Country girl Dolly’s big night out in Leeds

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Hello Dolly – that was the excited message from Leeds today as the city’s First Direct Arena prepared to play host to one of its biggest stars yet.

Country legend Dolly Parton will be hitting the stage at the £60m venue on Friday (June 20) on the latest leg of her Blue Smoke world tour.

Famed for tracks such as 9 to 5, Jolene and Islands in the Stream, Dolly can lay claim to one of the most dedicated musical followings around.

And bosses at the arena were today counting down the hours until the arrival of those devoted fans as well as the first lady of country herself.

Tony Watson, the venue’s director of sales, marketing and PR, said: “We’re all really excited to be welcoming Dolly Parton to the First Direct Arena

“It’s a spectacular show and with some of the best known songs in the world, it’s going to be a gig to remember.

“Our team are working way beyond 9 to 5 to get the arena ready for the show!”

The concert was today also hailed as a coup for the city by Ian De-Whytell, boss of Leeds-based Crash Records. He said: “Dolly Parton is another global star who has been popular for decades.

“It proves once again that we now have a world-class venue situated right in the heart of Leeds.”

Fans discussing the gig on the YEP’s Facebook page included Eve Connors, who said she hoped the track Coat of Many Colours would be part of the setlist.

Dolly’s glittering CV includes more than 100 million record sales worldwide as well as the founding of a charity that distributes free books to needy kids across her native USA.

She is set to break new ground in a career dating back to the 1960s when she appears at the Glastonbury music festival later this month.

Other big-name acts playing the arena over the next few months include The Eagles, Pearl Jam and James Taylor.

Jonathan Wilson

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