A comic, a boy band and a rock legend ... The Hydro gets set for debut acts

THREE big names – a comedian, a rock star and a boy band – will help christen Scotland's latest events venue next year - and there will be many more to come.

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The Hydro could do for Glasgow what the O2 Arena has done for London
The Hydro could do for Glasgow what the O2 Arena has done for London

The Hydro has been taking shape at the SECC complex in Glasgow and is due to open on September 2, next year.

And the signs are The Hydro, with a seating capacity of 12,000 and a futuristic design, could have the same impact on Glasgow and Scotland as the O2 Arena has had on London.

Top UK promoters are already queuing up to bring their acts to the venue.

With at least 140 events a year, the new arena expects to play host to one million people a year – or the rough equivalent of a fifth of the population of Scotland.

It will become one of the world's top five busiest indoor entertainment arenas, on a par with London's O2 and New York's legendary Madison Square Gardens.

The city's economy will also gain a huge impact.

The most recent figures reveal that the SECC, which stages some 130 event nights a year, has an annual economic impact of £397million, while the O2 has injected an extra £400m into London. And The Hydro has the potential to inject an additional £131m per annum into the local economy.

Scottish Hydro will spend £1.5million per year over the next decade in The Hydro.

The venue is tempting businesses in Glasgow and Scotland with VIP and hospitality opportunities.

English comedian Micky Flanagan plays the new venue on October 10 next year, followed by Peter Gabriel on the 24th. On December 7 – just under a year from now – it will be the turn of JLS.

But many other acts and events are in the pipeline, including the 2013 Music Of Black Origin awards (Mobos) and the World Gymnastics Championships two years later.

Between these two dates, The Hydro will also play a key role in the 2014 Commonwealth Games, which are being staged in the city.

"The three acts confirmed for next year are just the tip of the iceberg," says the SECC's Kirsten McAlonan. "We are working on having a full opening season and are in discussions with a lot of promoters.

"They are all as excited by The Hydro's potential as we are – they all want to bring their acts here.

"The Hydro will be able to host events of every stripe, whether it is comedy, live music, sports or big award ceremonies."

Fans have contributed ideas to The Hydro's Facebook page on the kind of acts they would like to see at the venue.

One fan suggested a week of concerts by city star Billy Connolly.

"The public has really taken The Hydro on board and there are lots of suggestions out there," added Ms McAlonan. "We are looking at them."

"Having been on site, all I can say is that it is going to be amazing.

"The amphitheatre seating arrangement will give every fan an intimate feeling, even if they happen to be at the back. It really will be different from anywhere else you have seen.

"We have high expectations for The Hydro and will be announcing other acts and events as they are confirmed."

russell.leadbetter@ eveningtimes.co.uk

Arts and Entertainment

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