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Hull venues unite for Hull City of Music initiative

The leading music venues in Hull, in north-east England, have joined forces to promote the area as a ‘city of music’ in the vein of Liverpool or Manchester.

Hull City of Music – comprising venues including Bonus Arena (3,500-cap.), Welly (600-cap.), Adelphi (200-cap.), Asylum (1,100-cap.), the 1,200-seat Hull City Hall and the Humber Street Sesh festival – aims to “encourage the experience of live music within the community through attendance, participation and education” and put “put the city’s live music scene will on the map in the same way as Manchester and Liverpool’s musical heritage”, according to a launch announcement.

Famous musical exports from Hull (in full Kingston upon Hull), a city of some 250,000 people in the East Riding of Yorkshire, include Sade, the Housemartins/Beautiful South, Fatboy Slim, Throbbing Gristle and Bowie collaborator/Spider from Mars Mick Ronson.

The Hull City of Music group will work alongside Hull City Council and Visit Hull to:

“Hull City of Music gives all venues, regardless of size, the chance to come together”

As part of its longer-term aims, the group hopes to inspire young people to get involved in the music industry, whether as artists or promoters, technicians or other industry professionals.

It is also hoped that by working together, the city will be able to take a “joined-up approach” to hosting a multi-venue event, similar to Live at Leeds or Tramlines in Sheffield, which attract thousands of visitors from outside of their respective cities.

It is the first time in at least 30 years that all major venues in the city have pledged to work together.

Dan Harris, general manager of ASM Global’s Bonus Arena, explains: “Over the last few years Hull has welcomed some enormous bands and artists to the city, with even more planned in 2020. Hull City of Music gives all venues, regardless of size, the chance to come together and celebrate the rich cultural offering, promote the city’s grassroots acts and clear a pathway to continue to put the city on the musical map.”

“Multiple musical hearts from local government to enterprises and media have joined forces to emphasise the unique and vibrant live music scene in Hull,” adds Bert van Horck of VMS Live, which operates the Welly, Welly 2 and Polar Bear. “Music is a vital anchor in the social fabric of our society, and we will continue to drive this forward to the benefit of the audience and the musicians.”

“Hull City of Music is a really exciting partnership that promises to make this city great again”

Mark Hall, business manager for Hull Box Office, comments: “In nearly 30 years of working in the live music scene in Hull, I have only ever dreamed of a group that brings all of the city’s venues and promoters together to promote the vibrant and diverse music scene that exists in this great city.

“With the full support of Hull City Council and VHEY [Visit Hull and East Yorkshire], Hull City of Music is a really exciting partnership that promises to make this city great again!”

Cllr Dave Craker, portfolio holder for culture, leisure and tourism at Hull City Council, adds: “It is great for the council, through Visit Hull, to be part of a partnership of venues that will help to rightly establish Hull as one of the country’s best destinations for seeing and playing live music.”

A Hull City of Music website, including combined gig listings for all member venues, will launch in the coming weeks.

 


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Showsec renews with SMG Europe

Showsec has renewed its contract with the UK’s leading arena operator, SMG Europe, for a further five years.

The deal – which follows on from a previous five-year contract signed in February 2013 – will see Showsec providing security and crowd management services across eight SMG-run sites, including Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.), Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (8,500-cap.), Metro Radio Arena (11,000-cap.), First Direct Arena (13,500-cap.), Baths Hall (1,024-cap.), York Barbican (1,900-cap.), Bridgewater Hall (2,341-cap.) and the recently opened Bonus Arena (3,500-cap.) in Hull.

Showsec will also look after the Event Complex Aberdeen (TECA), a new £333 million conference, exhibition and event venue opening in Scotland next year.

The companies’ relationship dates back to 1995, when SMG was contracted to provide security for the then-new Manchester Arena. Both SMG and Showsec were singled out for praise by Lord Kerslake for their respective roles in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017.

“We’re delighted to renew our contract with SMG, a company Showsec has grown up with”

John Sharkey, executive VP of SMG’s European operations, comments: “The security and crowd management dynamic is forever changing, and Showsec’s ability to manage to stay ahead of the curve with its training and recruitment programmes is part of our decision to continue with our long relationship.

“I’m reassured that these venues and their visitors are in the very best hands.”

“We’re delighted to renew our contract with SMG, a company Showsec has grown up with, and to continue refining and delivering a contemporary customer service across the SMG portfolio,” adds Showsec managing director Mark Harding.

“The Bonus Arena is an exciting new element in the equation, bringing the biggest performances to Hull on the back of its hugely successful year as city of culture. We are equally as excited for TECA’s opening, too.”

 


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Hull Venue becomes Bonus Arena in new sponsor deal

Hull Venue has secured a sponsorship deal with local business group Bonus, and will now be known as the Bonus Arena. It is hoped that this new deal will help to secure a lasting legacy for the city, after it was named UK City of Culture in 2017.

With a 3,500 person capacity, the state-of-the-art events complex hopes to attract exhibitions, large-scale conferences as well as concerts, stand-up and sporting events. Already, the venue has announced upcoming gigs from George Ezra, Jack White and Madness as well as events from the Strictly Come Dancing professionals and the Harlem Globe Trotters.

New sponsors Bonus Group are a well-established part of the Hull business community. For almost 60 years, the group has been involved in the local area, with many of those years spent in offices just a stone’s throw away from the new arena. On the new deal, Shaun Boanus, CEO of Bonus Group, says: “Having been involved with so many things ‘Hull’ over the years it seemed an obvious partnership from both sides.

“The arena is a huge legacy for the city and will do fantastic things for tourism”

“To be involved from day one is a great honour. It will undoubtedly be a huge success for the city and the people of Hull.”

Bonus Arena is managed by SMG Europe. John Sharkey, executive vice president of European operations at SMG Europe, echoes the optimism shared by those at Bonus Group. He says: “Following an incredible year with City of Culture, we are delighted to be operating the Bonus Arena in Hull.

“The arena is a huge legacy for the city and will do fantastic things for tourism, catapulting Hull on to the UK map in a big way as a destination experience.”

Open days and test event will take place in the next month, with the venue opening officially for business later in the summer. Tickets for performances at the venue are on sale now.

 


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