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Ashton Gate Summer Series – it’s a wrap!

The Ashton Gate Summer Series of concerts saw more than a hundred thousand fans flock to BS3 in the "off-season”.

More than two thousand staff and volunteers helped deliver four amazing nights at Ashton Gate that have put BS3 firmly on the international radar.

 “When we completed the £45m rebuild of Ashton Gate in 2016  we were approached by a number of promoters. At the time we (Bristol) were perceived as a city that didn’t do big events, we weren’t credible.” Says Mark Kelly, Managing Director of Ashton Gate.

“We held out for two summers and we had a number of smaller promoters come to us to offer us gigs of around the 18,000-20,000 mark but we held firm and said no – our aspiration was to be host to a major international act. That paid off as Take That were the first to lock in and then the idea grew. 

“We got lucky in that Take That, Spice Girls, Rod Stewart and Muse were all touring at roughly the same time. As the home of Bristol City and Bristol Bears it was critical that the Summer  Series worked from a timing point of view of pulling up the pitch and then having enough time to prepare it ready for the start of the season.

The Spice Girls wowed Ashton Gate.

“The Rod Stewart concert was deliberately selected as the first one – just before half term, a ramp-up event almost to stress test our planning. From transport to toilets, fan village to bespoke boxes of hospitality. All four concerts were very different demographics. Rod being the smallest gig, at around 20-thousand, seated areas on the pitch and a chance to test out our transport plan to get people safely to and from the stadium.

“We learnt a lot from that first concert and it helped shape the success of the other three. We deliberately held the concerts on midweek nights (Monday - Wednesday). Take That was in half-term specifically to try and ease with any transport issues getting thirty thousand fans to the stadium. It was also a way to try and help the local economy - by attracting visitors to the city for the gig they might stay longer - especially with the half–term break.

"The logistics of getting the four concerts’ stages in and out were incredible and fascinating to watch. Within 12 hours of the final whistle sounding of the Bears’ last rugby match of the season the grass was pulled up. 5,500 tiles of Terratrack was then laid onto the pitch to protect it from the weight of all the trucks and cranes for the various concerts.

"The positive impact to the wider city is already being recognised. With hoteliers recording boosts in bookings on the nights of the concerts and the additional visitor spend to our local economy we certainly hope that the Summer Series will become a regular fixture on the city calendar. Who plays next? We shall see…."

Mark Kelly, Ashton Gate managing director

"A lot of expertise has gone into ensuring our pitch will be perfect in time for the start of the new football season. Of course weather plays a huge part and can help or hinder but I’m sure the success of this series will only truly be judged come the opening weekend of the football season when City kick-off on a pristine green pitch. 

"The positive impact to the wider city is already being recognised. With hoteliers recording boosts in bookings on the nights of the concerts and the additional visitor spend to our local economy we certainly hope that the Summer Series will become a regular fixture on the city calendar. Who plays next? We shall see…."