Bosses have showcased the planned redevelopment of Wolverhampton's Civic Halls at a major gathering of music industry professionals.

Civic Halls Manager Mark Blackstock spoke at the Concert Promoters Association Annual Conference, part of the International Live Music Conference in London where the nation's top live music promoters gathered to compare notes and network.

He told delegates about the upcoming £10.4 million refurbishment to the Civic and Wulfrun Halls funded by the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership Growth Deal and Wolverhampton City Council.

The work is due to begin early next year, and will see the Civic Hall given a second balcony - raising standing capacity from 3,000 to 3,600 and seated capacity from 2,026 to 2,700.

The Wulfrun Hall will also get a balcony, increasing its standing capacity from 1,134 to 1,334 and seating from 641 to 841.

Increasing the size of the stages at both venues will enable them to accommodate bigger productions including tours which the venues cannot currently attract. The toilet and bar facilities will also be revamped to give visitors a much improved experience.

The new look Civic Hall is due to be reopened in time for the Grand Slam of Darts in November 2016.

Councillor Elias Mattu, Wolverhampton City Council's Cabinet Member for Leisure and Communities, said: "This was a great opportunity for the council to showcase Wolverhampton's ambitions and ensure that the city is seen as a great place for promoters to bring acts and for audiences to enjoy a high quality experience."

Mark said: "We were very pleasantly surprised with the amount of respect we were shown for our venues and what we are striving to achieve here with the refurbishment work.

"The live entertainments industry is going through huge changes for those who are players - we can consider ourselves a player but there is certainly a challenge ahead for us to remain in the game and progress alongside the changes that are taking place."

International Live Music Conference 2015 took place from 5 to 8 March. The conference was initially staged in 1989 when it was the first dedicated gathering of leading figures involved in the world's concert industry, many of whom had only ever spoken on the phone. It swiftly grew to become the most respected meeting place for live music professionals in the world.

  • released: Tuesday 10 March, 2015