There was a flood of tributes from the Northern Irish music community and well beyond this weekend following the death on Friday of Lyndon Stephens, founder of the Belfast-based music companies Champion Sound Music and Quiet Arch Records.
A statement on the latter’s Facebook reads: “Our founder, captain, friend and brother Lyndon Stephens passed away this morning following a long battle with illness. Initially given six months to live in July 2017, Lyndon refused to accept his initial diagnosis and defeated insurmountable odds, all while running Northern Ireland’s most successful independent music enterprise”.
Through his management company and label, Stephens not only guided and progressed the careers of numerous artists, he also provided invaluable support for the Northern Irish music industry, both on-the-ground in Northern Ireland itself, and as a champion of its output across the globe. He was also an active member of the wider UK independent music community, regularly sharing his insights on the challenges and opportunities of launching and managing artists in the digital age.
The Quiet Arch statement adds: “A visionary who helped guide the international careers of many musicians, Lyndon was a larger-than-life presence for his co-workers, clients, friends and family. A techno head, a soul brother, a teacher and mentor, a life-long companion and a father, Lyndon left an irreplaceable impact on all of our lives, and we are unspeakably injured and heartbroken at his loss”.
Among those paying tribute this weekend was journalist and broadcaster Stuart Bailie, who writes on the BBC Across The Line website: “Lyndon Stephens was a magnificent force for good in music. His record label Quiet Arch was based at the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast but his reach was international”.
“The man had the keenest mind for strategy and new music practice and made sure that his acts were primed to benefit”, he goes on. “But the over-arching feeling on the day of his passing is that Lyndon gave out love. At a time when musicians are regarded as content providers – pimping out software and product and worthy of little return – Lyndon treated his people as absolute artists”.
Quiet Arch had already announced that its operations would go on hiatus, with a show to celebrate its legacy planned for last Friday night. That gig went ahead, with the label urging people to continue to attend “so that we may witness and celebrate Lyndon’s legacy properly”.
Its statement concludes: “Lyndon is survived by his loving wife Lisa and his children. We would ask that you respect the privacy of the family at this time. Those wishing to celebrate Lyndon’s life are welcome to attend Roselawn Crematorium on Wednesday 15 Jan at 5pm. Family flowers or donations to the Marie Curie hospice are welcomed”.