UK's only outdoor arena opens
The organisers of the world's first socially distanced outdoor live music venue, Virgin Money Unity Arena, has opened its full summer programme of events this week.
The outdoor Virgin Money Unity Arena, taking place at Gosforth Park in Newcastle, saw North East star Sam Fender take to the stage this week at a sold-out opening show of two. It will be followed by a full programme of heavyweight acts throughout August and September.
Organiser, Steve Davis, said: “We're proud that we've been able to host Virgin Money Unity Arena and delighted to have been able to employ and assemble such a talented crew and background team."
The event also supported #WeMakeEvents – RED ALERT which on Tuesday 11 August hosted a series of outdoor events in London and across the UK, calling on the government to “THROW US A LINE!” to support the events sector, which is worth £100bn and employs up to one million people.
The campaign now has the collaborative support of 17 trade bodies and several more production companies and manufacturers.
Together, they have progressed the campaign into the ‘Red Alert’ phase which will see planned activities across the UK.
The Virgin Money Unity Arena, at Newcastle Racecourse, will host 29 events on 26 days over the next month, with acts like Sam Fender, Supergrass, Jason Manford, Bill Bailey, Maximo Park, Alfie Boe and Ronan Keating taking to the stage.
Councillors hailed the shows as an important step in the recovery of the city’s cultural sector, and commended organisers for going beyond required guidance to keep people safe and be a “good neighbour.”
Cllr Ged Bell, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for employment and culture, added: “Right now times are exceptionally tough for our vibrant community of world-class creative professionals in Newcastle, but we know that culture will play a key role in helping our city to heal from the effects of this pandemic.
“While we are doing all we can for them for Newcastle to rebuild itself as the leading cultural destination we all love, we need independent festivals like this to support the recovery of the sector and provide our people with a diverse programme of events.”