Sir Elton to rock Portman Road

POP superstar Sir Elton John is to perform a concert at Ipswich Town's Portman Road stadium next year – the first major music show to be held at the ground in 12 years. The world-famous singer-songwriter and showman will play to an expected 25,000 fans in June.

By Danielle Nuttall

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

Sir Elton will perform for an expected crowd of 25,000 in a huge concert on June 16.

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

The concert 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, including ticket prices, 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.

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 through pubs, hotels and restaurants.

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."

The last concert 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 June 18.

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.

More than 24,000 people packed into Portman Road on July 26, 1990 to see Tina Turner.

After a 12-year major concert lull at the venue, Sir Elton, whose hits include Your Song, Candle in the Wind and I'm Still Standing, is sure not to disappoint the fans piling into Ipswich in the summer.

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