AECC management want larger arena to host bigger events

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Aberdeenshire media outlets are reporting that Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) management wish to build a brand new arena in the city in a bid to lure big name artists.

The arena, reported to cost £20 million, follows statements that suggest the venue has had to turn away stars such as Lady Gaga and Elton John because of capacity issues.

Both the Press and Journal and BBC state that AECC bosses want to attract bigger events to the city.

But, according to the AECC’s press and marketing team, no official statements have been issued by the venue. A spokesperson said: “AECC had one of its busiest years ever last year (2011/12) and its business levels this year are up on last year. AECC has flagged the need for new/additional hall space for some time. Whilst the headline grabbing issue may be the concerts we have lost out on, we also lose other commercial business such as conferences and exhibitions, which are more lucrative for the City.

“Meanwhile, all of our energy related events, including Offshore Europe, All-Energy and Subsea UK are showing substantial year-on-year growth which we must ensure we can meet to retain these events in Aberdeen.

“The issue has always been about how to fund the expansion given capital funding constraints within Aberdeen City Council. However discussions are now taking place, led by the council, on the development options involving private sector developers who would input funding whilst other sources such as Scottish Enterprise would also be explored.  There are no plans to consider bank borrowing, and no suggestion this will be funded by the council.”

The news comes as Aberdeen City Council confirmed an events programme for 2013 that is to supported by a budget of just under £500,000.

It includes the BP Summer Big Screens opera and ballet events;
Aberdeen Highland Games;
Tartan Day celebrations, including a pipe band-led parade, film screenings and re-enactments;
Armed Forces Day;
• Fireworks night;
Festive events, including the Christmas lights switch-on, Santa parade, carol concerts, and a festive entertainment weekend. A new, one-off event, to celebrate the refurbishment of the Duthie Park in the summer of 2013 is also planned.