Concerts and festival show off ambitions 'to put Sandwell on the map'

UB40 and Beverley Knight will both perform at an open-air concert at Sandwell Valley Country Park this summer, while a dance music spectacular is also planned

The elrow weekend festival offers a weekend of vibrant colour and music
The elrow weekend festival offers a weekend of vibrant colour and music

Business, council and political leaders from across Sandwell have spoken about the benefits of a series of events in a borough country park.

Sandwell Valley Country Park will be the host venue for a huge outdoor concert on August 1 featuring UB40 and Beverley Knight and the weekend-long festival on September 25-26.

The planned events have been described as positive way to drive up the economy in Sandwell, as well as showcase the area and put the borough on the map.

Karen Webb, director of business services at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce said it would be an opportunity to show off the region.

She said: "Sandwell Valley Country Park is one of the region’s most popular destinations for visitors.

"We know only too well that over the last 12 months, many destinations and popular attractions have remained closed.

Beverley Knight returns to the region to perform some of her biggest hits

"With all lockdown restrictions set to end in June, large entertainment events such as this will once again show the world how welcoming the region can be.

"The Black Country Chamber of Commerce will also be announcing plans in the next few weeks on an exciting new service to showcase the best of the region and work with those in the sector to help drive local and inbound visitors."

Sandwell Council said it would highlight the council's ambitions to put the borough on the map.

A spokesman said: "The events sector is worth £41.2 billion in the UK each year and the West Midlands has been identified as a key growth area for this industry with a wide range of cultural offers appealing to diverse groups.

"Sandwell Valley is the green lung of Sandwell and our excellent transport links make it a destination for visitors from both within and outside the borough.

UB40 will kick off the summer in Sandwell with a night of hits

"We always try to increase people’s understanding and engagement with our rich assets and the country park at the Valley presents a unique opportunity to do that.

"The upcoming festivals of Made, UB40 and El Row highlight our ambitions to put Sandwell on the map, driving our local economy and showcasing the area as a good place to live, work and invest."

Warley MP John Spellar said it was a positive step and would bring new life to the region.

He said: "I think people are desperate to get back to some sort of normality and seeing and participating in live entertainment, so I think this will be greatly welcomed.

"It's also good news that it's happening in Sandwell and will benefit the local economy, as people will need to provide the facilities, the catering and people will be needed to clean up the site as well.

"This all creates work, but also breathes life back into the entertainment scene of the region, which is very welcome.

UB40: Live from the Valley will help open a summer of activities at Sandwell Valley Country Park

"To me, it will all work well as long as people make sure the facilities are protected and restored once the events are over and behave responsibly."

Tickets to UB40: Live from the Valley on August 1 are available, starting from just £40 plus booking fee (£20 plus booking fee for 5 to 15 year olds, with under 5’s free) from livefromthevalley.co.uk.

Tickets to the elrow weekend festival on September 25 and 26 cost £55 plus booking fee for a weekend ticket, with day tickets also available (Saturday 25 at £35 plus booking fee and Sunday 26 at £27.50 plus booking fee) at elrow-midlands.co.uk.

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