Sir Elton to perform Town concert

POP superstar Sir Elton John is to perform a concert at Ipswich Town's Portman Road next year - the first major music show to be held at the venue in 12 years.

By Danielle Nuttall

POP superstar Sir Elton John is to perform a concert at Ipswich Town's Portman Road next year - the first major music show to be held at the venue in 12 years.

The East Anglian Daily Times can reveal the pop legend is to perform to an expected crowd of 25,000 in a huge concert on Wednesday June 16, 2004.

It will be the first major gig at the football ground since pop star Bryan Adams performed in front of a crowd of 16,000 people on July 14, 1992.

The concert will be officially announced by ITFC today and is expected to inject hundreds of thousands of pounds into the East Anglian economy.

A spokesman for the club said: “Ipswich Town Football Club can today confirm they are in the final negotiations to bring Sir Elton John to Portman Road in June 2004.

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“Preparations for the concert, to be held on Wednesday, June 16, are at an early stage but it is expected the singer will perform to a crowd of around 25,000.”

ITFC Chief Executive Derek Bowden added: “Hot on the heels of bringing the England international to Ipswich, this is fantastic news and once again confirms that Portman Road is fast becoming the number one entertainment venue for East Anglia.”

Further information regarding the event, including ticket prices and availability is to be made public shortly through the club website and the local media.

Ipswich Borough Council will be involved in the arrangements and preparations for the concert as they were for the England match in the summer.

Responding to the news last night, council Chief Executive James Hehir, said: “Sir Elton at Portman Road will be the start of a magnificent summer of music in the arts in the town, which includes the Ip-art festival, concerts by Busted and Status Quo and Ipswich Music Day.

“As it's Portman Road, we hope that on Sunday afternoon we will be singing That's Why They Called It The Blues.

“All this shows that Ipswich is the entertainment capital of the region.”

The concert is expected to plough thousands of pounds into the local economy as concert-goers utilise the pubs, hotels and restaurants on offer in Ipswich and surrounding areas.

Bob Feltwell, chief executive of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “It's good news for Suffolk and will bring a lot of people to the Ipswich area and we hope that what they see is good so they come back again in the future.

“It's good that the football club has built the two stands as now they have the capacity to hold such events and we look forward to more of them in future years.”

He added: “It's more about advertising and promoting Ipswich and keeping the town in the news and obviously tens of thousands of pounds spent on restaurant meals and fuel is a welcome boost to the all the service industry in the county, and hopefully all the hotels as well.”

The last music concert to be performed at the Suffolk football venue was by Bryan Adams, who sang to a crowd of thousands on a warm, summer evening in July 1992.

The show came a month after rock giants Dire Straits played to a crowd of 20,000 at the same venue on Thursday, June 18.

The crowd total was less than at previous Portman Road concerts, despite hopes of a 25,000 sell-out when the date was announced. However, those fans who did turn up were not left disappointed.

Before that, on June 12 1991, a sell-out crowd of 25,000 fans from all over the country travelled to Portman Road to see rock and soul legend Rod Stewart perform a summer concert.

The star was backed by rock band Status Quo and singer Joe Cocker in a two-night concert bonanza that ended on June 13.

More than 24,000 people packed into Portman Road on 26 July 1990 to see Tina Turner who, at the time, was performing her first UK concert in three years.

Following the success of the event, further big names were being touted to perform at the football ground, including Phil Collins and Sir Elton.

It has taken 12 years for the superstar, whose hits include Your Song, Candle in the Wind and I'm Still Standing, to arrive in the county, but he is sure not to disappoint the fans piling into Ipswich next summer.

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