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2021 gig talks start at Highland football stadium after Westlife concert cancelled; 'We’ve been speaking to promoters about what might be achieved next summer'

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Westlife come to Inverness for their Stadiums In The Summer Tour.
Westlife come to Inverness for their Stadiums In The Summer Tour.

INVERNESS Caley Thistle have opened talks aimed at bringing more big-name musical acts to the Caledonian Stadium in 2021 after this summer’s Westlife concert was cancelled.

The Irish pop band’s summer UK tour, including the June 28 date in Inverness, was officially called off on Wednesday amid the Covid-19 crisis.

It was confirmed yesterday too that the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival near Beauly, has been called off this year with ticket holders given information about their options.

Sir Tom Jones was scheduled to play the same stage 24 hours earlier but, at the time of going to print, there has been no official announcement on that gig.

The Championship club had hoped to generate up to £100,000 income from each of the shows, with past stadium performances by Sir Elton John and Sir Rod Stewart proving hugely successful.

Caley Thistle chief executive Scot Gardiner admitted the Westlife setback, while disappointing, was “no surprise” and hinted at exciting future announcements.

He said: “We received correspondence on Tuesday confirming the Westlife concert was cancelled.

“We were waiting on it. There is nothing we can do. It doesn’t endanger us any more than Covid-19 does. It wasn’t ideal, that’s for sure but as some costs go up, others come down as we are not actually operating at the moment. While it is not ideal, we have inserted ourselves back into that [live concert] market, as we intended to.

“For some weeks now, we’ve been speaking to promoters about what might be achieved next summer.

“To lose an event as prestigious and attractive as Westlife at the Caledonian Stadium is disappointing, but obviously people’s health comes first.”

Other football clubs in Scotland, such as Falkirk, have also been hit by cancellations, with Westlife, The Killers and Little Mix all forced to pull out.

Mr Gardiner added: “When you’ve budgeted for it, it’s not ideal, but there’s no point crying about it as there’s nothing we can do. What we can do is ensure we’re in the best possible position to attract future events to the stadium.”

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