Express & Star

Live music scene set to ‘flourish’ after Wolverhampton Civic Halls deal

The region’s live music scene is set to flourish after a top venue operator takes over at the Civic halls, Tom Watson has said.

A CGI of how the new Civic halls site will look when it reopens early next year

The former West Bromwich East MP, who is chair of UK Music, hailed the deal that will see AEG Presents run the iconic Wolverhampton venue when it reopens next year.

He said the arrival of the global entertainment giant was good news for music lovers across the West Midlands, who could expect to see top quality acts and an excellent live music experience.

Mr Watson, who served as deputy Labour leader and shadow culture secretary during his time as an MP, told the Express & Star: “This is very good news for Wolverhampton and the whole of the region.

“AEG Presents have a world-renowned reputation for providing top quality acts and live music experiences.”

AEG Presents own and operate more than 40 sites and recently landed the contract to run a music venue at Olympia London.

It also puts on the annual All Points East Festival and has promoted tours for Justin Bieber, Bon Jovi, Shawn Mendes, Rod Stewart and The Who.

The firm’s CEO Steve Homer was born in Stourbridge and was introduced to live music at the Civic in 1978, when he saw The Clash.

UK Music chair and former deputy Labour leader Tom Watson

He said: “Wolverhampton Civic halls has a great history of being a first-class venue for live music, when looking to expand our portfolio of venues it was the obvious choice.

“The council’s ambition, commercial drive and significant investment coupled with our desire to provide high quality entertainment and customer service will forge a great partnership for years to come.

"Alongside the council, we are delighted to be part of the team to further the growth of the city and look forward to some amazing events in the Civic halls.

“On a personal note, having attended my first ever live concert at the Civic Hall, I am delighted to help shape the future of this great venue.”

The Civic halls initially closed in 2017 for what was expected to be a £10 million refurb.

But the reopening has been massively delayed after a series of blunders and setbacks, which contributed to the initial budget soaring to more than £40m.

It will eventually see the height above the stage to the rear of the Civic increased to attract bigger touring bands, while better seats are being fitted, along with extra bars, new balconies and upgraded toilet facilities.

The revamp is part of wider plans for the city, including the delayed Westside development and a move to bring in a top hotel.

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