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Darren Moore named GM of Bradford Live

NEC Group has named Darren Moore as general manager of its latest venue, Bradford Live, which is scheduled to open in spring/summer 2024.

Moore boasts extensive experience in UK venue management and event operations, having previously served at Bonus Arena Hull, York Barbican and First Direct Arena Leeds.

As GM, he will oversee all aspects of the 4,000-cap West Yorkshire venue’s operations, including event planning, client relations and staff management, and will be instrumental in curating a diverse range of live events. Bradford is UK City of Culture for 2025.

“I am honoured to be appointed as the general manager of Bradford Live,” says Moore. “This is such an exciting opportunity to bring this historic venue back to life and attract even more events to the region, I am eager to build and lead a team dedicated to delivering amazing experiences for our guests and the wider Bradford community, who can expect top music acts from the British, Asian and international music scenes, comedians and family entertainment with catering to suit everyone – a la carte dining through to street food, vegan to halal.

“NEC Group’s hospitality arm, Amplify, will also host a variety of options to upgrade event experiences to include VIP seating areas and pre-show hospitality. The venue will boast the renaissance of the beautiful 1930s ballroom, which will become a 500-person capacity space for conferencing and banqueting, whilst the impressive double height main auditorium will be reinstated as a 4000-capacity live events venue.

“Our vision to be a destination events venue with a unique heritage, combining this with fantastic service to curate unforgettable memories, I look forward to collaborating with our talented team and industry partners to bring the vision of this venue to life that will entertain and inspire our guests for years to come.”

NEC Group currently owns and operates NEC Birmingham, ICC Birmingham, Vox Conference Venue, Uitlita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena. It also operates national ticketing agency The Ticket Factory, service brands Amadeus catering and Amplify hospitality.

“We are so excited to welcome Darren as the general manager for Bradford Live,” adds Daniel Boulger, head of venue developments at the NEC Group. “With his proven leadership and in-depth knowledge of both the industry and community, we are confident that Darren will drive the success of Bradford Live, positioning Bradford as a premier destination for exceptional entertainment.”


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NEC Group unveils plans for new Bradford Odeon

NEC Group International (NECGI) has announced plans to put Bradford “firmly back on the national live music touring circuit” with a new 4,000-capacity music venue, the Bradford Odeon.

NECGI, a division of Birmingham Arena/Genting Arena operator NEC Group, says it plans to use the refurbished Odeon – an art-deco former cinema, one of Britain’s largest, which originally opened in 1930 – to its “full potential”, putting on live music music, comedy and Bollywood events in the UK’s “biggest mid-size venue” outside London.

The Birmingham-based company has taken on a 30-year lease from Bradford Live, the charity behind the redevelopment, and will invest £2 million towards the cost of converting the building. The new venue is expected to open in 2020.

Welcoming the news, Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson comments: “We’ve played a lot of great old theatre venues. Beautiful old buildings are perfect for rock’n’roll shows – it can make a real difference performing in these characterful rooms compared to plain, black box-type venues.

“The Bradford Odeon would make a brilliant venue for the north, especially as there isn’t a room of that size in either Leeds or Bradford. It’d be a regular on the touring circuit.”

“Bradford will soon have one of the very best live music and event venues in the UK”

Francis Rossi of Status Quo agrees: “What the country needs is more places that can host concerts, so that people can get out and hear great live music. We’ve toured up and down the country more than most, and we know that places like this are essential. The Bradford Odeon has a great history and should be brought back into service.”

“Bradford Live is delighted to announce NEC Group International as our operator partner for the Odeon,” adds Bradford Live director Lee Craven. “They bring a wealth of experience and resource, and the work they did to win the bid was hugely impressive. They understand the building thoroughly and what its transformation will mean for the city.

“The 30-year commitment NEC has made allows Bradford Live to unlock a majority of the funding needed to restore the building, and we are now working closely with the council to ensure the full funding package is secured. Bradford Live looks forward to partnering with NEC Group and Bradford Council to ensure that Bradford will soon have one of the very best live music and event venues in the UK.”

NEC Group posted a 6% increase in revenue in 2016, turning over £133.8m in its first year as a private company.


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