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Does Sunderland need a large indoor music venue?

CAMPAIGNERS are fighting to get a large-scale indoor music venue to capitalise on Sunderland’s success as a music city.

Young entrepreneur Michael Tuckwell is heading the push for a venue to rival Newcastle’s Metro Radio Arena and build on the success of large-scale gigs taking place in Wearside.

It comes as the city prepares to host Take That and the Kings of Leon at the Stadium of Light.

But Mr Tuckwell, 25, from Hill View, who runs online firm Tucky’s Anime, said Sunderland was selling itself short and more jobs and more visitors could come to the city if campaigners get their way.

He said: “For far too long now we have had to put up with little-to-none live music or comedy gigs in the city. Go back four-to-five years and the big bands of the time would never even considered to come anywhere near the city.

“There is a need for live music and entertainment in the city unfortunately we have to wait till the football season ends just to get two-to-three weekends where the stadium holds gigs and that’s our lot for the year but no more.

“With an indoor arena in the city we can step out of the shadows and we can see big names like Oasis or Take that play here anytime. We can have a big act every week and the city will benefit greatly.”

Mr Tuckwell said Sunderland was losing a massive amount of money to Newcastle, but with a new indoor venue on a site such as Vaux or Holmeside, there was no need for the Wear to play second fiddle to the Tyne.

He said: “It is said the Stadium of Light gigs alone will bring almost £18million to the local economy but imagine that every month or so that’s what an indoor arena can do?

“No longer will we have to put up with a 30 minute ride on the metro to Newcastle and spend £50-plus for a ticket at the Metro Arena when we can have it right here and help Sunderland’s economy.”

The young businessman said while Newcastle had a number of venues, Sunderland could trump it given the right facility.

“I’m not that impressed with the arena to be honest,” he said. “I think it looks a bit tatty and run-down, but all they have to do is get the acts and people will go there.”

Mr Tuckwell has set up an online petition on Sunderland City Council’s website and hopes to get 7,000 signatures. He believes this will be enough to get it debated in a full council meeting.

To sign the petition, visit http://tinyurl.com/43lueq4