Sunday, January 13, 2013

Elton Might Play Headingley

Yorkshire believe hosting music concerts at Headingley could bring them in as much as £500,000 per year.

The county were given consent by Leeds City Council earlier this week to hold as many as three events per calendar year for 2013 and 2014, although the plan for this year is to hold one in June and one in September.

Executive chairman Colin Graves has revealed that they have spoken to a number of promoters, and that they are targeting a more mature audience who follow "the Elton Johns of this world".

A Yorkshire press release this week said they hope to be in a position to announce details of their first concert in the near future.

"What we've done is look at the facilities we've got, and we saw an opportunity to start holding concerts," said Graves. "It's another income stream for us, which could be a big one if we get it off the ground and do it properly. We see it as a great result.

"We're looking at staging two concerts a year, which could be an income stream between £200,000 and £500,000 per year. The plan is to have one in June and possibly one in September.

"We've talked to about four promoters, and there's plenty of names out there. We don't want to go down the pop route of big bands and all that sort of stuff. We want to go for the Elton Johns of this world, those sort of people.

"We want somebody who is a bit of a different market to the teeny boppers.

"We've also got options in the sense that we could either work with the promoters to lay it all on on a joint basis or they could take it over and give us a set fee. From our point of view, it's a massive income stream we've never had before."

Yorkshire's neighbours Durham and Lancashire have both hosted concerts, with the latter the most experienced in the country in that particular field having hosted names such as Take That, Robbie Williams and Bon Jovi in recent years.

They are also hosting a Sir Cliff Richard concert this summer.

But Old Trafford has had well documented problems with the state of the outfield following concerts because of poor weather and bad behavior from music goers, which is something Yorkshire are understandably keen to avoid.

"That's part of the reason why whoever we go for will be a bit more mature," added Graves

"We would hold them on the basis of using part of the seating and the outfield. The capacity will start off at about 15,000. If we do it successfully, we'd look at increasing it to 25-30,000.

"We know that we can pick up the phone to a number of other counties for advice whether it be Lancashire, Durham or Hampshire."

- Northern Echo

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