Plans revealed to modernise Milton Keynes' National Bowl

Plans have been unveiled to modernise and reinvigorate the National Bowl Arena in Milton Keynes.

Thursday, 20th July 2017, 4:26 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:53 am
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The proposals, to create a vibrant year-round facility complemented by music based leisure, retail and hospitality venues, have been put forward by owners Milton Keynes Development Partnership (MKDP)

A project team comprising architects, leisure specialists and engineers will be looking into securing investment and facilities required to make the site financially and practically viable.

Plans include grading facilities at the National Bowl to give Milton Keynes a unique attraction able to draw major performance artists and visitors from around the world.

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The aim is to incorporate a range of uses that could help unlock MK’s musical heritage and recapture the spirit of invention required to boost the city’s cultural assets defined by the MK Futures 2050 report.

Proposals under consideration include the creation of a permanent “music street” as a backdrop to the arena, with multiple venues offering year-round performance space for all genres of music supported by music retail, a hotel, themed restaurants, bars and other supporting facilities.

Charles Macdonald, chief executive of MKDP, said: “Since the National Bowl opened in 1979, what both concert organisers and attendees expect from venues has changed significantly. While the National Bowl has an extremely strong music heritage, it is vital that the right decisions are made to regenerate it appropriately and put it back on the musical map where it belongs. Feedback to our ideas has been very positive and we look forward to being able to share more detailed plans later in the year.”

About the National Bowl

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> The National Bowl site was formerly a brick pit.

> Its development began in 1971 when approval was granted to tip surplus soil created from building the roads for the new city of Milton Keynes on to the site.

> 1973 saw the creation of a huge horse-shoe shaped mound surrounding an area which could be utilised as an arena to host major public-attended events based on the idea of the Hollywood Bowl.

> The first concert held at the National Bowl was in 1979 and featured Desmond Decker and Geno Washington.

> David Bowie, Bon Jovi and the Foo Fighters have all played at the venue twice.

> Since 1998 it has been operated by Gaming International Ltd during which time a variety of acts including Eminem, Green Day, Linkin Park, Oasis, Take That, Swedish House Mafia, Kings of Leon and Robbie Williams have featured.