Banks's Stadium counting down to "Rocketman's" arrival...
WALSALL Football Club’s, Banks’s Stadium, has been hit with a severe bout of Elton John fever ahead of the “Rocketman’s” arrival this Saturday.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will be performing in Walsall for the very first time, with the Banks’s Stadium undergoing an extensive makeover in anticipation of the big event.
A 66-metre wide stage has been installed at the Away Stand end of the ground with over 10,000 pieces of plastic flooring covering the entire playing surface.
“There’s a real buzz about the place now and we can’t wait stage such what will be a huge night,” said Walsall Chief Executive, Stefan Gamble.
“Yes we’re geared up for football and housing thousands spectators but this is on a whole different level.
“We have a workforce in excess of 200 people doing all kinds of jobs from covering the pitch to assembling the on-site food village.“
Undoubtedly one of the most successful musicians the country has ever produced, Sir Elton John’s two-and-a-half hour set calls on his catalogue of hits from across five decades of music.
The former Watford Chairman is on the UK leg of his European tour and has sold more than 300 million records since his first album release back in 1969.
Having played over 3,500 concerts in more than 80 countries, the 68-year old is accustomed to performing on such a grand stage but for the Saddlers, the magnitude of the event requires more attention.
“Its probably one of the biggest events that’s happened to the town in living memory,” added Gamble.
“We’ve worked very hard to put adequate parking in place and have sourced over 800 spaces with a good proportion on-site as well as two off-side facilities.
“There’s fantastic rail and bus links to the stadium as well so I think the message is don’t panic, there will be adequate facilities available.
“I would say where possible the use of our excellent public transport links would be advised.
There has been a lot of investment into the infrastructure at the club to create more revenue streams that can be pumped back into the football.
The club has sourced local suppliers such as florists, butchers and wine merchants to cater for the thousands of additional guests expected to decent on the stadium.
30 extra staff will support the food village outside the stadium, offering a range of hot and cold food from 4pm before Sir Elton takes to the stage to serve up a musical feast of his own at around 8pm.
When quizzed on his favourite Elton record there was much deliberation from the Walsall chief.
“It’s a close one but I’d have to go with my boy’s favourite, Crocodile Rock, ahead of Rocketman.
“An international superstar of this nature doesn’t come along every five minutes and it’s great for the town, it’s great for the club and it’s something we should all be very proud of.”
Tickets for the event are still available from the Walsall ticket office or by calling 01922 651 414 .
On-site and off-site parking can be booked by contacting the ticket office.