KB Hallen To Rise From Ashes?

The owners of Copenhagen’s KB Hallen are reportedly in discussion with city authorities regarding the rebuilding of the venue, which was gutted by fire Sept. 28.

At press time the cause of the blaze hadn’t been confirmed, although the Danish media is speculating that it was either an electrical fault or a halogen lamp heating up cardboard boxes near its entrance.

It wouldn’t be the first time the KB has been rebuilt. In 1944, six years after it opened, German bombers inflicted a couple of direct hits on the building.

Winston Churchill, Britain’s war-time leader, was one of the first to visit the hall after it reopened. He gave a speech about freedom and how governments must cooperate to create a new Europe.

The loss of the building, even if it turns out to be permanent, will likely tug at promoters’ heartstrings rather than their wallets.

Photo: AP Photo
Struck by fire on the morning of the opening of the "Erotic World Messe" in Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Live Nation Denmark and ICO, the country’s two main promoters of international acts, have less than a handful of shows at KB.

In the past, the 73-year-old multipurpose hall, which was classified as a listed building in the spring, has hosted performances by Louis Armstrong, Tommy Steele and hosted some of the first Danish shows by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, The Who, Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin.

“It became the venue that we loved to hate,” said Live Nation Denmark chief Fleming Schmidt, explaining how its “great atmosphere” failed to outweigh its logistical problems. “It has a great historical value but it was a nightmare for production. You had to load in through the foyer and then push the equipment through the hall.

“But I can still remember seeing Led Zeppelin there and standing on my seat through the entire show.”

He said nowadays LN uses the venue about a dozen times a year and its loss will only involve the company moving a couple of shows.

Kim Worsøe from ICO Concerts says the company uses the venue frequently, but at the moment has only one show “pencilled” in for the KB and is looking to move it to Vega.

He said his company will miss the venue because losing the 3,000-capacity room means the city now has a gap between the 1,500-capacity Vega and the 10,000-capacity Forum.

“Perhaps it will be rebuilt, but too early to say,” he told Pollstar the morning after the fire.

The blaze started in the early hours of Sept. 28 and appeared to be under control by 5:30 a.m. It had taken a greater hold than was first thought and gradually swept through the building.

The middle section of the Frederiksberg arena’s roof collapsed, while a dense blanket of smoke hung over Copenhagen that could be seen from several miles away.

Two people were admitted to hospital for smoke inhalation. They were reportedly among a couple of dozen workers sleeping in the venue while preparing for a sex fair called “Erotic World” that was to open in KB Sept. 29.