Manchester music stars pay tribute to Hacienda's James Masters

Peter Hook has lead the tributes

By Natalie Rees | 17 November 2023

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Legends of the Manchester music scene have paid tribute to influential music media director James Masters, who has died aged 50.

James was the head of media for the Hacienda brand, which included work on the incredibly popular Hacienda Classical events and club nights.

Peter Hook, former bassist from New Order and Joy Division, announced the sad news on his social channels, just after midday on Thursday 17 November.

He wrote: “It is with great sadness that we pay tribute to James Masters, one of the great friends of Peter Hook & The Light and Fac 51 The Hacienda. Truly one of our close family. James passed away yesterday and will be sorely, sorely missed. Rest in peace mate. God Bless. Love Hooky.”

Fellow stars from the Factory Records era also joined in tribute. Rowetta from Happy Mondays wrote on Facebook: “To my dear friend James Masters. Thank you for everything. Nobody worked harder than you. I love you and will miss working with you, and the odd party of course. Rest peacefully.”

DJ Graeme Park, regular at the Hacienda and leader of the Hacienda Classical series, wrote on Facebook: “Very sad news from the FAC 51 The Hacienda family. James was a great communicator and an integral part of the story behind the scenes and will be missed by all of us. Rest well, James.”

Dave Haslam, resident DJ at the Hacienda’s Thursday Temperance club night, added: “Sad news of the death of one of the most important and idiosyncratic members of the Hacienda family, James Masters. RIP.”

James Masters grew up in Monton and studied at Manchester Grammar School before studying History at Jesus College, Oxford. After graduating university, James headed back to Manchester to pursue a career in the media, before working alongside Factory boss Tony Wilson at Granada Studios in the early 2000s.

Over the last decade, James helped to keep the Hacienda brand alive working on press and PR. Alongside DJs Graeme Park and Mike Pickering, he worked on the Hacienda Classical project alongside the Manchester Camerata orchestra, which continues to see sell-out shows across the country. 

The official FAC51 Hacienda page added: “It is with great regret and sadness that we have to pay tribute to a wonderful member of The Hacienda family.

“James Masters was a loyal hardworking member of our team for so long and he will be sorely, sorely missed. His tireless work and love for everything Manchester, Factory and The Hacienda was legendary. From his early days working for Tony Wilson at Granada TV to establishing the Hacienda Classical and Hacienda nights all over the world. James passed away yesterday.

“Rest in peace our friend. We will miss you.”

James will be remembered for his passion, dedication and enthusiasm for Manchester and its music scene.