The first big concert for next year at Ashton Gate has been unveiled - and its Sheffield rockers Arctic Monkeys that will be taking to the stage on the pitch at the city's biggest venue.
The announcement was made on Friday, September 23, and coincided with Arctic Monkeys announcing a full UK & Ireland stadium tour, which starts with the Bristol gig on May 29, takes in 13 (so far announced) dates in stadiums and big parks in England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.
It will be the third summer that Ashton Gate plays host to major music events. The summer series was launched in 2019 with Take That, Muse, the Spice Girls and Rod Stewart, before being stopped by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and 2021. This summer of 2022 saw two dates from Elton John and one from The Killers, supported by Manic Street Preachers as live concerts returned to BS3.
The announcement was welcomed by Ashton Gate Stadium's managing director Mark Kelly, who said it was a huge honour for the band to start their big tour in Bristol.
Mr Kelly has long explained his desire to see the stadium host up to five big concerts in the summer, and had the covid pandemic not struck, it is likely the stadium would be doing that already.
"We are thrilled to be able to announce the first of our concerts for next year," he said. "Building off the success of our 2019 Summer Series and this year’s performances by Elton John and The Killers, it is brilliant to be able to confirm such a huge international act as the Arctic Monkeys. For them to kick off their UK tour with us first is a huge honour and we can’t wait to do them proud," he added. It is likely that Arctic Monkeys won't be the last concert announced to take place next year at Ashton Gate.
1 How to get tickets and how to beat the rush
Tickets go on general sale at 9am on Friday, September 30 from www.gigsandtours.com and www.ticketmaster.co.uk. However, there are ways of getting in first to make sure you do get your hands on tickets before they sell out that morning.
One way to do this is to pre-order Arctic Monkeys next album, The Car, which is already available for pre-order before it comes out on October 21. Anyone who pre-orders that album from the band's official webstore before 3pm on Wednesday, September 28, will get access to the pre-sale of tickets for any date on the band's tour next summer, including the first one at Ashton Gate.
If you do this before 3pm next Wednesday, you'll get a 'unique pre-sale code' emailed to you between 5pm and 7pm on Wednesday, and then you can start getting tickets a day early - the fan pre-sale begins on Thursday, September 29, from 9am.
There's another way to bag a ticket too - by going the whole hog and getting a hospitality package through Ashton Gate. Full details on Hospitality packages will be published on Wednesday, September 28th and available to purchase online from 9am on Friday, September 30th.
2 How many tickets can you buy
Tickets are limited to four per person for the entire tour, in order to give as many fans as possible a fair chance of purchasing, the band have announced. Only tickets purchased through the approved agents are valid, and be careful if you start trying to sell on your tickets at more than the face value - the band have said ticket resale is permitted at no more than the price you paid, through the official resale partner Twickets.
3 What age restrictions are there
Ashton Gate's concerts can have different rules for whether you get a standing ticket on the pitch, or a seat in the stands. Pitch standing will only be for anyone aged over 14, and anyone under 16 has to be accompanied by an adult aged over 18. There'll be no tickets for under 5s, and anyone aged between 5 and 14 can go, but they'll have to have a seat ticket. Anyone under 16, again, will have to be accompanied by an adult.
4 The clashes with football?
Championship side Bristol City play at Ashton Gate, along with Premiership rugby side Bristol Bears. Bristol City's final scheduled home game of the season takes place a full month before the Arctic Monkeys gig with Burnley coming to Ashton Gate on Saturday, April 29.
Bristol Bears' final scheduled home league game is against Gloucester a week later, on Saturday May 6.
However, both teams could, and would hope to be, involved in end of season play-offs, with Bears aiming to win the Championship, and Bristol City longing for promotion to the Premier League. And that is where it starts getting interesting.
There's a full three weeks between the end of the EFL Championship season on May 6 or May 7 and the play-off final, and were Bristol City to finish in the play-off places, they would have an extra home game, probably in the middle of May . If they win the play-off semi-final, then they will be heading to Wembley and the EFL Championship play off final is on Bank Holiday Monday, May 29 - exactly the same day as Arctic Monkeys play at Ashton Gate.
Now, for Bristol City fans who are also Arctic Monkeys fans this could present a massive dilemma. Most City fans would certainly go to Wembley for a play-off final - the only Championship play off final City have ever reached was 14 years ago - but the prospect of seeing Arctic Monkeys on home turf has got some people wondering...
For Bristol Bears, any appearance in the play-offs will be slightly less problematic. Their semi-final, if they are at home, will probably be on Friday, May 12, or that weekend. The final, at Twickenham, is on Saturday May 27.
5 More Ashton Gate concerts?
With the stadium being free for hosting sport from at least the middle of May, the set-up will pivot to turning Ashton Gate into a concert venue - and there is certainly a window that allows at least one more concert before Arctic Monkeys arrive on that Bank Holiday Monday. The whole of June is free too, with football not returning until August.
6 Arctic Monkeys at Glastonbury?
The release of Arctic Monkeys' tour dates has prompted speculation that the band are leaving themselves a window to play at Glastonbury Festival next summer.
They are playing roughly three or four dates a week throughout June, but after the gig in Dublin on Tuesday, June 20, there isn't another one until Glasgow on Sunday, June 25. That leaves a bit of wiggle room for Arctic Monkeys to play Glastonbury, probably on the Friday, June 23.
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Read more on Ashton Gate:
- Dec 2020 - New plans for 'Longmoor Village' development revealed
- June 2021 - Final plans for Sporting Quarter and Longmoor Village submitted
- June 2021 - In pictures - what Ashton Gate's Sporting Quarter and Longmoor Village would look like
- October 2021 - Councillors pass motion against building homes on green field sites in South Bristol
- March 2022 - Number of people objecting to Longmoor Village plan reaches 150
- August 2022 - Environment Agency drops flood objection that would have stopped Longmoor Village plan
- September 2022 - Sporting Quarter plan 'will supercharge Ashton Gate as major regional venue'