Local lockdown restrictions imposed due to the rapid rise of Covid-19 cases in the North East of England have brought Newcastle's Virgin Money Unity Arena concert series to an early end.
This decision by promoter SSD Concerts to cancel the remaining socially distanced shows, which were due to conclude this weekend, has been made to comply with formal measures set to be announced across the region.
Since opening its doors in August with two sell-out shows featuring local favourite Sam Fender, the venue has hosted the likes of Van Morrison, The Libertines, Ronan Keating, The Snuts and Becky Hill. The cancelled gigs include Jack Savoretti (September 18), Kaiser Chiefs (September 19) and Declan McKenna (September 20). Tonight's show with Chase & Status tonight will still go ahead as planned.
Unfortunately, due to the rise of infection in the North East, we must compy with the council's and the government's latest advice
Steve Davis, SSD Concerts
Event organiser Steve Davis said: “It is extremely disappointing to have to cancel these final shows at the end of what has been an incredible six-week run of successfully socially-distanced concerts. We're honoured to have been able to provide a little happiness and joy to thousands of music and comedy fans throughout the region and the UK in what has been such a tough 2020 for everyone.
“We have complied with all government guidance to ensure the safety and enjoyment of our audience, artists and crew throughout. We’d like to thank all who attended these genuinely heart warming and uplifting events. For the last six weeks, Newcastle has been the leading light for the live music industry and for that, we should all be very proud.
“Unfortunately, due to the rise of infection in the North East, we must comply with the council’s and the government’s latest advice. This should not take away from the fact that the people of the North East and from all over the world have embraced this pioneering run of shows. On behalf of everyone involved – our sponsors Virgin Money, Newcastle City Council, the dedicated crew and staff who have worked so hard to make this a success – again I thank you so much. Sadly, the new lockdown measures will bring an end to our run, but the safety and the wellbeing of the people of the North East is our prime and utmost concern."
Refunds for any cancelled shows will be available at point of purchase.
The world's only outdoor socially distanced arena, Virgin Money Unity Arena has hosted more than 50,000 people over the summer, employed a crew and staff of over 200 people giving some work to a beleaguered music industry and allowed artists to perform live at a time when the music industry is effectively closed.