Wembley Arena Closing For A Year

Wembley Arena, one of London's biggest indoor venues, will close on Tuesday (Jan. 4) for a complete refurbishment.

Wembley Arena, one of London's biggest indoor venues, will close Tuesday (Jan. 4) for a complete refurbishment.

The Jan. 2-3 performances of horse show Appassionata will be the last at the arena for the year.

The £30 million ($57.8 million) project -- undertaken by the venue's owner, Quintain Estates and Development, and operator, Wembley (London) Ltd. -- is expected to last throughout 2005.

A temporary structure is being built in an adjacent car park. The 10,000-capacity Wembley Arena Pavilion is on track to be completed in February, according to the developers.

The Pavilion will open Feb. 20 with British TV talent quest "X Factor Live." Other acts booked at the Pavilion in 2005 include Blue, Westlife, Motley Crue, Anastacia, the package "Once In a Lifetime" (with David Cassidy, David Essex and the Osmonds) and McFly.

Prior to the closing, the operators of the venue presented their yearly awards. British company SJM Concerts was the venue's promoter of the year for 2004. Universal pop act Busted was named Wembley band of the year. Busted performed a record-breaking 12 shows at the venue this year, beating the previous record of 11 shows in one year held by Steps.

The final music show at Wembley was the Dec. 22 performance by Irish pop artist Ronan Keating, who was presented with a framed "final ticket." Promoters Dennis Arnold and Pete Wilson of 3A Entertainment received a commemorative plaque for their work on both the Keating show and Apassionata.

Wembley hosted 108 concerts in 2004.