Peas For Khodynka

Black Eyed Peas will be the first act to play Moscow’s Khodynka Ice Palace, one of several new venues to open up across the city in the last six months.

The September 21 show promoted by Ed Ratnikov’s Talent Concert International marks the 11,000-capacity arena’s move into live music. The arena kicked off its sports program in April with the staging of the 2007 World Ice Hockey Championship.

Khodynka, a joint venture between Moscow Sport Committee and city authorities, is run by Mikhail Zagainov, who previously ran the Krilatskoye Ice Palace.

He’ll be hoping the new venue has the same instant success as B1 Maximum, a 3,500-capacity room just off Leninsky Prospekt, which is attracting business from promoters including SAV Entertainment and Caviar Lounge.

It opened at the end of 2006 and has already hosted shows by Placebo, Starsailor, Noel Gallagher, The Rasmus, Gogol Bordello, De La Soul and Grace Jones.

"There was nothing in Moscow with a capacity between 1,000 and 10,000 and so a lot of bands couldn’t come, but this has really filled the gap in the market," said Dmitry Zaretsky from SAV Entertainment, which has already put on a half-dozen B1 shows and lined up future ones with Evanescence (June 20) and Iggy & The Stooges (September 11).

Ratnikov said the city can always benefit from new purpose-built venues, which are needed to replace "some old Soviet architectural projects that don’t have the atmosphere for rock shows."

The building, which is run by the same team behind the 700-capacity B2 Club, was originally a factory but has been redeveloped under Moscow’s urban renewal scheme, a program geared to shift industrial sites to the outskirts of the city.

"Many of the old factories have already been turned into modern stores and restaurants," Ratnikov explained.

Also beginning operations in the last two months are the 1,500-capacity XO, which is being programmed by former Tochka Club booking manager Natasha Hoffmann, and the 2,000-capacity Teni.

Both are former theatre venues, with Teni being run by the owners of the old 1,000-capacity DK Gubrovna.

Also started in the last two months, although it’s unlikely to open until 2009, is Spartak Moscow soccer team’s new 42,000-capacity stadium on the old Tushino Airfield on the outskirts of the city.

The building project and the branding have gone to Lukoil, the country’s largest oil and gas supplier.

Ratnikov is also looking for a financial partner from the private sector to develop a new 7,000-capacity venue.