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60 years of SSE Arena, Wembley celebrated in pictures

Heroes – the Exhibition, a photographic exploration of the sixty-year history of the SSE Arena, Wembley, is opening to the public on Thursday 28 November at Getty Images Gallery, Wembley Park.

The exhibition will feature over 100 photographs of artists at the London music venue, which celebrated its busiest year yet in 2018.

From 1960s snaps of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, to more recent images of Kendrick Lamar, Queens of the Stone Age and the Prodigy, the exhibition will cover the arena’s rich musical history. Other artists to feature in the collection include David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Whitney Houston, Queen, Prince, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé and Rihanna.

Words by the arena’s vice president and general manager John Drury accompany the photos, which are taken by renowned music photographer Michael Putland and former and current Getty photographers Dave Hogan and Brian Risac, among others.

“Over the past 60 years The SSE Arena, Wembley has earned its place as one of the most iconic live music venues in the world,” comments Drury. “There is a chemistry that keeps bringing artists and fans back, that feeling of connection, passion, and shared experience.

“Heroes brilliantly captures the magic on stage and in the audience that could happen nowhere else”

“Playing Wembley for the first time is a special milestone in any artist’s career and each show builds on its legendary status. That is what Heroes brilliantly captures, the magic on stage and in the audience that could happen nowhere else.”

Built in 1934, the arena in Wembley – originally known as the Empire Pool – has been a live music venue for over six decades. Following a £26 million refurbishment, the arena reopened in 2006, taking the name of the SSE Arena, Wembley in 2014.

“Wembley Park has always been about people coming together to share experiences, and The SSE Arena, Wembley is central to this,” says Josh McNorton, cultural director of Wembley Park.

“Over the past 60 years, it has played an enormous part in the cultural history of the area and in global music history, and Heroes is a great way to celebrate this through the performances of some of the world’s most famous performers.”

The exhibition is open every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Getty Images Gallery, Wembley Park. Admission is free for the first three days. All photographs are available for purchase, priced from £70 to £648.

 


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Numerous arrests made post Wembley Arena show

Police in London responded to “significant disorder” following a Kiss FM-promoted concert at the 12,500-capacity SSE Arena, Wembley, on Friday night (25 October).

Acts playing at the sold-out, Halloween-themed Kiss Haunted House Party included Stormzy, Sean Paul, Young T and Bugsey, Anne-Marie, Liam Payne, Jax Jones and Aitch.

“Officers are on scene at Wembley Arena following significant disorder after the Kiss Haunted House event,” read a post on the Twitter page of the local police service at 11.44 p.m. on Friday evening.

“Numerous arrests have been made, officers are asking people to disperse immediately to the nearby tube stations.”

No injuries were reported.

“The safety of event-goers is of huge priority to us”

“The safety of event-goers is of huge priority to us. We have cooperated fully with the venue and police to ensure a swift resolve to any issues,” said a spokesperson for the event.

The unrest followed the sixth edition of Haunted House Party, hosted by UK urban and dance music radio station Kiss, which has seen past performances from the likes of Rita Ora, Stefflon Don and Jess Glynne.

The SSE Arena, Wembley, which is operated by the newly formed ASM Global, celebrated its busiest year on record in 2018, with an even busier year expected for 2019.

 


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ASM Global to operate new £260m venue complex

ASM Global will be the venue management provider for a new £260 million arena, conference and exhibition centre on Gateshead Quays in Newcastle, as the operator further expands its UK footprint.

ASM Global, the result of a merger between SMG Facilities and AEG Facilities today  (11 October) cleared by the UK’s Competitions and Markets Authority, has signed a long-term agreement with developer Ask Real Estate and investor Patrizia to operate the 12,500-capacity venue.

It is estimated that the ten-acre Gateshead complex, due to open by 2023, will generate £30m for the economy and attract up to 300,000 new visitors to the region each year. Global architecture firm Hok has been appointed to design to new arena.

“We are thrilled to have selected ASM Global as our operator,” comments Ask Real Estate MD John Hughes.

“ASM Global have a global reputation for excellence and their experience will be key in helping us to develop what will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations”

“They have a global reputation for excellence and their experience will be key in helping us to develop what will be one of Europe’s key cultural locations. We have been working closely with them to ensure the arena will be able to accommodate the rapid advances in sound and production technology.”

ASM Global’s executive vice president for Europe, John Sharkey, says the operator is “delighted to bring to market such an ambitious development”.

“We look forward to building upon the success of the Utilita Arena (11,400-cap.) and Whitley Bay Playhouse (630-cap.), and leveraging our regional strength to further develop the events landscape and grow the north east economy,” says Sharkey.

In addition to its venues in the north east of England, ASM Global’s UK portfolio includes the O2 Arena (20,000-cap.), the SSE Arena, Wembley (12,500-cap.), Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.), the First Direct Arena in Leeds (13,700-cap.), Glasgow’s SSE Hydro Arena (13,000-cap.) and the York Barbican (1,900-cap.).

 


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Lewis Capaldi embarks on UK, Ireland arena tour

Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi has announced a UK and Ireland arena tour for March 2020, adding a surcharge of 50p to every ticket to pay for anxiety support staff in each arena he visits.

Tickets for the arena tour go on sale on Friday 26 April, preceding the release of the singer’s debut album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent, on 17 May.

The announcement follows sold-out tour dates across the UK and United States in 2019. “Cannot believe we’ve got an arena tour going on sale with one already sold out. Milking this one hit wonder thing,” jokes the singer on Twitter.

Capaldi recently added a second date at Glasgow’s the SSE Hydro (13,000-cap.) to the 2020 tour, which also includes shows at Dublin’s 3Arena (13,000-cap.), Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (5,000-cap.) and the SSE Arena, Wembley (12,500-cap.), as well as two performances at the O2 Apollo in Manchester (3,500-cap.).

The singer will use the tour to launch a new initiative called LiveLive, which provides support to fans suffering from anxiety or panic attacks. An additional 50p charged for each ticket will go towards funding a team at each venue qualified to assist in cases of panic, anxiety or any other forms of distress.

“I hate to feel that anyone’s anxiety is making them miss out on anything they want to do”

The initiative also includes the setting up of designated help points, a safe place or ‘escape room’ and a gig buddy system for those attending shows alone.

“I always get tonnes of messages from people online who have said they want to come to my shows but can’t because they’re struggling massively with anxiety or are just generally afraid they will have a panic attack during the show,” says Capaldi.

“I really wanted to put something in place to help those people feel comfortable and offer them support to allow them to experience the shows.

“I hate to feel that anyone’s anxiety is making them miss out on anything they want to do and LiveLive is my attempt at helping make these shows enjoyable for as many of those people who have been supporting this journey for me,” adds the singer.

The tour is promoted by Live Nation, DF Concerts, MCD Productions, SJM Concerts and DHP Family.

Capaldi was nominated for the critics’ choice award at this year’s Brit Awards in London.

A full list of tour dates can be found below:

Mon 2 March – O2 Apollo Manchester
Tue 3 March – O2 Apollo Manchester
Thu 5 March – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Fri 6 March – The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Wed 11 March – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Thu 12 March – The SSE Arena Wembley, London

 


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Busiest year ever for SSE Arena, Wembley

The SSE Arena, Wembley, celebrated its busiest year on record in 2018. More than one million fans attended events at the 12,500 cap. arena over the year, the largest number of annual visitors since the venue opened its doors in 2006.

Last year, 157 performances took place in the 12,500-capacity London venue. Events included the world premiere of the Golden Globe-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody, three sold-out nights for Arcade Fire, the first ever all-nighter from drum’n’bass legend Andy C, an exclusive Smashing Pumpkins show, George Ezra’s biggest headline concert to date and a sold-out show for Slayer as part of their historic final world tour.

“Our reputation as one of the UK’s most iconic concert and events venues rang true in 2018,” says John Drury, vice-president and general manager of the SSE Arena, Wembley. “With a stunning array of events across music, comedy, sport and entertainment, we helped to create memories that will last a lifetime.”

“Our reputation as one of the UK’s most iconic concert and events venues rang true in 2018”

Venue developments in 2018 included the unveiling of a brand-new 200-cap. restaurant, the Empire Bar & Grill, as well as an accompanying 50-cap. VIP Empire Lounge. 12,000 visitors downloaded the venue’s new app, which allowed them to skip out food and drink queues, with many outlets in the arena offering dedicated collection lanes for those ordering through the app.

SSE, the venue’s naming partner, invested in free in-auditorium wifi, mobile phone charging points and social activations. Members of the SSE Reward programme received exclusive offers to ticket presales, and enjoyed a dedicated VIP entrance and customer lounge.

“Our building is 85 years old this year, but constant reinvention and innovation ensure we are ready to hit more heights through 2019 and beyond,” says Drury, optimistic for an even busier 2019.

 


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John Langford promoted to AEG Europe COO

AEG Europe has made three internal promotions, including the appointment of the O2 general manager John Langford as chief operating officer.

Paul Reeve, currently finance director of the O2 and SSE Arena, Wembley, becomes chief financial officer, while Emma Bownes, the O2’s programming director, is elevated to the newly created position of vice-president of programming across AEG’s European venues.

The appointments follow the recently announced promotion of Alex Hill to president of AEG Europe, following the retirement of long-serving president and CEO Tom Miserendino.

Langford, who joined AEG from Scotland’s SECC in November 2016, comments: “We’ve got amazing venues and superb people across the AEG global family, and I’m really proud that I can continue to play a key part in delivering on our vision to give the world a reason to cheer.”

“I’m looking forward to working closely with John, Paul and Emma in continuing our vision of excellence across our portfolio of European venues”

Bownes has worked for AEG for eight years, developing and curating content for London’s two largest arenas. She programmed the O2’s recent tenth-birthday shows, which included performances from Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, alt-J, Jamiroquai and more.

“It’s an honour to be recognised in this way by AEG, and I’m looking forward to focusing on programming across all of our venues in Europe,” she says. “With the way European touring is developing this is a brilliant opportunity for us to be joining forces and making planning simpler for our promoters.”

In addition to the O2 and Wembley Arena, AEG’s European venue portfolio includes Hamburg’s Barclaycard Arena, Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and the newly opened Verti Music Hall, Stockholm Live and AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

Commenting on the appointments, Alex Hill adds: “I’m looking forward to working closely with John, Paul and Emma in continuing our vision of excellence across our portfolio of European venues and other live entertainment and sports properties”.

 


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Slayer, Jackson and Copping awarded for final Wembley Arena show

US thrash-metal legends Slayer, along with their management, agent and promoter, were presented with award frames by the SSE Arena Wembley following their last-ever show at the 12,500-cap. London venue.

The awards were handed out by arena GM John Drury and booking manager James Harrison following the sold-out 3 November concert, part of the band’s Farewell world tour. After support from Obituary, Anthrax and Lamb of God, the show kicked off with ‘Repentless’, accompanied by 10ft columns of fire erupting from the stage, and came to a close nearly an hour and a half later with an encore comprising ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel of Death’.

Pictured after the show, left to right, are Tom Araya and Ernie Gonzalez (Slayer); John Jackson (K2 Agency); Kristen Mulderig (manager); Kerry King (Slayer); Rick Sales (manager); Gary Holt (Slayer); John Drury; Andy Copping (Live Nation); Jane Miller (K2 Agency); James Harrison; and Paul Bostaph (Slayer).

 


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AEG ends ties with StubHub, launches AXS Marketplace

AXS has announced the launch of its first price-capped secondary ticketing platform in the UK, signing up AEG’s London venues the O2 and SSE Arena Wembley as the first partners.

AXS Marketplace – which the company says it also plans to roll out across various European markets – will allow the resale of tickets at no more than 10% above the original price paid.

Built-in controls also allow artists and promoters to enforce any restrictions on the resale of tickets to their shows, and a dynamically changing barcode ensures the digital-only tickets (delivered to mobile devices via Flash Seats) cannot be counterfeited or shared illegally.

Both primary and secondary tickets will be visible to consumers at the point of purchase, which AXS says will “eliminate confusion and remove fan anxiety as to whether their ticket is actually valid for entry”. For sellers, meanwhile, AXS Marketplace will be the “only ticketing solution that allows fans to buy and then resell through the same platform”.

AEG-run AXS is the latest major ticket agency to launch its own ‘fair value’ ticket resale site, amid a growing backlash against high prices in the traditional secondary ticketing market. StubHub was formerly the exclusive resale partner for the O2; a StubHub spokesperson tells IQ the two parties have mutually ended their relationship.

“StubHub and AEG have taken the mutual decision to end their partnership after five years,” reads a statement, “as AEG moves exclusively to AXS. In this time, we have enjoyed a successful partnership with AEG in the UK.

“As we part ways, we welcome the increased competition which AEG’s marketplace will bring to consumers and the industry at large.”

AXS Marketplace’s launch follows that of See Tickets’ Fan to Fan and Eventim UK’s FanSALE, as well as fast-growing industry backed platform Twickets, all of which similarly cap resale prices (Fan-to-Fan and Twickets at face value and FanSALE at +10% above).

“More of our artists and promoters want a better solution to ensure fans get an authentic ticket at a fair price”

Robert Byrne, managing director of AXS Europe, says: “AXS is proud to provide a fully integrated platform across both the primary and resale markets, giving everyone the opportunity to sell and purchase tickets at a capped, fair price. This will help prevent ticket touting and help combat illegal counterfeiting.

“We know that fans, artists and their representatives have been looking for a solution to these issues for a long time and we believe AXS Marketplace with Flash Seats mobile delivery will be a real game-changer. I’m also really pleased that AXS is partnering with AEG on this important initiative and delighted that such iconic venues like the O2 and the SSE Arena Wembley will be leading our launch plans.”

“There has been a noticeable shift in the industry recently, and more of our artists and promoters want a better solution to ensure fans get an authentic ticket at a fair price,” adds Tom Miserendino, president and chief executive of AEG Europe. “We have been deeply impressed with this technology and what it allows us, our partners and our customers to do.

“Through AXS Marketplace, Flash Seats mobile delivery and capped pricing, we can now deliver this. It is fairer for fans, eliminates counterfeiting, combats touting and allows us to have a complete view of everyone at the event.

“We have listened and responded. This partnership is a ground-breaking solution for ticketing in Europe and we encourage other ticketing providers selling seats at our venues to join it.”

The announcement was also welcomed by Adam Webb, campaign manager for anti-touting campaign group FanFair Alliance. He says: “While our campaign has helped deliver significant legislative and regulatory changes, we are now seeing tangible progress in the UK’s ticketing market and a seemingly unstoppable trend towards services that offer consumer-friendly resale.

“AXS Marketplace looks like a significant addition to these, capping resale at 10% of the original ticket price and deploying mobile technology so that artist teams can better protect fans and lock out the touts. Our supporters will look forward to further information from AXS about the platform’s rollout and launch.”

 


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Hollywood Vampires presented with plaque for Wembley show

Rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires – comprising rock legends Joe Perry and Alice Cooper and actor Johnny Depp – have been presented with an award plaque to mark their first ever headline show at the SSE Arena Wembley on 20 June.

The gig in question saw the band make their way through their collective works as well as a catalogue of classic rock covers, all gratefully received by a rapturous audience. On top of this, fans also got to see The Darkness and The Damned supporting the main act.

Whilst last week’s gig was the first time Hollywood Vampires have performed at Wembley, the same can’t be said for Cooper himself. With this latest gig, Cooper has played the venue a total of thirteen times and is the only artist to have played the venue every decade since the 1970s.

Last week’s gig was the first time Hollywood Vampires have performed at Wembley

The awards, presented by SSE Arena Wembley’s vice president and general manager John Drury and operations director Sharon Smith, also celebrated those who worked behind the scenes of the headline gig. Hollywood Vampires management team members Shep Gordon, Paul Geary and Steve Wood, as well as Steve Homer of AEG Presents and Neil Warnock of UTA, were also all presented with the commemorative plaques.

The history of the Hollywood Vampires is even more star-studded than its current line-up. Looking back to the 1970s, the original Hollywood Vampires were patrons of the Rainbow Bar & Grill on LA’s Sunset Strip. They included the likes of Keith Moon, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson and just about any other rock star who found themselves passing through at the time.

In 2015, Cooper and his long-time friend Depp decided to reignite the spirit of the Vampires. Since then, the band has played gigs and festivals and has worked with stars including Sir Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl in the recording studio.

 


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