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CC-Lab director Justin Rees dies aged 56

Justin Rees, long-term director of music and live events specialist CC-Lab, has died at the age of 56.

Justin Rees

Rees, who had pharynx and hypopharynx cancer, died peacefully on July 2 surrounded by his family.

Born on March 26, 1968, in the UK town of Hornchurch, Rees spent his early days in distribution at Portman Television, followed by a stint at TV consultancy Grow.

More recently, he spent two decades heading CC-Lab, pioneering and producing the live coverage of the Isle of Wight Festival for the past 20 years.

Rees’s impact on the TV and music industries was far-reaching. He breathed life into grassroots music venues during the Covid-19 pandemic with The Live Revival series and also developed and delivered many other music festivals, including Snowbombing, Festival Number 6 and Bestival.

He produced prestigious award shows including the MOBO Awards and NME Awards, and loved creating unique one-off events like Quadrophenia ReUnited and It’s Christmas Live at the Royal Albert Hall. He also helmed documentaries including How to be a Billionaire and Noel Gallagher: Out of the Now.

Those to have paid tribute to Rees following his death include Zai Bennett, MD of content at satcaster Sky in the UK and Ireland. “Justin was a larger-than-life producer,” Bennett said. “He made an impact on everyone he worked with, from music mega-stars to production runners; he always had time for everyone, even when he was up against insane schedules.

“Crucially, Justin always made sure his team actually had fun making TV, which is a rare quality, and he always aimed for excellence on screen, which he usually nailed. Justin was a proper producer, and I think that brilliance came from him fundamentally being a properly good human. He will be missed.”

Stephen Greene, CEO of marketing and entertainment company RockCorps, said: “Justin was my brother from another mother. From the moment I first met him when arriving in the UK, he treated me like a long-lost family member, including his own magic family. Justin can take a lot of credit for RockCorps being successful in this country. ‘This has to happen’, he would tell everyone. Always pushing, sometimes annoyingly, to make the show better.”

Jason Hocking, Rees’s co-director at CC Lab, adds: “Justin was an incredible business partner and a remarkable friend. There was nobody quite like him. He was a devoted family man, a loveable rogue, the original gangster, a true believer and rock ‘n’ roll to the core. He is irreplaceable, and our memories of him will live on forever.”

Rees is survived by his wife Lynne-Marie and children Riley, Minnie and Jemima. Details of funeral arrangements will be shared soon.

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