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'We're going to look at every opportunity' - Behind the scenes of big gigs at Carrow Road

PUBLISHED: 06:00 27 December 2019

Ben Kensell, who brought Westlife and The Killers to Norwich says more is yet to come. Picture: Archant

Ben Kensell, who brought Westlife and The Killers to Norwich says more is yet to come. Picture: Archant

Archant

Big music names like The Killers and Westlife performing in Norwich could be just the beginning of Carrow Road becoming more than a football stadium, it has been revealed.

Next summer, the home of the Canaries will play host to two major concerts - with the possibility of a third still there - following a hugely successful gig from Take That this year.

And the man who makes these things happen, club chief operating officer Ben Kensell, has said this could just be the start of things to come as he lifted the lid on how such things come to fruition.

He said: "So much of the music industry is about reputation and relationships and I'm out to prove that Carrow Road is a premier place for artists to come and perform.

"The fact that The Killers sold out in just a matter of minutes demonstrates how much of an audience there is here and shows others in the industry that Norwich is a place to come."

The Las Vegas four piece will headline the stadium on June 1 with hospitality packages providing the only way to see them, while on June 19 chart-topping Irish boyband Westlife bring their famous stools and key changes to Carrow Road - with tickets still available for the latter.

Mr Kensell, who gained experience in concert organising while at Arsenal, spoke candidly on what the gigs bring to the city, the club and the surrounding area.

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He said: "Obviously there are overheads that come with putting them on - such as the cost of covering the pitch and running the stadium - so you have that to consider when booking artists. It is also why we look at putting on as many as we can - covering the pitch is a one off cost so when you put on more than one show it is a case of economies of scale.

"However, when you have a sell-out show it makes a considerable amount of revenue for the club and as we are self-funding, we have to look at maximising every commercial opportunity we get. The more revenue we then get the more money we will have available to give to Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber to spend on players in the transfer market to help matters on the pitch."

However, it is not solely for financial reason that Mr Kensell is keen to maximise the opportunities of Carrow Road.

He said: "When we bring an act like Take That or The Killers to Norwich it has a wider impact on the city and the region as a whole. For many of the people who go to the concerts, it won't just be going to a gig - they'll stay in a hotel, they'll go out for a meal or a drink, make an evening of it and that will put money into the local economy.

"That's something as a club we are proud to be able to do - we are keen to support our community in as many was as possible and this is just one way we can do it."

The past year has seen a growing number of events held at Carrow Road - from the Take That concert to smaller scale 'evening with' events. This is a trend Mr Kensell is keen to continue.

He said: "We're looking to do so much more than big concerts and have already started this. Last summer we had a wrestling event that had 4,000 people attend and a Queen tribute concert that had 3,000 to name just two.

"In future we're going to look at every opportunity we can. For example, one thing we are looking at in the future is the possibility of a Christmas market. We're keeping our options open.

"As for the concerts, we've gone for two very different artists in The Killers and Westlife which will demonstrate our diversity as a venue and really show what we can do."

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