LN In For
Milton Keynes Bowl

Live Nation is bidding to run , a 65,000-capacity amphitheatre that its forerunner Clear Channel Entertainment and American venue giant Sony / Pace struggled to make work.

Photo: Paul Gould

The former clay pit enjoyed its halcyon days about a decade ago, when SFX Entertainment (a Clear Channel forerunner) used it regularly for rock shows including Ozzfest and AC/DC.

LN UK chief exec Paul Latham confirmed his company will be making an offer.

“From the tendering document I believe the council also want to make use of it as a sports venue because it’s a huge expanse of open grass land,” Latham told Pollstar. “The town’s got its own ice hockey and soccer teams [since Wimbledon moved there and became MK Dons in 2004] and wants to focus on sports development.”

The Bowl enjoyed something of a resurgence when the new Wembley Stadium was being built, proving to be a useful alternate venue for the likes of Robbie Williams and Take That

At press time Milton Keynes District Council hadn’t responded to requests for a comment, although there are ads in the leisure and property trade papers inviting informal tenders.

Live Nation has been running the venue on an ad hoc basis for just more than two years. In 2010 it handed back the contract it held with Gaming International, after falling out with its partner. In 2006 the partnership made proposals for change in a development summary leaflet, although they appear to have been put on ice since the disagreement.

The local council mediated and the partnership continued, although Swedish House Mafia’s summer 2012 show is the only major live music event to have happened there in the last two years.

The Prodigy played there in 2010.

Latham says some shows have been penciled for 2013 and they’ll not be affected by the awarding of a new contract.

Gaming International and Live Nation UK had partnered in the running of the Bowl for nearly a decade. Sony / Pace actually bought the venue in 1992 – rebranding it as The National Bowl – but four years later pulled out for profitability reasons. English Partnerships bought the site in 2000, but the local council has responsibility for finding someone to operate it. The Bowl had originally opened in 1979 with gigs by Desmond Dekker and Geno Washington, and later hosted shows from Queen (1982) and  (1984).