Ed Sheeran sparks guitar sale surge at local store after performing free gig in his hometown

Ed Sheeran
(Image credit: Tony Fisher/YouTube)

Ed Sheeran returned to his hometown of Ipswich, England, earlier this month to treat the townspeople to a free, last-minute performance.

The gig, which took place on the steps of Ipswich’s Town Hall, occurred after Sheeran – who was born and raised in Suffolk – had visited the town’s local music and guitar store, Music World.

During the hour he spent at the shop, the chart-smashing singer-songwriter selected an acoustic guitar and a guitar amp for his spontaneous gig – a performance that prompted the Music World staff to shut up shop early so they could attend.

After making their way to the Town Hall, Sheeran set up his new rig and began making his way through a nine-song setlist that comprised early hits like The A Team, and tracks from his most recent album, =, in the form of Shivers, Overpass Graffiti and club favorite Bad Habits.

Sheeran also performed Castle on the Hill – a track from his 2017 album Divide that was written in fond memory of his Suffolk home.

Of course, once locals clocked that Sheeran was in town, the crowd grew significantly, with hundreds of fans flocking to see Sheeran put his newly purchased Lowden single-cut guitar – possibly his S03 signature model – to good use.

Once the setlist had reached its end, Sheeran signed and gifted his guitar and amp to a young fan in attendance, who had ditched his own guitar lesson to see his hero play.

Following the event, Music World owner John Fender told the BBC that trade in the store was up, and that “lots” of guitars had been sold in the wake of Sheeran’s visit. 

In fact, Fender estimated guitar sales had gone up by 20 or 30 units “above what we normally sell," noting that many new owners were of a similar age to the young fan who had received Sheeran’s six-string.

“It was absolutely brilliant,” Fender recalled. “We were all excited to see him and he spent an hour with us in the shop, chatting and trying gear.

“He gave a lot of his time and he talked about his affection for the town, how much he loved Ipswich, and music,” he went on, “and it was always a plan to get a guitar and then to inspire a younger kid with it.”

As for the impact Sheeran’s spontaneous show had, Fender added, "It encourages music – it's so important at the moment – we all need a bit of cheer and some good news and positive vibes. It was a special moment.”

That Sheeran opted for a Lowden guitar from Music World is no surprise. After cutting his teeth on a Martin LX1E, Sheeran made the switch to Lowden in 2019 after befriending brand founder George Lowden, with whom he designed the Sheeran by Lowden series.

In 2021, Sheeran launched a limited-run “= Edition” Lowden to celebrate this latest album.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.