Ashton Gate handed concert capacity increase

Bristol’s Ashton Gate stadium is to benefit from a capacity increase for concerts ahead of a busy programme of events this summer.

The stadium has been granted permission to increase its maximum capacity for concerts by 4,000 to 34,000. It comes as the stadium prepares to host Rod Stewart on May 22, Take That on May 28, Muse on June 5 and the Spice Girls on June 10.

The stadium primarily serves as the home of Championship football club Bristol City and the Bristol Bears Premiership rugby union team. Residents have expressed concerns over the extra traffic that will likely be created during the upcoming gigs but the licensing committee of Bristol City Council has expressed its satisfaction at the venue’s plans to manage the issue.

The previous capacity limit for music concerts was 30,000. Ashton Gate Limited had sought to increase this to 38,000 but the cap has been restricted to 34,000. Mark Kelly, managing director at Ashton Gate, said 34,000 represents the “sweet spot” for gigs.

“We’re not trying to get rich out of this,” he added, according to the Bristol Live website. “This is about bringing events to the city.

“This is about employment, it’s about the economy, it’s about the perception of being open for business. Bristol has to be seen to be open for business.”

Residents living in the immediate vicinity of the stadium will also be given a personal escort to and from their homes during the gigs. A no-entry zone is to be set up, with residents to be granted unofficial parking permits.

Image: Spice Girls