A chance meeting with The Smiths’ Andy Rourke, his manager Nova Rehman and Granada’s Tom Smetham led to something which Stephen is unbelievably proud of.
Somehow, 6 months on from that meeting we were at the Manchester Arena, putting on a major concert, with New Order (playing as Joy Division), Elbow, Doves, Johnny Marr and so many more acts, giving up their time to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds to treat cancer.
A year later, Noel Gallagher, Ian Brown, Paul Weller and The Charlatans joined the fun, and the third year, it was the turn of The Fratellis, The Enemy and Fun Lovin’ Criminals.
Nobody thought we could do it. And to be honest, if it wasn’t for the brilliance of Manchester people, we probably wouldn’t have managed.
The legacy of these gigs has been pretty good – for a start, people use “cancer” in advertising now. Back then, the advertising agency was pretty nervous that we wanted to shout “Versus Cancer” in big letters on billboards. There’s even the Manchester versus Cancer Alliance been set up.
Still hasn’t quite sunk in how great it was, but you don’t get many nights like those…
As well as helping with the organisation, Stephen produced the live filming of the show, with 10 cameras and a live direction. Mike Sergeant live directed the first two concerts, with Chris Cowey taking on the third one.