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Famed Nippon Budokan arena unveils Olympic overhaul

Modernisation work on Japan’s Nippon Budokan arena – famously the venue for the Beatles’ only Japanese concerts – has concluded, just under a year before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.

Known as the spiritual home of Japanese martial arts, the 14,471-capacity indoor arena, located in Tokyo’s Chiyoda ward, is also one of Japan’s best-known large concert venues. In addition to hosting the Fab Four in 1966, the Budokan was the site of Abba’s last-ever show in 1980, and is also a popular venue for live recordings: celebrated albums Made in Japan (Deep Purple), Cheap Trick at Budokan (Cheap Trick), Live in Japan (the Carpenters), Bob Dylan at Budokan (Bob Dylan) and Live at the Budokan (Blur) were all recorded at the arena.

At the 2020 Olympics, which have been postponed to 23 July–8 August 2021 because of Covid-19, the Budokan will host judo and karate events, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun. Its Olympic capacity will be 11,000.

The Budokan is one of seven central-Tokyo venues being used for the 2020 games

Among the new-for-2020 additions are an earthquake-proof roof, permanent accessible seating with space for wheelchairs, new LED lighting inside and out, and a training hall for athletes.

Images captured by the Asahi Shimbun (via Getty) show the arena’s new roof and decor, as well as a socially distanced completion ceremony held on Wednesday 29 July.

The Budokan is one of seven central-Tokyo venues, many of which (like the Budokan) were built for the 1964 Olympics, being used for the 2020 games, while another 13 – including the new Ariake Arena – are located in the Tokyo Bay area.

The Ariake Arena is one of several large venues being created especially for the Olympics, along with the now-completed 80,000-capacity New National Stadium, 15,000-capacity Oi Hockey Stadium and the 10,000-capacity Musashino Forest Sport Plaza. The 2020 Olympics will take place across 41 venues in total.

 


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TEG MJR unveils refurbed Leeds Warehouse

Building on a legacy that includes past performances by U2, Oasis, the Stone Roses and Soft Cell, famed Leeds, UK, venue the Warehouse is returning to its live music roots, with a busy concert programme planned after it reopens later this month.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary since its opening in 2020, the new-look Warehouse benefits from a £250,000 investment into its production infrastructure, and now boasts three rooms with a capacity of 600 for live music and 1,100 for DJ-led events.

Curated by TEG MJR, the 2020 live music programme will showcase a varied mix of touring artists and local musicians, says the former MJR Group, which  took over programming duties for the Warehouse last year, just prior to its takeover by Australia’s TEG.

The relaunch weekend will kick off with a show by singer-songwriter Badly Drawn Boy on 23 January, followed by two sold out performances from Terrorvision on 7 and 18 February.

“2020 is going to be an exciting year for Leeds”

Dan Ickowitz-Seidler, chief operating officer of TEG MJR, comments: “Live music is a huge driving force in any big city and we wanted the Warehouse to showcase a real plethora of events.

“The venue was built on live music, and what better way to celebrate 40 years of The Warehouse than bringing back its roots?

“We’re looking forward to welcoming a credible selection of performers and club nights and continuing to work closely with local promoters. Twenty-twenty is going to be an exciting year for Leeds.”

For a full list of upcoming shows, visit theleedswarehouse.com.

 


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Roof collapse at Merriweather Post Pavilion

Merriweather Post Pavilion bosses have said the Columbia, Maryland, amphitheatre is to open as planned for its 2018 concert season following a roof collapse in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The 19,319-capacity venue was in the final stages of a five-year renovation project when the roof, which was being hydraulically lifted 20 feet to improve sightlines from the lawn, “unexpectedly fell” when nearly in its final position, explains Seth Hurwitz, chairman of venue operator IMP Concerts.

No one was hurt in the accident, and a “team of experts” is assessing the reason for the collapse, he adds.

“The winds of fate decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and built a new one”

“Last night, in the middle of our months-long roof raising operation, the winds of fate prevailed and decided that, instead of simply raising the roof, we should just go ahead and built a new one,” Hurwitz says in a statement. “Was not our decision, but the bright side is all the money we save on imploding.

“Nobody was hurt. That is, of course, the most important thing. [And the] second most: everything will be ready for season opening.”

Merriweather Post Pavilion last summer celebrated the 50th anniversary of its opening with a host of upgrades and a party and concert featuring performances from Jackson Browne – who recorded three songs from 1977’s Grammy-nominated Running on Empty live at the venue – Willie Nelson and Father John Misty.

 


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£15m fund for UK cultural sector launches

Venue refurbishment projects in the north of England are being particularly encouraged to apply for a share of a £15million fund to boost the cultural sector.

Towns and cities can bid for up to £4m from the Northern Cultural Regeneration Fund. Applicants will need to show they are increasing “opportunities for people to experience, benefit and contribute to culture and creativity”.

The aim of the fund is build “a lasting regional legacy” from the Great Exhibition of the North, which takes place in Newcastle and Gateshead next summer and will showcase the best of Northern art, design and innovation.

“The North is a cultural powerhouse, as well as an economic one.”

Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “This £15 million fund is a fantastic chance for towns and cities to develop inspirational projects that could have a transformative local effect – particularly in communities that have seen less cultural or creative investment in the past.”

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry said: “The North is a cultural powerhouse, as well as an economic one, and this £15 million fund will give a boost to the region’s vibrant culture and tech sectors.”

The first round of bids will be coordinated by Local Enterprise Partnerships and successful projects will be announced in March 2018.

 


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