National Exhibition Centre
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|National Exhibition Centre|
|Location||National Exhibition Centre
|Owner||Birmingham City Council|
|Capacity||186,000 sqm, 20 halls|
The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is an exhibition centre in Birmingham, England. It is near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and is adjacent to Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International railway station. It has 20 interconnected halls, set in grounds of 611 acres (2.54 km2) making it the largest exhibition centre in the UK. It is the busiest and seventh-largest exhibition centre in Europe.
Opened by Elizabeth II in February 1976, the first event to be staged at the venue was International Spring Fair, which has returned every year since. Growing annually, the event now occupies all of the NEC's 20 halls and the LG Arena.
The NEC was originally going to be built adjacent to the M1 junction 21 near Leicester but it was turned down by Leicestershire County Council with claims that "The big shows won't move away from London".
In November 1971, the Secretary of State for the Environment granted outline planning approval for the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. The NEC, originally comprising 89,000 m2 of exhibition space, was opened by the Queen on 2 February 1976. The building was designed by Edward Mills.
In 1989, the Queen opened three further halls, increasing the space to 125,000 m2. Four more halls were added in 1993, the total exhibition space increasing to 158,000 m2. Another four new halls, opened in September 1998 by Neil Kinnock, European Commissioner for Transport, took the total space to 190,000 m2 (2,045,142 square feet). These buildings were designed by Seymour Harris.
As of 2009, The NEC is nearing completion of a five-year, £40 million venue improvement programme which has seen improvements made to everything from the car parking to signage, seating and catering. The most obvious result of this development has been the redesign of the Piazza – the central space around Halls 1 to 5, which has received a contemporary update.
The NEC was home to the British International Motorshow from 1978 to 2004. In addition, it also hosted the Classic Motor Show.
Since 1991, the NEC has been the venue for the international dog show Crufts. Held over four days and using five halls as well as the LG Arena, Crufts attracts an estimated 160,000 visitors annually. The 1991 show was also Crufts centenary year and as part of the celebrations to mark the occasion, the Guinness Book of Records gave official recognition of the event's status as the world's largest dog show, with 22,973 dogs being exhibited that year.
Yearly events 
- Autosport International
- BBC Gardeners' World Live.
- BBC Good Food Show.
- Clothes Show Live
- Crufts Dog Show
- Euro Bus Expo
- Gadget Show Live
- Games Day
- Grand Designs Live
- UK AD & Biogas
- Horse of the Year Show
- The Cycle Show
- The Pokémon UK National Video Game Championships
Young Driver 
LG Arena 
|Former names||NEC Arena (1982-2009)|
National Exhibition Centre
|Owner||The NEC Group|
|Construction cost||£29,000,000 (Refurbishment)|
|Field dimensions||94.8m x 51.4m|
The LG Arena, host to large music concerts, is part of the complex. The 16,000 capacity LG Arena was the largest multi-purpose arena in the UK when opening in the mid-1980s as "The NEC Arena" and is still a major popular venue for many large, international touring acts. Together, the NEC and the LG Arena host over 3 million visitors each year.
From 1 September 2008, the NEC Arena was officially renamed as the LG Arena, following a naming-rights sponsorship deal with global electronics company LG. The arena then underwent a £29 million overhaul of its facilities, paid for by loans from Birmingham City Council and regional development agency Advantage West Midlands.
Work on the LG Arena was finished mid October 2009 and the arena hosted its first concert with Tom Jones. Included in the installation were around 1,000 new seats, bringing the capacity to 16,000 to compete with venues such as the O2 Arena in London and the Manchester Arena in Manchester, which are amongst the busiest music venues in the world. Also constructed were new hospitality areas and a forum containing new bars, restaurants and other customer facilities. Prior to its first concert, the arena hosted the 2009 Horse of the Year show.
Being able to host large and intimate shows the LG Arena Birmingham does offer a wide range of comedians that are nationally and internationally known with acts such as Michael Mcintyre, Milton Jones, Ricky Gervais, Al Murray and Peter Kay bringing their shows to the Arena.
Major music events 
Since the 1980s, The NEC has hosted performances by many international musicians and music groups, several of which have played at The NEC Arena on more than one occasion.
- The Spice Girls performed 5 shows at the venue during the Spiceworld Tour in 1998, on 29 April and 2, 3, 5 & 6 May. BBC Radio One recorded and broadcasted the whole show.
- Pet Shop Boys performed their 1991 tour over three nights at the NEC, their live DVD entitled Performance was filmed over all three nights at the NEC.
- erasure performed in 1988 on the innocents tour which was filmed for VHS/DVD and also in December 1989/January 1990 they played 7 nights on the wild tour and again on 6 April 1997 as part of the cowboy concerts.
- Canadian rock band Rush filmed their VHS and DVD release entitled A Show of Hands at The NEC Arena in 1988. Some of this recording featured in the audio album of the same name.
- Queen have performed at the Centre several times over the years while on tour, from their Crazy Tour in 1979, to The Game Tour in 1980 & to The Works Tour in 1984.
- David Bowie performed, on two consecutive nights, at the centre during his Serious Moonlight Tour on 5–6 June 1983, began the first European leg of his Sound+Vision Tour, on two consecutive nights, on 19–20 March 1990, performed on two consecutive nights, during his Outside Tour on 20–21 November 1995 & performed on two consecutive nights during his A Reality Tour on 19–20 November 2003.
- Status Quo recorded the Live at the N.E.C. album (CD) there.
- The Genesis The Mama Tour video was filmed there.
- Tina Turner recorded the VHS for her 1985 Private Dancer Tour there. She is also the female artist with the most shows at the N.E.C., with 18 shows.
- Iron Maiden recorded Maiden England at the NEC, during their Seventh Tour Of A Seventh Tour in 1988.
- The video for AC/DC song, That's the Way I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll was also recorded there, during their Blow up your video tour in 1988. They also performed here as part of their Black Ice World Tour on 23 April 2009.
- The original Black Sabbath lineup performed at the NEC in 1998 which was recorded for their Reunion album.
- Cher performed at the venue with two dates on 14 and 15 May 2004 during the European leg of her Living Proof: The Farewell Tour.
- Depeche Mode performed at the venue on 13 December 2009 during their Tour of the Universe. The show was recorded for their live albums project, Recording the Universe. The performance of "Insight" from that night was also filmed and included as a bonus track on their video release Tour of the Universe : Barcelona 20/21.11.09.
- Spandau Ballet recorded a concert film over two nights at the NEC in 1986, during their tour in support of the Through the Barricades album, for broadcast on a special episode of The Tube which featured the group. It was released on DVD as Live from the N.E.C. in 2005.
- Deep Purple MkII performed their last concert in England with guitarist Ritchie Blackmore at NEC. The concert was recorded and released on DVD titled Come Hell or High Water.
- Metallica performed the first show of the second European leg of their World Magnetic Tour at the LG Arena on 25 March 2009.
- Snow Patrol performed at the NEC on 4 February 2012 as part of their Fallen Empires Tour, promoting their new album Fallen Empires. Ironically on the same night, massive amounts of snow fell outside and the roads surrounding the NEC were quite treacherous.
- Rammstein performed on 25 February 2012 at the LG Arena, during the second European leg of their Made in Germany 1995-2011 tour.
- Britney Spears performed on 30 October 2011 at the LG Arena, during the Euopean leg of her Femme Fatale Tour.
- Blink-182 played at the LG Arena on 16 June 2012 as part of their Neighborhoods Tour.
- Florence + The Machine performed her Ceremonials Tour here on 13 March 2012.
- Jay Z and Kanye West performed on 13 and 22 June 2012 as part of their Watch the Throne Tour. The 22nd was the last date of that tour.
- Cheryl Cole performed on her debut solo A Million Lights Tour on 12 October 2012.
- Kelly Clarkson is set to perform on 14 October 2012 as part of her Stronger Tour.
- Nicki Minaj performed at the LG Arena on 27 October 2012 on her Pink Friday Tour.
- Muse performed at the LG Arena on 30 October 2012 (The 2nd Law Tour)), having previously performed at the venue in 2006.
- The Killers performed two shows at the LG Arena on 31 October and 1 November 2012, having previously performed at the venue in 2007 and 2009.
- The Script performed here on 17 March 2011 for their Science & Faith Tour and on 16 March 2013 on their 3 World Tour.
- Taylor Swift performed here on 22 March 2011 for her Speak Now World Tour.
- One Direction are set to perform on 3 different dates for their upcoming 2013 World Tour
- P!nk is due to perform on 21 and 22 April 2013 during The Truth About Love Tour.
- Beyonce is due to perform 2 dates of her The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour here on 26 & 27 April.
- Rihanna is due to perform at the arena during her Diamonds World Tour on 17 June 2013.
- Maroon 5 are set to perform on 22 June 2013 as part of their Overexposed Tour.
- Jessie J is scheduled to perform here on 18 October 2013 for her Nice To Meet You Tour.
- Paramore are set to perform at the LG Arena on 23 September 2013 as part of the bands arena Paramore World Tour. Paramore also performed at the LG arena in 2010 as part of their Brand New Eyes album tour.
Car parks 
The NEC has 29,000 car parking spaces spread around the site, with a shuttle bus service operating to and from the car parks.
In 2013 the all-day parking fee for public exhibitions is £10.00, which contributes directly to the upkeep of the car parks, running of the shuttle bus service, maintenance of road surfaces and lighting, and manning of the areas with traffic stewards.
NEC Group 
- "The LG Factsheet". Retrieved 30 March 2011.
- Venue Information
- "Manchester Arena Is Second Busiest Arena In The World". Manchester Confidential.
- Keogh, Kat (11 November 2011). "Black Sabbath reunion: New album and world tour for original line-up". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
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