U.K. Concert Promoter Chris York Receives 2021 CMA Jo Walker Meador International Award

York Presented with Award via Special Video Message from 
Country Group Little Big Town and Industry Members from Nashville and the U.K.

CMA awarded U.K. concert promoter Chris York with the 2021 CMA Jo Walker Meador International Award on Monday, Sept. 20. York was presented the award through a special video message from artists and industry members in Nashville and the U.K. The video included messages from Country superstars Little Big TownSarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, Milly Olykan, CMA Vice President, International Relations and Development, Ali Harnell, President and Chief Strategy Officer, Live Nation Women, Nigel Hassler, Agent, CAA and Jay Williams, Partner and Co-Head, WME Nashville and Chair of the CMA International Committee. The CMA Jo Walker Meador International Award recognizes outstanding achievement by an individual in advocating and supporting Country Music’s marketing development in territories outside the United States.     

York is the Director of SJM Concerts, one of the largest concert promoters in the U.K. as well as one of the founding co-promoters of the U.K.’s largest Country Music event, Country to Country (C2C). Since its launch in 2013, the festival has given multiple artists their first live show in the U.K. and paved the way for Country artists to regularly tour and develop their fan base across the U.K. and Europe. Additionally, York has played an invaluable role in C2C’s media partnership with BBC Radio 2, which helped expand Radio 2’s Country Music coverage with significant time being given to C2C each year, ultimately extending the reach of Country Music to new fans all over the U.K. and helping to take Country Music to a mainstream audience. Following the success of C2C, York also co-developed the C2C Presents brand and co-promoted acts including CMA’s Introducing Nashville during the U.K.’s annual Country Music Week. C2C Presents became the touring arm of C2C and offers year-round opportunities for C2C alumni and Country artists who want to begin U.K. touring. York is also a member of the CMA U.K. Task Force, which works to identify opportunities to increase the profile and opportunities for Country Music in the U.K. Outside of Country Music, York is also known for his key role in the careers of Drake, Foo Fighters, Green Day, Lorde, Massive Attack, Oasis, Swedish House Mafia, The Chemical Brothers and many more. 

“We are thrilled to congratulate Chris on this honor,” says Trahern. “Chris’ impact on Country Music has enabled artists in every stage of their career to begin building their platforms in the U.K. and beyond. His commitment to introducing U.K. audiences to fresh and new talent each year has helped drive the profile and consumption of Country Music in the U.K. at an incredible rate. We are so grateful for Chris’ work across our Country Music community.” 

“While we have thoroughly missed not seeing Chris and being able to travel to the U.K. over the last two years, we are so pleased to now recognize him for his incredible work in our industry, growing and furthering Country Music on both sides of the Atlantic,” says Olykan. “We send our heartfelt thanks and congratulations to him on this well-deserved honor and for his valuable work on behalf of our genre.” 

The CMA International Awards honor industry executives and artists who have supported and made a difference towards the growth and promotion of Country Music in the international marketplace. Nominees are recognized in six categories acknowledging their dedication and efforts in growing opportunities for Country Music in their local territories. Additional recipients of the 2021 CMA International Awards will be announced in the coming months.  

(L-R) Kara McCabe, Head of PR, SJM Concerts, Alex Simmonds, Promoter, SJM Concerts, York and Caroline Hamer, Head of Digital, SJM Concerts on Monday, Sept. 20 as York was awarded the 2021 CMA Jo Walker Meador International Award via a special video message from Country group Little Big Town and industry members.
Photo Credit: Matt Woolliscroft