SSD Concerts boss quits following allegations against North East music firm

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The managing director of SSD Concerts has quit following allegations reportedly from former staff over pay and the company’s workplace culture.

Gig promoter Steve Davis, who has booked shows by Noel Gallagher and Sam Fender, posted on Facebook that he’s leaving with “immediate effect”.

A few venues and some artists, including Idles and Lanterns on the Lake, have cut ties with the company since the largely anonymous allegations surfaced when the firm’s Instagram account was hacked just over a week ago.

Multiple anonymous reviews, left on the website Glassdoor, accused the North East company of underpaying staff while others claimed they had felt “uneasy” at work while some claimed they’d witnessed misogynistic behaviour.

Both the company and Mr Davis have issued strong denials to all claims, with the latter going as far as calling them “malicious”. Both Northumbria Police and Newcastle City Council have since told ChronicleLive that they had received no formal complaints.

And announcing his departure, Mr Davis claimed that he had been “publicly tarnished based on several anonymous comments posted online.”.

He added: “I would firstly like to say that it is vital to take any allegations of inappropriate behaviour seriously. If people feel they have been treated poorly, they should feel safe in speaking out and confident that action will be taken.

“There have been a number of online allegations, which have saddened me deeply. The seriousness of what has been anonymously alleged – and the hateful response to these claims – has seriously affected my family. They are my priority, and I will do everything I can to protect them from online abuse.

“I would hope that this discussion can be one based upon the evidence. I entirely understand why people reading the comments about us posted on Glassdoor would be shocked. If true, they would mean people had been seriously let down. But I have been publicly tarnished based on several anonymous comments posted online.



Fans and bands enjoy the final day of the This is Tomorrow festival at Exhibition Park on Newcastle's Town Moor Photos: John Millard for Chroniclelive
The company promotes This is Tomorrow festival at Exhibition Park on Newcastle’s Town Moor Photos: John Millard for Chroniclelive

“It breaks my heart that this has had such an immediate and detrimental impact on something that has taken so long to build. Since founding this company, I have always strived to conduct business in the right way.

“I am sorry for any mistakes I have made along the way, it has never been my intention. I would never want to upset or make anyone feel uncomfortable. If that has been the case, then I am shocked and saddened and am truly sorry. I will learn from any examples of such behaviour.”

He claimed he had found himself “under sustained attack on social media in recent days” during what he added had been “one of the most difficult weeks in my life”

The firm is expected to issue a formal statement confirming his departure, and future plans, in the coming days.

One of the largest independent live music firms in Britain, SSD made global headlines last year when it booked the Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle’s Gosforth Park.




Billed as the world’s first socially distanced music venue, it staged scores of shows featuring huge names like Sam Fender, The Libertines and Van Morrison.

The company also promotes festivals including Hit The North and This Is Tomorrow. Last week, the latter – due to take place in May at Exhibition Park – was delayed with organisers citing ongoing Covid restrictions.

However in that same week, others publicly cut their links with the company as further allegations emerged. Newcastle’s Boiler Shop – one of the city’s largest independent music venues – confirmed it would no longer host gigs promoted by SSD Concerts.

Idles, who topped the UK album chart with their recent record Ultra Mono, confirmed the company would no longer promote their Newcastle City Hall show next February.



The band Idles said it would not be working with SSD, which had been promoting a Newcastle show set for 2022.

And announcing they would move their upcoming Newcastle show to the Boiler Shop, Lanterns on the Lake posted: “I suppose the most disappointing part of this is that there has been no real acknowledgement by SSD of the pain, stress and discomfort they have caused some of their own employees or any indication of what they plan to do to put things right.

However, a spokesperson for SSD later said that the “vast majority” of acts on upcoming bills were still set to perform.

“We have not directly received any official complaints regarding any mistreatment of our staff,” they added.

And last week Northumbria Police also confirmed that a 25-year-old man had been arrested and cautioned for the initial Instagram hack.

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