A message from CC-Lab colleagues about their Creative Director, Justin Rees: 1968 – 2024

With heavy hearts and great sadness, we announce the passing of Justin Rees after a brave battle with pharynx and hypopharynx cancer. Justin departed peacefully on 2 July 2024, surrounded by his loving family.

Born on 26 March 1968 in Hornchurch, England, Justin was a true maverick who worked as hard as he played. From his early days in distribution at Portman Television to a stint at TV consultancy Grow and then his two decades at CC-Lab, Justin was always audacious, creative, and wickedly unconventional. If you knew him, you didn’t forget him. As Zai Bennett, Managing Director of Content at Sky, puts it: “Justin was a larger-than-life producer. He made an impact on everyone he worked with, from music megastars to production runners; he always had time for everyone, even when he was up against insane schedules.”

His crowning achievement was his pivotal role in pioneering and producing the live coverage of the Isle of Wight Festival for the past twenty years. The hundreds of hours of energetic and innovative music TV he masterminded leave behind a unique testament to quality entertainment and incredible memories for all of us who worked with him.

Justin’s impact on the TV and Music industry was far-reaching. He breathed life into grassroots music venues during the COVID pandemic with “The Live Revival” series. He developed and delivered many other music festivals, including Snowbombing, Festival Number 6, and Bestival.

Stephen Greene, CEO of RockCorps, remembers: “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.”

He produced prestigious award shows, including the MOBO Awards and NME Awards. He loved creating unique one-off events like ‘Quadrophenia ReUnited’ and ‘It’s Christmas Live at the Royal Albert Hall’ and helmed irreverent documentaries, including ‘How to Be a Billionaire’ and ‘Noel Gallagher: Out of the Now.’ Each production showcased his passion, versatility, and originality as a producer. “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,” Bennett adds. “Justin was a proper producer, and I think that brilliance came from him fundamentally being a properly good human. He will be missed.”

His zest for life, generosity, and rakish charm permeated every aspect of his remarkable rock ‘n’ roll life. We will miss him.

Jason Hocking, Justin’s co-director at CC Lab, sums it up: “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 and roll to the core. He is irreplaceable, and our memories of him will live on forever.”

We invite everyone who knew and loved him to join us in celebrating his life and raising a glass in his honour. Here’s to Justin, a true one-of-a-kind. A man who lived life to the fullest. He leaves behind him a legacy of creativity, passion, and human connection that will continue to inspire those in the television and music industries for years to come.

Justin is survived by his loving wife Lynne-Marie and children Riley, Minnie, and Jemima.

As Stephen Greene reminds us, “He will be with us forever. But, it’s up to us now; the show must go on.”

Details of arrangements will be shared soon.

Jon Creamer

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