Eden Park is free to start booking concerts after a decision by independent commissioners to grant the Auckland stadium the right to host up to six music events per year.

A panel of independent commissioners last month gave the go-ahead for Eden Park to host music concerts and the window for appeal has now closed, paving the way for the 50,000-seat venue to start organising events.

The stadium had previously been able to host concerts but the Eden Park Trust Board had to apply for approval on a case-by-case basis, a process that could cost NZ$100,000 (£52,000/€60,000/$72,000) and take up to 18 months to realise.

Concerts are now able to take place on weekdays, Saturdays, Sundays preceding a public holiday, and public holidays, subject to restrictions on frequency, duration and timing.

Eden Park, which is primarily used as a rugby and cricket venue, will now move to contract and proceed with announcements, with a number of artists and promoters currently waiting to confirm shows. Promoters confirmed at the hearing that Eden Park would deliver a superior event experience to music fans with its transport connectivity, proximity to the city and facilities that cater to all demographics and cultural communities of New Zealand.

After the window of appeal ended, Eden Park chief executive Nick Sautner said: “This is a celebration for all New Zealanders, a true triumph of unity in our neighbourhood to ensure our community asset is utilised to the best of its ability. We want to again extend our sincere thanks to all those that took the time to file a submission and attend the hearing.

“Our team has been inundated with messages of congratulations from neighbours and nearby businesses who are excited to welcome new business into the area, even more so following a challenging year. We’re pleased to also have ongoing support from our partners Auckland Rugby and Auckland Cricket. This is a historic moment for Eden Park and we look forward to continuing to serve our local and wider community.”

Sautner added: “Pre- and post-COVID, Eden Park has a proven track record in hosting the largest sporting events in the country and is ready, willing and able to continue to perform that role for music.

“Eden Park’s seating capacity, transport connectivity, proximity to the city and facilities that cater to all demographics make us the promoters’ venue of choice in New Zealand. Eden Park was designed to accommodate capacity crowds of all types with permanent toilets, food and beverage outlets, dining rooms and adequate entry and exit points – everything a concertgoer in 2021 needs.

“We are now actively engaging with promoters and artists to seek their appetite for performing shows at Eden Park with the potential to stream the performance internationally given the lack of live content worldwide.”

New Zealand band Six60 has been supportive in Eden Park’s bid to host more concerts and has expressed a willingness to perform at the stadium in the future. It is hoped the ruling will generate new revenue streams at the stadium, while ensuring a number of conditions are in place including traffic, sound, frequency and duration.

Submissions were first opened to the public in March 2020, with 94% of submissions to Auckland Council being in favour of the proposal. Eden Park first made the application in October 2019, with the staging of music events said to be a vital part of securing the stadium’s future.

Image: Eden Park