Kate Bush: Tribute Ticket Sales ‘Run Uphill’ for Belfast Empire Concert

Ticket sales for Kate Bush’s tribute concert at Belfast’s Empire Music Hall soared this month as young fans found her music on the Netflix show Stranger Things, the venue’s manager said.

Tefen Bradley said the “noticeable spike” in Cloudbusting concert sales the following month was due to the global success of Bush’s 1985 hit Running Up That Hill amid the show’s popularity.

The song is currently number one on the UK charts and looks set to stay there for a second week despite new releases from Beyoncé and Drake. The single, which reached number three on the UK charts in 1985, peaked at number five in the US, dropping from number four, giving Bush her first top ten hit in the States.

The song is a key plot motif for the character Max Mayfield in the fourth season of the sci-fi horror drama Stranger Things, attracting a whole new generation of fans for the 63-year-old British singer-songwriter.

Previously, Cloudbusting had played Belfast’s Empire several times, attracting a mostly older audience who were Bush fans for the first time. But this time, the upcoming concert, rescheduled due to Covid, is attracting young fans, and tickets for the show are poised to be sold out.

Steven said: “The Cloudbusting show was originally sold in early 2020 for an October 2020 show, rescheduled to July 2021 and then back to July 2022 due to Covid.

“After we announced the new date earlier this year, ticket sales started picking up and were pretty solid, but when Stranger Things season 4 came out, we saw a huge spike in sales almost overnight.

“We can’t determine the age of people buying tickets online, but the fans who come to the bar to buy tickets in person are much younger than those who usually attend a Cloudbusting concert at Empire.

“There has been a noticeable surge in sales and I definitely think there is a direct link between this increase and the series.

“Before the show, we were selling a few tickets every day, but in terms of marketing, nothing beats Stranger Things when it comes to boosting ticket sales.”

Cloudbusting has been recognized by BBC One as one of the most authentic tribute bands in the world. Vocalist Mandy Watson is known for not trying to imitate Bush on stage, but says that when she performs her music, the characters in the songs take over.

Some of Bush’s original collaborators now play with Cloudbusting, including the bassist and drummer who performed with the singer on her legendary Tour Of Life concerts 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.

Steven said that Cloudbusting, which he describes as a “tribute” rather than a tribute, was first played at Empire about 10 years ago and has since gained a following.

The audience was “niche” and the number “decent”, but given the high ticket sales for the concert on July 16, Stephen is confident that the tickets will be sold out.

“We won’t actually see Kate on tour, but Cloudbusting is an elite performance – the best thing after Kate,” Steven 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.

“Since ticket sales are going on as they are now, the concert will be sold out.

“And of course it’s great for Kate Bush that so many young people are discovering her music, including my own children. She deserved all this amazing success. She is one of a kind.”

Tickets for Cloudbusting shows can be purchased in person or online at www.thebelfastempire.com/music-hall/cloudbusting/.