After years of delays and spiralling costs revamped Civic Halls finally reopen tonight
Today's the day! After eight years and a whopping £40 million, Wolverhampton's revamped Civic Hall is finally reopening this evening.
Renamed The Halls Wolverhampton, the venue closed in 2015 for refurbishment with a projected cost of £10 million and plans to reopen in November 2016.
After a series of major setbacks, including the discovery of asbestos inside the building and the original contractor going bust, the reopening was pushed back and back, leading to spiralling costs and public disbelief.
The long-awaited reopening even made the butt of a joke at the Wolverhampton Grand pantomime last Christmas.
But tonight, the iconic venue is finally back in action and host to beloved Britpop band Blur.
Deputy leader of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Stephen Simkins, said this was what the "blood, sweat and tears" had all been for.
He also said The Halls - being operated by AEG Presents - would attract 300,000 visitors to Wolverhampton and add more than £10 million to the local economy every year.
Councillor Simkins, who is also the cabinet member for city economy, commented: "These are exciting times for this much-loved venue in our city.
"AEG Presents’ passion for The Halls and ambition for the future matches our own and the fantastic opening season of shows will ensure the new-look venue bursts back into life in style after our multi-million-pound transformation works.
"We’re thrilled to be working with AEG Presents on The Halls Wolverhampton. They understand the venue’s rich heritage and share our vision of reimagining an iconic institution that will continue to bring joy to the lives of locals for years to come, helping shape our city centre, creating jobs and boosting businesses by attracting 300,000 visitors a year and adding more than £10 million annually to the local economy."
Stourbridge-born Steve Homer, the CEO of AEG Presents who are the operators of the venue, added: “Having hosted artists from The Clash, Bowie and Nirvana to the Manic Street Preachers and Morrissey, it’s incredible to be able to bring an iconic venue back to life and as a local lad, this is all the more special.
“We can’t wait to open the doors of The Halls Wolverhampton and bring the world’s best artists to the West Midlands stage.”
There are plenty of exciting acts heading to The Halls over the next month and a half, including McFly and the Sugababes, with more acts set to be announced throughout the year.
The Script will take to the stage on June 5 despite tragically losing their co-founder and guitarist Mark Sheehan last month. Sheehan was only 46 and died following a brief illness.
However, the concert is still going ahead and tickets are available, albeit selling fast.