No room to grow

    Many local entertainment promoters are crying foul over the lack of available large-scale concert venues across the region.
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    While local promoters are playing a key role in the development of the live events production industry in the Middle East, many are crying foul over the lack of available large-scale concert venues across the region.

    It's a problem that is particularly highlighted during the summer period. As it stands, the vast majority of countries across the region simply don't have the venues to accommodate a performance by a top-tier international artist.

    With the now established regional presence of two major international rivals, Live Nation Middle East and AEG Live Middle East, there are expectations the industry will be able to deliver "big-name" artists to the region, but questions remain.

    The general manager of AEG Live, Thomas Ovesen, and managing director of Live Nation Elissa Murtaza, concur that the lack of viable indoor venues impacts on the industry's ability to cater to capacity crowds and attract touring artists year round.

    In the Middle East, outdoor venues are only considered viable during the cooler months, hence the call from within the industry for the development of large-scale indoor facilities.

    A positive step in that direction is currently being taken with the development of The Palladium, which will open later this year in Dubai Media City and will boast a maximum capacity of around 9000.

    Live Nation Middle East has expressed its interest in developing a joint-venture project in Dubai to accommodate an indoor venue capable of hosting large crowds, but Murtaza declined to confirm if any negotiations were in progress at the time of press.

    But questions also linger as to whether the development of dedicated large-scale concert venues would prove economically viable.

    Multipurpose venues would most certainly prove a better option in the Middle East, allowing venue operators to play host to a range of commercial activities throughout the year.

    There will always be an element of financial risk in building such projects, but surely it's a calculated risk worth weighing up as viable option...it may just be a case of "if you build it they will come".

    Kelly Lewis is the editor of Sound & Stage Middle East.

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