Ticket sales for a Kate Bush ‘homage’ act set for the Empire Music Hall in Belfast have seen a spike this month, thanks to younger fans finding her music through Netflix show Stranger Things, the venue’s manager has said.
Stephen Bradley said the “notable surge” in sales for next month’s Cloudbusting gig correlated with the global success of Bush’s 1985 hit Running Up That Hill on the back of the show’s popularity.
The song is currently number one in the UK charts and looks set to stay there for a second week, despite new releases from Beyoncé and Drake. The single, which peaked at number three in the UK charts in 1985, is sitting at number five in the US, down from number four, giving Bush her first ever Top 10 hit in the States.
The song is a key plot motif for the character Max Mayfield in the fourth series of sci-fi horror drama Stranger Things, bringing in a whole new generation of fans for the 63-year-old British singer-songwriter.
Cloudbusting has played Belfast’s Empire several times previously, attracting a mainly older audience who were Bush fans first time round. But this time, the upcoming gig, rescheduled due to Covid, is drawing in younger fans and the show is poised to sell out.
Stephen said: “The Cloudbusting show was originally on sale early 2020 for a show in October 2020, rescheduled for July 2021 and then again for July 2022, due to Covid.
“After we announced the new date earlier this year, ticket sales began to trickle through, and were steady enough, but when series four of Stranger Things launched, we noticed a huge spike in sales practically overnight.
“We can’t tell the age of people buying tickets online, but the fans coming into the bar to buy tickets in person are much younger than those who would normally attend a Cloudbusting gig at the Empire.
“There’s been a notable surge in sales and I definitely think there’s a direct correlation between that increase and the series.
“Prior to the show, we had been selling a few tickets every day, but nothing quite compares, marketing-wise, to Stranger Things when it comes to boosting ticket sales.”
Cloudbusting has been championed by BBC One as one of the most authentic tributes bands in the world. Vocalist Mandy Watson is renowned for not trying to mimic Bush on stage, but says that when she performs her music, the characters in the songs take over.
Some of Bush’s original collaborators play with Cloudbusting now, including the bassist and drummer, who performed with the singer on her legendary Tour Of Life live shows 40 years ago.
The show features many of Bush’s biggest hits, such as Wuthering Heights, Wow, Hounds Of Love, Babooshka, This Woman’s Work, Cloudbusting and Running Up That Hill, as well as some lesser-known tracks, accompanied by visuals.
Stephen said that Cloudbusting, which he describes as an “homage” act, rather than a tribute one, first played the Empire around 10 years ago and has built up a following since then.
The audience was “niche” and the numbers “decent”, but with ticket sales high for the July 16 gig, Stephen is confident it will sell out.
“Realistically, we’re not going to see Kate herself on tour, but Cloudbusting is an elite act —the next best thing to Kate,” Stephen said.
“It’s quite an emotional performance and vocalist Mandy Watson is incredible and it’s great to see so many fans, old and new, coming to see her.
“With ticket sales going the way they are, the gig is going to be a sell-out.
“And, of course, it’s brilliant for Kate Bush that so many young people are discovering her music, my own children included. She deserves all this amazing success. She’s one of a kind.”
Tickets for the Cloudbusting show can be bought in person or online at www.thebelfastempire.com/music-hall/cloudbusting/