Sunderland gets ready for Bon Jovi

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WEARSIDE is getting ready to rock.

The hallowed turf at the Stadium of Light has been replaced by flooring to make way for up to 150,000 gig-goers who will flock to the stadium for a trilogy of concerts.

Hundreds of set-up crew are on site installing the stage, while an external courtyard area designed to house pre-show entertainment, food courts and bars is also under construction.

Transport bosses are putting on extra services to get gig-goers in and out of the city.

First up are US rockers Bon Jovi tomorrow.

Facilities manager Peter Weymes said: “There’s a huge amount of work involved in preparing the stadium for the concerts, and getting it ready for the arrival of the bands.

“I’m really pleased with everyone who is working on the stadium. They are working hard and pulling together to make sure the stadium will be in a fantastic shape for the concerts, and I’m delighted with the Facilities Team, as usual they are all going the extra mile.”

Global star Rihanna will perform on June 20, with North East Live, featuring headliners JLS, capping off this year’s gigs on June 22.

Tyne and Wear Metro has introduced a new special event ticket to coincide with the gigs to help beat the queues at the ticket machines.

The transport service will be running extra trains before and after the concerts, as well as an extended service that will see trains running until about 12.45am.

Crowd control measures will also be in operation at Sunderland, Stadium of Light and St Peter’s stations to ensure customer safety.

Deputy director general of Nexus, Tobyn Hughes, said: “To help avoid queuing for a ticket on the day Nexus has launched a special event ticket which is valid all day and for all zones costing £4.40.

“Complete with the name and date of the concert selected, the ticket can be purchased in advance at any Metro ticket machine by pressing the other tickets button and selecting Bon Jovi, Rihanna or North East Live. Bon Jovi tickets are available now, and we will be releasing Rihanna tickets on June 14, and North East Live tickets June 21.”

Passengers are advised to leave extra time for their journey.

After the concert, the additional trains will not stop at Sunderland, so passengers should use St Peter’s or Stadium of Light stations.

You can buy your tickets in advance online at https://buytickets.nexus.org.uk/events/ (tickets cost £4.40 plus 50p postage per transaction). Tickets for all three concerts are still available from www.safcconcerts.com.

•Echo readers can join in our live coverage of the gig and build up by tweeting using #sunderlandbonjovi