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What Covid? Europe’s largest music venue opens

Europe’s largest outdoor music venue, the new RCF Arena in Reggio Emilia, northern Italy, opens tonight (10 September) with a performance by Italian singer Luciano Ligabue.

Ligabue – a local superstar who has sold more than 11 million records and played 800+ shows over a four-decade career – will be the first artist to play the new venue, which has a capacity of more than 100,000.

Construction on RCF Arena, which was unveiled to the live industry at ILMC in March, began in April 2018 and is 80% complete, despite interruption caused by Covid-19.

The coronavirus crisis means tonight’s Ligabue show will take place without an audience; however, the singer will return to RCF Arena next 19 June for a full concert. A second show, Una. Nessuna. Centomila, with Fiorella Mannoia, Emma, ​​Alessandra Amoroso, Giorgia, Elisa, Gianna Nannini, Laura Pausini (also postponed from this month), will be held the following weekend, on 26 June.

Both events are organised by Arena Campovolo, one of seven companies comprising the arena’s operator, C.Volo.

“We are convinced that with the commitment of all partners and the support of the institutions, we will make this project successful”

Located in an urban park just outside the city, RCF Arena is built to a modular design to accomodate different sizes of events, from the full 100,000-capacity Green Arena to smaller concert and ‘reception’ areas.

The venue is built on a 5% (2.86°) slope to ensure clear visuals to the stage, and also boasts high-quality VIP areas and other facilities.

“Today, we celebrate the largest live entertainment arena in Europe,” comments Stefano Bonaccini, governor of the Emilia-Romagna region. “It seemed like a dream – even more impossible after the terrible pandemic still in progress – but we have pursued it with even more conviction, convinced that music, and more generally knowledge and culture, will be the engines of the restart.”

Roberto Olivi, president of Coopservice, another C.Volo partner, adds: “We participated in this enterprise because we were born and raised in this land and we like challenges.

“Of course, Covid-19 is putting this initiative to the test, but we are convinced that with the commitment of all partners and the support of the institutions we will make this project successful – thus helping to relaunch the vibrant culture and entertainment sector, which can be an instrument of economic and social revitalisation.”


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