The Summer Series of concerts at Ashton Gate will happen again next year, Bristol Live can confirm, with four or even five dates already being pencilled in.
Bosses at the stadium said they are aiming for even bigger acts with crowds of up to 35,000, after a successful run of four gigs over the past few weeks.
No acts have been chosen as yet, but the dates are close to being confirmed, and negotiations are underway with some ‘incredible’ names.
The boss of Ashton Gate Stadium, Mark Kelly, told Bristol Live the Summer Series of gigs were hugely successful, and now they want to do five at the end of the football and rugby seasons every year.
When will the concerts be?
The concerts are likely to begin later in June next year, because of the Rugby World Cup in the autumn of this year.
That means Bristol Bears won’t begin their domestic Gallagher Premiership league season until October, with the final regular season home fixture likely to be towards the end of May or even into early June.
There is then the possibility that Bristol Bears could finish in the top four and qualify for the end of season play-offs, which – if they finish first or second in the league – could mean a home play-off fixture in early June.
That is something being weighed up by Mark Kelly.
He said the football and rugby will always come first, so this could mean only four concerts are possible in the shortened post season window.
“If Bristol Bears are going to get into the play-offs, which obviously we hope they do, it could be the first week in June before we will be able to put a concert on, after the 2nd of June,” he said.
(Image: Bristol Live)
“There’s a potential two week gap between the last game and the play-offs, so we could put a weekend gig on, flip it, and then get ready for the play-offs, so there is some possibilities that we are working around.
“We employ agronomists who are pitch experts, who tell us what impact that would have on the pitch, and everything is done with a backed-up response to it, rather than saying ‘let’s just do that because we want to’,” he added.
Who could be playing?
Mr Kelly said the dates are already pencilled in, and now Ashton Gate is receiving proposals from major artists.
“There’s some big names, really big names, that are being pitched at us, which is great already,” he said.
“So we’re trying to negotiate with the promoters to be able to work around our calendar.
(Image: Bristol Live)
“We want to be credible. It’s about bringing entertainment into Bristol. It’s cliched, and we keep saying it, but that’s what Steve Lansdown wants, he wants a legacy of bringing big acts and Bristol being proud of a city with this big a venue,” he said.
“Our aspiration is that we want to do five a year, within those four weeks. It might be a stretch next year in terms of the window, but our aspiration is definitely five a year.
“But it has to be the right act, we don’t want to do a boyband just for the sake of doing it,” he added.
He said Ashton Gate would only look to book big-name acts which will fill the stadium, and so the number of gigs taking place next summer might well depend on the availability of those acts.
“If we only do one or two next year, but they are stunning and credible and everyone goes ‘wow’, then we’ll be successful as well,” he said.
“I don’t want to do something for just 15,000 people, because what’s the point? It’s not what the stadium is designed for.
“That’s why we started with Rod, because we knew he would bring in 25,000 people and he got there or thereabouts.
“We can go to 35,000 – we applied for a licence for 35,000. The council were nervous because we were untested,” he said.
Take That and The Spice Girls saw more than 30,000 in the crowd, and Mr Kelly said the stadium could hold more. He even hinted at one possible act which could be the one to bring that record crowd to BS3.
(Image: Bristol City offers to arrange fans’ laundry after wet paint problems at first game of the season)
“There is an international artist from the 70s and 80s who is looking to make a comeback, if we can get someone like him, he will pull a 35,000 crowd, and we would then push and illustrate to the council that we can do this,” he said.
“We have to push. We want to be able to do these events. The feedback from Bristol has been brilliant – the sentiment is so high and we’re really pleased with that,” he added.