Hunt on for venue to host Wolverhampton Civic gigs

Sandwell | News | Published:

Dudley Town Hall? Wolverhampton Racecourse? Or how about Dudley Zoo?

The Civic could be temporarily moving and bosses are scouring the Black Country to find an alternative temporary venue to host the biggest names in pop and rock.

But where could the likes of Robert Plant, Bob Geldof and Paul Weller be seen playing in the intervening period between the Civic closing and reopening again?

The aforementioned trio have either performed or are due to perform at the Civic this year, continuing the iconic venue's rich tradition of attracting the cream of the musical crop.

Comedy, too, has become big business for the Civic - and its smaller sister venue the Wulfrun - in recent years.

Peter Kay, Lee Evans, Frankie Boyle, Al Murray and Michael McIntyre are among those to have played sell-out shows.

Despite having a capacity of around 3,000 the Civic has attracted pioneers of musical genres in the past eight decades.

Bob Marley, Nat King Cole, David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Diana Dors, Elton John, Oasis, Chuck Berry, Nirvana, The Who, Radiohead - they've all played at the Civic.

The landmark Wolverhampton Civic


But with no apparent venue to rival the Civic, bosses may have to look at smaller venues for a temporary solution while work is carried out.

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West Bromwich Town Hall has a maximum capacity of just 600, but chiefs could look to bring forward plans that were first mooted last year.

Proposals to to invest millions of pounds to transform the town hall into a top entertainment venue were unveiled in a bid to turn the building into one that could rival the Civic.


Under the plans millions of pounds would be spent on installing music and lighting systems.

It was hoped the revamp would encourage more people into the town centre and Sandwell Council bosses were also looking at transforming Wednesbury Town Hall.

A current bigger venue in the Black Country would be Dudley Town Hall, which has a capacity of around 1,300.

Elsewhere in Dudley, concerts with crowds of up to 5,000 people were last staged in the grounds of Dudley Zoo and Castle in 2007.

Opera singer Katherine Jenkins and rock band Status Quo were among those to perform.

Dudley Town Hall

However bosses ruled out further concerts in 2010 due to the high costs involved.

Gigs are regularly held at Wolverhampton Racecourse - Scouting for Girls were there last year and UB40 have lined up a gig next month.

If Civic chiefs are thinking even bigger they should look no further than Molineux.

The ground may be more used to holding football matches every two weeks but it put on a hugely successful Bon Jovi concert in 2003 in front of 34,000 adoring fans.

Whatever the interim future for the Civic, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, bosses will hope the refurbishment will all be worth it.

Mike Hamblett, who runs the Robin 2 in Bilston, said the Civic fared incredibly well considering Birmingham is just a few miles away.

He said gigs of a smaller nature could be held at his venue.

"They've obviously got the Slade Rooms which is a similar size to here at the Robin, where we can get up to 700," he said.

Thousands of Scouting for Girls fans watched the band perform at Wolverhampton Racecourse after an evening's racing

"We're always looking to attract more promoters to the Robin and if the Civic was closed while it was refurbished then in theory we'd like to attract even more people.

"That's been an increased trend for us of late.

"We certainly try to punch above our weight here and I think ourselves and the Civic manage to do that.

"We're always trying to expand the boundaries of what we do."

Fans enjoy Paul Weller at the Civic last October

A comparable refurbishment project took place at Birmingham Town Hall.

The hall was closed for many years for a multi-million pound makeover before being unveiled in 2007.

It was transformed into a concert hall and is now used for performances as diverse as organ recitals, rock, pop and classical concerts and events such as graduation ceremonies for Aston University.

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