AEG Presents, the live entertainment division of US sports, entertainment and venue giant AEG, has added Wolverhampton’s historic Civic Halls to its UK venue portfolio.

City of Wolverhampton Council said it chose AEG Presents over “premier competition” for the long-term deal to operate Civic Halls. AEG Presents will be supported by venue and event management company ASM Global to deliver a first class customer experience in the venue, including sales, marketing, food & beverage and other services.

The Civic Halls are due to reopen in early 2022 following a major refurbishment programme. The project has faced long delays, with its cost reportedly quadrupling to more than £40m (€46.6m/$55.4m).

AEG Presents owns and operates UK venues including London’s Eventim Apollo, Indigo at The O2 arena, and the recently announced new live music venue at Olympia London. It will seek to bring bigger and better acts and events to the Civic Halls, while working with development contractor, Willmott Dixon Interiors, on plans for the final stages of the transformation of the Grade II listed building. 

The works being undertaken by Willmott Dixon inside the halls will see the height above the stage to the rear of the main Civic Hall increased to cater to bigger shows. Overall, there will be wider and more comfortable seats, more bars and more space to socialise, expanded and revamped toilet facilities.

Lift access to new balconies will installed, along with better access arrangements for disabled visitors, a greater number of accessible viewing points, and improved room temperatures through the installation of a new air conditioning system.

AEG Presents CEO, Steve Homer, said: “Wolverhampton Civic Halls has a great history of being a first class venue for live music. When looking to expand our portfolio of venues it was the obvious choice.

“The Council’s ambition, commercial drive and significant investment coupled with our desire to provide high quality entertainment and customer service will forge a great partnership for years to come.

“Alongside the Council, we are delighted to be part of the team to further the growth of the city and look forward to some amazing events in the Civic Halls. On a personal note, having attended my first ever live concert at the Civic Hall, I am delighted to help shape the future of this great venue.”

Leader of Wolverhampton Council, Councillor Ian Brookfield, added: “This is a huge coup and massive vote of confidence in the Council’s strategy and in our fantastic city. AEG Presents are a leading, global brand who see the immense opportunity and potential that both the Civic Halls and our city have to offer.

“We’re excited by the opportunity to work with the AEG Presents team to relight our Civic Halls, supported by Council investment to reimagine the public space outside and complemented by our plans to bring a premier hotel brand to the heart of the city as part of our Westside re-phasing.

“AEG Presents’ passion for the iconic halls and ambition for the future matches our own and this partnership will not only deliver an outstanding venue with top-class entertainment for generations to come – it will be a keystone of our wider plans to reimagine the city centre, to create local jobs and grow vital local businesses. Never has this been more needed than now, as we plot a path out of the pandemic.

“The Civic Halls is an integral part of Wolverhampton’s entertainment and music heritage and an important part of our visitor economy. We believe – and this belief is shared by AEG Presents – that it has the potential to become a recognised venue not just regionally and nationally, but also internationally. 
 
“The re-opening and the successful operation of the halls will reap big rewards – not only because it won’t cost the taxpayer a penny – but just as importantly in terms of jobs and economic benefit for our city as we look to relight from the impact of the pandemic.”