Norfolk Showground enters the arena to attract top music acts

PUBLISHED: 13:00 23 May 2012

Norfolk Spectacular 2011 at the Norfolk Showground in Costessey.

Norfolk Spectacular 2011 at the Norfolk Showground in Costessey.

Angela Sharpe

Bosses at the Norfolk Showground are looking at a name change as they seek to establish the site as a music venue for top acts and pursue new markets following the completion of a new £2m exhibition hall.

With building work on the 3,000sqm scheme two weeks off completion, owners of the county’s largest indoor venue have announced that it is to be renamed Norfolk Showground Arena in order to better reflect future plans for the building.

The venue is already extensively used for consumer events throughout the year including sales, fairs and exhibitions.

And the showground’s latest ambition is to firmly establish the newly named ‘Arena’ as a music venue and a deal has been entered into with music promoter Envy Promotions to put on up to six big- name gigs at the Arena.

Envy is the firm behind the Norfolk Spectacular, now renamed as the Sundown Festival, that debuted at the showground last year with two full days of top acts including N Dubz, Example, X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, Labrinth, and Professor Green.

Louise Wilkinson, business development manager at the Showground said: “We have invested £1.4m in the building, including an imposing new reception, internal cladding and an acoustic spec. The building will be complete by the end of May. The main drive behind the investment was to allow us to enter new markets so we are delighted to be working with Envy to bring concerts to Norfolk. We are sure local people will welcome the opportunity to see top names locally rather than having to travel to London’’

A spokesman from Envy said: “The Norfolk Spectacular was the first outdoor music festival in Norfolk spanning two full days.

“We were overwhelmed at the support we received by music fans locally and further afield. The Spectacular showed us that there is certainly a demand for more gigs in Norfolk and with the Arena being refurbished, and of a very high acoustic spec, it is the ideal venue within the county to host larger indoor concerts.

“We will also continue to host the Sundown Festival in September and plan to make this an annual event.

“Acts already confirmed for this year’s Festival include Olly Murs, Labrinth, Pixie Lott and Dizzee Rascal.”

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