Motorpoint Arena Cardiff is celebrating 25 years since it opened its doors in the heart of Cardiff city centre. The Arena, owned and operated by Live Nation, has brought some of the world’s biggest names to Wales, from Beyoncé, P!NK and Elton John to Iron Maiden, Oasis and Panic! At The Disco, as well as hosting international events and conferences. Over the years, the venue has welcomed over 10 million fans through its doors. In the past 12 months, Live Nation has invested in a number of upgrades to ensure the venue continues to host memorable moments for years to come.
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff’s rich history began with an opening gala on September 9 and 10, 1993 headlined by Dame Shirley Bassey at the then named Cardiff International Arena, followed by the official opening by Her Majesty The Queen on October 14, 1993.
Since then, as well as the biggest names in music and comedy, the Arena has attracted events which have transformed the venue into an ice rink for skating spectaculars, boxing rings for international matches and even a motocross dirt track for high-speed racing. It has been a giant snooker hall, darts Arena, extravagant dinner hall and an all-in conference centre.
It was a night to remember back in June 1995, when Diana, Princess of Wales, was in the Welsh capital to watch her friend Luciano Pavarotti perform a charity concert in her name.
The Arena has hosted the Welsh BAFTAs, the closing gala dinner for the Rugby World Cup 1999 and even the FA Cup Sponsor Village whilst Wembley was closed.
Kylie Minogue, dressed head to toe in an amazing Dolce and Gabbana wardrobe, performed surrounded by an army of glamorous dancers in 2011. The set was one of the biggest the Arena ever had – using 41,000 litres of water to create a Splash Zone! This pop princess returned again on 24 September (pictured).
General Manager Phil Sheeran, who has worked at the Arena for almost a decade says: “Live Nation’s investment and commitment to the Arena these past 25 years has brought some of the biggest stars and the very best music, entertainment and sporting events to Wales and the South West. The Arena is a favourite for fans. Seeing international artists up-close and feeling part of the action is just one of the reasons why people return time and again.”
Huw Thomas, Leader of Cardiff Council added, “The Arena has been an important entertainment partner in Cardiff for the past 25 years, and was a critical part of Cardiff becoming the UK’s first Music City. I see music as an important economic driver and vital component for the city’s offer when attracting new investment, and the Arena is at the heart of Cardiff’s offer. We will continue to work closely with Live Nation in the development of our strategy to offer the best in entertainment and business to Cardiff and South Wales.”
Motorpoint Arena Cardiff’s investment and upgrades over the past 12 months include:
- A brand new bar by Carlsberg called The Danish Quarter opened inside the Arena, a concept bar which originated across European festivals in the summer of 2017. Main Arena bars have been refurbished and draught beers installed across the venue, serving crisp cold beers, ciders and soft drinks.
- The refurbishment of the Arena’s smaller Exit 7 space, which is important for new talent coming through. An intimate setting, audiences can see the next biggest musician, comedian or speaker up close and before the rest, before they make their way to the main stage.
- The Arena’s L2 Restaurant & Bar has been rebranded and refurbished, open for gastro food dining and drinks ahead of a show.
- The hearing loop system at the Arena has been upgraded to provide a state-of-the-art new service, as well as brand new lifts being fitted, facial recognition cameras and other security upgrades.
- Further energy efficiency and environmentally friendly measures have been introduced across the venue.
- The Arena’s website page at motorpointarenacardiff.co.uk, which receives around two million page views a year, has new features including 3D scans of selected spaces.
- The Arena has also marked 25 year commemorations around the building with two distinct wall of fame designs featuring the names of artists that have played over the years.
- A number of hospitality suites are available across Level One balconies for corporate clients and Hospitality customers to enjoy some of the best seats in the house have been updated.
Phil Sheehan added, “Over the next few months there will be giveaways and special surprises to say thank you to the fans, so watch this space!”
The artists to have performed the most number of shows at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff include X Factor Live, Michael McIntyre, Holiday On Ice, John Bishop, Lee Evans, Russell Howard, Hard Rock Calling, JLS and family favourite Harlem Globetrotters.