No concerts thank you - we're rich!

PORTMAN Road will not be rocking and rolling this summer - the club doesn't need the money. And unlike the last few years, Ipswich Town are not planning to run any concerts at their ground.

PORTMAN Road will not be rocking and rolling this summer - the club doesn't need the money.

And unlike the last few years, Ipswich Town are not planning to run any concerts at their ground.

According to town bosses the take-over and the financial security currently enjoyed by the club means the much needed cash input is no longer much needed as it once was.

The winter investment into the Blues by wealthy businessman Marcus Evans has played its part in the decision.

But it is not the only reason Portman Road is going to remain silent during the summer.

Derek Bowden, the Ipswich Town chief executive, said: “The millions Marcus has put into the club has helped reduce the need to organise concerts.

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“But another reason is a lack of big acts that can draw 25,000 fans to Portman Road. There are less big names touring this year, and the emergence of the O2 Centre in London has also had an impact.

“Top names and groups can play there for a number of nights - and save on travelling etc. There were one or two names we considered, but we did not think they were of the right calibre.”

But for thousands of music fans this is the end of an era.

Rock legends Elton John, Neil Diamond, R.E.M., Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Rod Stewart have thrilled thousands of music lovers during the close football season over the last few years and major concerts at the stadium have attracted music fans from all over the country.

Hazel Clover, Regent theatre manager, said much depends on whether artists themselves want to tour at venues like Portman Road.

She added: “These big concerts are very much governed by the artists. For groups like Queen or U2 promoters often find it is more cost effective to put on four dates at Wembley and attract 130,000 rather than different dates at a football ground venues.”

Miss Clover, who saw Elton John in concert at Portman Road back in June 2004, added: “There is a dearth of artists touring this season and I know the industry and venues are hoping that certain artists and groups will do some touring.”

Miss Clover said last year saw a number of big tours including Take That and the Spice Girls.

“It is a shame there won't be a concert this year as having those level of acts was good for raising the profile of Ipswich but it's not a total surprise.”

The news will be a blessing to head groundsman Alan Ferguson, who has been left with pitch damage to repair over the last few years.

He will now have a gap from the middle of May to the start of August to get the pitch into tip-top condition for the 2008/09 season.

Which was your favourite concert? Who would you like to see perform in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Elton John performed at the venue in June 2004, his support act was James Blunt.

May 2005 Neil Diamond concert used 6,953 kilos of lighting equipment and 800 tons of stage material all brought to the venue in 37 lorries.

R.E.M. drew crowds of 22,000 to the ground in July 2005.

In June 2006 Red Hot Chilli Peppers attracted a sell out crowd of 28,000.

In July 2007 Rod Stewart, supported by The Pretenders, performed at the stadium - he had performed there 16 years previously to sell out crowds.

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