'It's probably the biggest production we've ever had': SSE Arena, Wembley boss John Drury talks this weekend's MTV EMAs

'It's probably the biggest production we've ever had': SSE Arena, Wembley boss John Drury talks this weekend's MTV EMAs

The SSE Arena, Wembley's John Drury has said this Sunday's MTV EMAs will be the biggest production ever to be held at the legendary venue.

Hosted by Rita Ora, the event will feature acts including Shawn Mendes, Demi Lovato, Camila Cabello, Kesha, The Killers, Stormzy, Liam Payne, Travis Scott, French Montana and Clean Bandit.

It will only be the second time the awards have been in held in London, having previously taken place at Alexandra Palace back in 1996. The UK has welcomed the EMAs on four other occasions - Edinburgh (2003), Liverpool (2008), Belfast (2011) and Glasgow (2014).

"It's the biggest production we've had in the building, probably ever," Drury told Music Week. "MTV has been in here for six days already and we're still building, so that gives a measure of how big the production is.

"We've all done a lot a work to bring the event back to London and to bring it to Wembley for the very first time. We've been talking to [MTV parent company] Viacom about it for a number of years. There's a great line-up and there's a lot of excitement. It will be a really good show, I'm sure."

The 12,500-capacity venue, which held performances by acts such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Pink Floyd in its previous guise as the Empire Pool, will be configured for around 8,000 people. It was renamed Wembley Arena in 1978 and became The SSE Arena, Wembley after signing a naming rights deal in 2014.

"London is an epicentre of music, so bringing [the EMAs] back for the first time in 21 years is huge in that respect," said Drury. "We're partnering with a number of local authorities so there are various competitions, promotions and activities going on and it's very visible in the area. They are engaging the local community as much as they can."

The AEG-operated arena hosted WWE last Saturday prior to being taken over by MTV and will return to normal business next Thursday (November 16), with a concert featuring Alice Cooper. "We had to take a lot of dates out of the diary but you have to do that to be able get a show like the EMAs in," explained Drury. "It's a great showcase for the venue - it's one of those events where you can put it in the shop window. There will be some amazing performances: iconic and legendary are the words that spring to mind for all of us and I think we fit into that quite nicely."

Post-EMAs, Wembley has a busy end to the year lined up, with acts including Queens Of The Stone Age, James Arthur, Steps, The Kooks, Marilyn Manson, Queen + Adam Lambert, Five Finger Death Punch and Andre Rieu. Concerts already confirmed for 2017 include Kendrick Lamar, Stereophonics, Jason Derulo, Arcade Fire, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds and Bryan Adams. 

MTV Music Week - a series of events held in London in the lead-up to the EMAs - kicked off yesterday and will culminate on Saturday with performances by U2 and David Guetta in Trafalgar Square. 

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