Thousands set to flock to Leeds arena for major Jehovah’s Witnesses convention

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The new Leeds concert arena is set to play host to an event that promises to be truly heavenly.

A convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses will take place at the First Direct Arena from August 2 to 4.

The convention is expected to attract around 7,000 people from congregations across Yorkshire.

Staged on an annual basis, the event has in previous years been held at Leeds United’s Elland Road ground.

Talks and activities will get under way at 9.20am each day, with all sessions being open to the public and free of charge.

A convention spokesman said: “We feel the public will benefit from and enjoy the varied and practical programme. This year will be special as we can look forward to the arena’s comfort and excellent facilities whatever the weather outside.”

The arena will be officially opened on Wednesday, July 24, by a show from rock legend Bruce Springsteen. Sir Elton John, Kaiser Chiefs, Rod Stewart and Depeche Mode are among the other artists confirmed to appear there before the end of the year. Non-music events in the 2013 programme include a WWE wrestling extravaganza and the BBC Sports Personality of the Year show.

The 13,500-capacity arena has been built with Leeds City Council cash and is being operated by private firm SMG Europe.

Experts estimate the venue will generate £25m a year for the city’s economy.