[7] where he went on to work with Paul Young, Alison Moyet, Big Country, Howard Jones, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran.

Solo Music Agency and Promoters[edit]

In 1986 Wright and Giddings closed TBA International to form their own agencies. Wright formed Reverb XL while Giddings formed Solo Music Agency and Promoters.

After forming Solo, Giddings was employed as the agent responsible for David Bowie's concert at Wembley Stadium[8] followed soon afterwards by a stadium tour with Genesis.[9] In 1990 The Rolling Stones took on Giddings as European promotor and the likes of U2, Madonna and Celine Dion[10] were soon added to his roster of clients.

Over the past 30 years Giddings has represented artists such as The Corrs,[11] The Police, Lady Gaga, Westlife,[12] Boyzone, N*E*R*D and Pharrell Williams, Simple Minds and Spandau Ballet.[1]

In 2008, Solo Agency & Promotions managed three of the five top-selling concert tours around the world. The Sticky & Sweet Tour by Madonna ranked highest, grossing $281.6 million. The second-highest tour was by Celine Dion, at $236.6 million, and the fifth-highest tour was by The Police, at $120.6 million.[13]

In 2009 Giddings was recruited as the global agent and promoter of Universal Music's Formula 1 live music event, F1 Rocks.[14]

Also in 2009, Billboard Magazine named three of Giddings' clients as the top grossing tours of the previous decade - The Rolling Stones at number 1 with $869m, U2 at number 2 with $844m and Madonna at number 3 with $801m.[15]

Isle Of Wight Festival[edit]

In 2002 the 1971 Isle Of Wight Act[16] (which banned events on the island with more than 5000 attendees) was overturned in time for the Queen's Golden Jubilee[17] and Giddings was recruited to revive the Isle Of Wight Festival[5] - a festival that he first attended as a teenager in 1970.[18]

The first Isle of Wight Festival since 1970 was called Rock Island 2002 and it took place on 3 June 2002 with Giddings and Solo acting as promoter rather than organiser. It was headlined by The Charlatans and featured appearances from the likes of Robert Plant, Starsailor and Ash. It was single day festival attended by around 8-10,000 but the event reportedly lost the Isle Of Wight Council around £380,000.[19]

Giddings took over the running of the festival from the council in 2003 and, despite losing an estimated £500,000 that year,[20] the festival has become a multi-day event that currently has an annual attendance of between 50,000-60,000 and contributes between £10-15m to the local economy.[21] In this time Giddings has been responsible for booking headliners such as Bruce Springsteen,[22] Pearl Jam, Coldplay, The Who, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and David Bowie.

On 5 November 2007, the Isle of Wight Festival was named 'Best Major Festival' at the UK Festival Awards. At the same event Giddings won the award for 'Outstanding Contribution to UK festivals'.[23]

The festival also received "Outstanding" rating at three A Greener Festival Awards between 2009 and 2011,[24] after Giddings pledged in 2008 to make the festival more "ecologically sound".[25]

Personal life[edit]

Giddings is married to Caroline and has four daughters. He is a fan of Formula 1 and even raced at Formula Ford level at Silverstone until an injury stopped him from racing any more.[8]

Artists with whom John Giddings has worked[edit]

  • Ace
  • Alesha Dixon
  • Alison Moyet
  • Barbra Streisand
  • Bette Midler
  • Beyoncé
  • Big Country
  • Blondie
  • Boomtown Rats
  • Boyzone
  • Celine Dion
  • Celtic Woman
  • The Charlatans
  • The Corrs
  • David Bowie
  • Duran Duran
  • Generation X
  • Gene Loves Jezebel
  • Genesis
  • The High Kings
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Howard Jones
  • Iggy Pop
  • Il Divo
  • James
  • James Walsh
  • Josh Groban
  • Justin Timberlake
  • Kid Creole and the Coconuts
  • Little Mix
  • Madonna
  • Meat Loaf
  • Melanie C
  • Mike and the Mechanics
  • N*E*R*D
  • Paul Simon
  • Paul Young
  • Pharrell Williams
  • Phil Collins
  • Public Image Limited
  • Ramones
  • Rhianna
  • Rolling Stones
  • Ronan Keating
  • Sadie and the Hotheads
  • Shakira
  • Shane Filan
  • Shayne Ward
  • Sex Pistols
  • Smokie
  • Spandau Ballet
  • Starsailor
  • Steve Hackett
  • Sting
  • Suzanne Vega
  • Suzi Quatro
  • Tears For Fears
  • The Adverts
  • The Lover Speaks
  • The Stranglers
  • Tim Burgess
  • U2
  • Ultravox
  • Usher
  • X-Ray Spex
  • Westlife
  • Wet Wet Wet



Pollstar Awards - 'UK Booking Agent of the Year', John Giddings, 2017

ILMC 29 Arthur Awards - 'Second Least Offensive Agent', John Giddings, 2017

ILMC 29 Arthur Awards - 'Liggers' Favourite Festival', Isle of Wight Festival, 2017

Music Week Awards - 'Festival Of The Year', Isle of Wight Festival, 2018

Event Production Awards - 'Music Event of the Year', Isle of Wight Festival, 2018

ILMC 30 - 'Liggers' Favourite Festival', Isle of Wight Festival, 2018


Live Music Business Awards

Best Festival, Isle of Wight Festival, 2016

Outstanding Contribution, John Giddings, 2016

Family Traveller Awards

Best Family Festival, Isle of Wight Festival, 2016

Festival Baby Awards

Best Festival, Isle of Wight Festival, 2015

Isle of Wight Visitor Attraction Association Awards

Best Event, 2015 [26]

International Live Music Conference

ILMC 29 - 'Second Least Offensive Agent', John Giddings, 2017

ILMC 24 – ‘Second Least Offensive Agent’, John Giddings, 2012

ILMC 22 – ‘The Bottle Award’, John Giddings, 2010

ILMC 21 - 'Arthur Award', Isle of Wight Festival, 2009

ILMC 18 – ‘Second Least Offensive Agent’, John Giddings, 2006

UK Festival Awards

‘Headline Performance of the Year’, Fleetwood Mac at Isle of Wight Festival, 2015

‘Best Family Festival’, Isle of Wight Festival, 2015

'Best Major Festival', Isle of Wight Festival, 2007

'Outstanding Contribution to UK festivals', John Giddings, 2007

Event Production Awards

'Music Event of the Year', Isle of Wight Festival, 2018


  1. ^ a b The Soloist, IQ Magazine, Issue 28, March 2010, P36-58
  2. ^ Interview: John Giddings Archived 2014-12-14 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ The Brits big-hitters, London Evening Standard, 16 February 2004 Archived 14 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ John Giddings Interview, Isle Of Wight iLife, 2011
  5. ^ a b Buy some rock and roll history after the Isle of Wight Festival valued at £12 million, Daily Telegraph, 29 January 2012
  6. ^ JOHN GIDDINGS: A Solo mission, Music Week, 17/11/2007
  7. ^ U.K. Industry Vet Wright Dies, Billboard, 18 July 2007
  8. ^ a b The Man Behind The Music, When Performance Is Everything, Issue 2 Summer 2013, p14-15
  9. ^ Live Music Back On The Road To Wembley, Music Week, 05/06/2007
  10. ^ The Breakfast Meeting with John Giddings
  11. ^ Baby Dome reborn as huge screen and shows venue, The Guardian, 30/03/1999
  12. ^ Famous Everywhere Else, Billboard, 21 October 2006
  13. ^ Solos stars soar in 2008, Music Week, 17 January 2009, p6
  14. ^ F1 Rocks Appoints Global Agent, Promoter, Billboard, 22 July 2009
  15. ^ Top Touring Artists of the Decade, Billboard, 11 December 2009
  16. ^ Isle of Wight County Council Act 1971, Hansard
  17. ^ The Isle Of Wight Festival, Isle Of Wight Tourist Guide
  18. ^ John Giddings: The Music Fan with the Rolodex of a Rock God, GQ Magazine, 14 May 2014 Archived 26 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ Festival safe, but less cash for council, Isle Of Wight County Press, 23 May 2003
  20. ^ IOW boss John Giddings speaks to eFestivals, eFestivals, 22 November 2010
  21. ^ Agreement for the use of Seaclose Park as part of the Isle Of Wight Music Festival site, 28 July 2009
  22. ^ Ticketmaster meets I.O.W Festival booker John Giddings, 3 February 2014
  23. ^ UK Festival Award Winners 2007, 5 November 2007
  24. ^ Isle Of Wight Festival Wins Prestigious Green Award Archived 2014-10-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ Allen snub angers festival boss, BBC, 5 March 2008
  26. ^ "Isle of Wight County Press". 

External links[edit]