Project Description

Sam Fender at St James’ Park, Newcastle & Reading Festival

The Unlimited Dream Company created visuals blurring the lines between analogue and digital for Sam Fender’s recent festival run and hometown stadium show.

While preparing work for Sam Fender’s 2023 performance at Reading Festival and homecoming show at St James’ Park, Newcastle, Show Designer Sam Tozer brought in The Unlimited Dream Company to spearhead content direction and production. Together, the team set out with a shared vision to highlight the culture of Northern England and Fender’s highly personal connection to it.

They took inspiration from the textured, physical, and often analogue nature of Fender’s sound, using high-end digital software such as Notch and Unreal but mixing in plenty of analogue multimedia, from film photography to stop-motion animation. As Creative Director Harrison Smith said, “Each time we’d create something digitally, we’d pair it with something analogue to muddy the waters and never make it feel of a specific time.”

The team anchored their visuals in Fender’s dynamic vocals and lyrics, even going so far as to animate the stories depicted in the artist’s songs. For “The Borders,” they told the story of Fender’s life contrasted with that of a childhood friend. As time passed, visuals representing Fender morphed into guitar strings, while those representing the friend transformed into water pistols, suggesting bad decisions.

For “Play God,” Notch Designer Lewis Bailey used Notch to portray a God’s eye view of what appears, at first, to be a static image of Newcastle that transitions to drone footage tracking down toward the stadium until finally cutting seamlessly to live drone footage of the audience, who slowly but excitedly recognised themselves on the screens in front of them.

“Notch was the only way to bring all of our mixed media together, especially when the live camera feed was so deeply integrated into most looks.”

George Thomson, Creative Director, The Unlimited Dream Company

Additional press coverage:
Clash Music, DIY Magazine, NME, Design Week, Dezeen.

Show Design: Vision Factory
Content Direction & Production: The Unlimited Dream Company
Content Team: Em Argiro, Samuel Wike & Nic Hunter

Set Design: Flora Harvey
Notch Artist: Lewis Bailey
D3 Operator: Charlie Rushton

UDC Agent: Only Helix
Lighting Design: Luke Avery
Artist Management: OD Management