Leeds arena bosses’ big hopes for venue

Sir Elton John performs live on stage at the opening night of the First Direct Arena.
Sir Elton John performs live on stage at the opening night of the First Direct Arena.
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Bosses at Leeds arena are cranking up the volume to celebrate 2014 – and they hope it will become the country’s best music venue.

Hundreds of thousands of concert-goers have already flocked to the new £60m arena since rock icon Bruce Springsteen first took to the stage in July.

The First Direct Arena has played host to major international artists including Rocket Man Sir Elton John, rockstar Rod Stewart and operatic sensation Andrea Bocelli.

Boybands Boyzone, Wet Wet Wet and JLS have also taken centre stage at the arena in the run up to Christmas.

And over 11,000 people from across the world flocked to the 13,000-seat arena last month to celebrate the country’s top sporting stars at the 60th BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards.

But bosses at the arena are now hoping to build on the venue’s success this year.

Ben Williams, general manager of First Direct Arena, said: “What a year it’s been, a spectacular beginning for us.

“We have a strong ambition to be the best arena in the UK.

“We were delighted to show the world on live television, what a very special place the First Direct Arena is.

“I know from my team and everyone we speak to about First Direct Arena, that 2013 is a year we will never forget.”

The arena is expected to bring an extra one million visitors to the area per year and it is also believed to generate an additional £25m for the Leeds City Region’s economy a year.

Pop princess Miley Cyrus is set to play at the arena in May.

The one-time child star has stirred repeated controversy with revealing on-stage outfits and provocative dance routines.

US rock legends Pearl Jam will also headline this year in one of only two UK concerts that they are playing on a nine-country European tour.

Take That stars Robbie Williams and former X Factor judge Gary Barlow will play at the city centre venue in June and April respectively.

And later this month the stars of BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing will take to the dancefloor and show off their moves.

Record-breaking classical singers Il Divo, who have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide, will take centre stage in October.

And iconic country singer Dolly Parton will perform in June as part of her Blue Smoke World Tour.

For more information about forthcoming shows at the arena and to purchase tickets visit www.firstdirectarena.com.

Billy Pearce.

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