Pride of Scotland: SSE Hydro's Debbie McWilliams hails hometown heroes

Pride of Scotland: SSE Hydro's Debbie McWilliams hails hometown heroes

The SSE Hydro's Debbie WcWilliams has trumpeted the impact of homegrown artists Lewis Capaldi and Gerry Cinnamon in driving business at the Glasgow venue. 

Bathgate-born Capaldi sold-out two nights at the arena for March 2020 back in May – weeks prior to the release of his platinum-selling debut album Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent

Glasgow's Gerry Cinnamon has been another major breakout star and plays two sold-out dates at the Hydro this December, while all tickets have been snapped up for a hometown show by The Proclaimers next month.

Local talent has been incredibly strong, particularly this year

Debbie McWilliams

Scottish Event Campus

"There certainly seems to be real energy within the live music market at arena level UK-wise and business levels for the SSE Hydro continue to be robust," said McWilliams, director of live entertainment at the Scottish Event Campus. "Local talent has been incredibly strong, particularly this year, with Lewis Capaldi and Gerry Cinnamon both selling out two nights instantly, as well as The Proclaimers."

The venue, which opened in 2013, can now accommodate 14,300 people after increasing its floor capacity and placed sixth in Pollstar's mid-year rankings, with 394,435 tickets sold in the first half of this year. 

"For the financial year 2018/19 we’ve seen some great acts through the door including Take That who played three sold-out shows and Hugh Jackman, who launched his world tour with three sell-out performances," added McWilliams, speaking in a special report on the arenas sector in the latest issue of Music Week. "We also welcomed the return of Michael Bublé and Westlife. And it would be remiss not to mention the Eagles which was a very hot ticket. 

"Overall, we held 73 music events over the period – 144 performances in The SSE Hydro, which continues to be one of the world’s top venues with 1.1 million visitors during the year."

Concerts accounted for 51% of the Hydro's business in 2018/19, with comedy and sport and theatre events also making up a sizeable percentage. Upcoming shows at the venue include Ariana Grande, Khalid, Liam Gallagher, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Little Mix, Bjork, Ozzy Osbourne and Rod Stewart. 

"More and more productions are now focusing on delivering the best possible experience at a time when people are placing more importance on buying experiences over things," said McWilliams. "There is so much consumer goodwill towards the venue, which we don't take for granted. The fan experience is at the very top of our priority list."

McWilliams added that sustainability was an increasing concern for the arena sector. 

"We continually strive to improve our sustainability practices and have retained a Gold Award in line with the Green Business Tourism Scheme," she said. "We’re working towards ensuring that the whole campus can operate on a 100 percent recyclable and compostable basis. A move to digital ticketing across all events would be in line with these practices and a good solution."

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