* Prices may differ from that shown
I'll never go to this venue again. Saw (or rather didn't see) Simply Red there 20th June.
I had gotten front row tickets next to stage, but had recently damaged my achillies tendon so shouldn't be walking/standing and certainly not up and dancing.
At the SECC in Glasgow, or indeed any other decent venue they appreciate that people on the front row invariably paid through the nose, so they keep the gap between these seats and the stage clear. Not so at the CIA where they happily let 2-3 deep stand in front of the front row.
Worst still I had my bad foot trodden on 3 times as portly people, obviously the worse for drink, tried to squeeze through and lost their balance.
There was no merchandise (but the promotors fault and not the venue as there is no excuse to run out of programmes at the start of a tour!)
As someone who loves a huge variety of Music I also love going to gigs around the United Kingdom. My love for Music has taken me to the likes of Brixton, Hammersmith, Greenwich, Birmingham and Cardiff. I recently saw my second concert at The Cardiff International Arena and now feel ready and qualified to write this review on my experiences with this venue. Cardiff International Arena was opened on 14th October 1993 and is owned by Live Nation UK. The Arena is situated on Mary Ann Street very close to the centre of Cardiff and just a five minute walk from Cardiff Train and Coach Stations.
When you are walking or driving towards the Arena you will encounter a huge building which is very wide and deep as well as high. The reason for the size and shape of the Cardiff International Arena is because of the many different things it is used for. As well as an Arena for Concerts and events it also houses a Conference Suite which holds around 460 people at one time. There's also an executive boardroom for board meetings for various business purposes. This gives the Building a wide range of customers and visitors.
As you would expect this is the most common use for the Cardiff International Arena and therefore There are a variety of different layouts for Concerts here. You have the standard seated layout and you also have the part seated and part standing events depending on the Artist's preference. They have a wide range of Musical artists As you would expect and the capacity goes up to 7,500 for the most popular events. There have been many major artists who have performed here and some of the big upcoming artists performing are the likes of John Mayer, Mark Knopfler, Pendulum, Westlife, Al Green & Michael McDonald and also Simply Red.
This is a really important aspect of a Concert and must say I was very impressed with the Sound System when I first went to Cardiff International Arena when I saw Velvet Revolver there in 2007. I was also very impressed on Friday when I saw Boyz II Men. The Sound has real punch and goes very loud. The Sound at Cardiff International Arena is amongst the best I have heard at a Concert and really adds to the overall enjoyment of the show as you of course want the performance to sound it's best.
As well as Concerts Cardiff International Arena is also used for Sporting Events such as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Events as well as Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling and they have also staged the World (9-ball) Pool Championship which is shown on Sky Sports. I have not been to a Sporting Event at Cardiff International Arena but I can see that it is a great place for such events due to it's large size and great facilities for the audience and performers.
As well as Sporting and Musical Events there have also been many Comedy performers who have done nights at Cardiff International Arena. Russell Howard and John Bishop are two comedians lined up to perform early next year. The arena has also hosted The X Factor and Britain's Got Talent auditions and tours as well as selected Musicals and Plays. This just shows the versatility of the venue and it's layout being very adaptable for certain events.
**Food and Drink**
As you would expect from a Concert Venue, The prices are rather steep compared to bars and clubs but there is a decent range of alcoholic and soft drinks from each of the four bars around the venue. The bars are situated in each corner of the arena by the halls entrance. You can expect to pay £2.50 for a small bottle of Pepsi or any other soft drink and the pints are around £4. There are also Hot Dogs and Snacks on offer but I am not sure of the prices of these as I only had drinks whilst in the venue but I assume it's around £3.
The Cardiff International Arena is in a great part of the City for Hotels so if you are staying over after a Concert then you should not have a problem finding your way from the Hotel to the Arena and then back to the Hotel after the Performance. There are several good Hotels within a few hundred metres of the Arena. If you are coming from outside of Cardiff like I did the Stations are close by and there are a few car parks within a short walking distance for easy access after the concert or event. This allows you to plan your visit more easily.
The Box Office is open from Monday - Saturday - 10:00 - 18:00. You are advised to pick up your box office tickets up at least an hour before the event if you have chosen Box Office Collection. The Box Office is of course Live Nation and the tickets will be Live Nation Printed. Just like other venues all you need to do when picking up tickets is say your name and booking number and show your card which you booked the tickets with. You will then have to sign your name and then will be given your tickets. You can also book tickets for upcoming events when you pick up your current tickets.
I would recommend The Cardiff International Arena to anyone who lives in the South West of England and who likes going to Concerts. The Sound performance is top notch and the Hall is spacious and you have a great sense of collective enjoyment with the other people near to your seats or where you are standing. The only drawbacks can sometimes be the layout being different from event to event and the price of food and drink but really these are both minor issues and don't detract from a great Night Out.
There are good and bad sides to this concert venue. I'll start with the bad first!
It reminds me of a school hall, you could literally walk into an assembly at times, it has the 1980s gym feel about it. So like a school hall the sound's alright but I don't think it's great.
That's about it for the bad for me. You can forgive the venue it's old fashionedness because they seem to be getting better and better acts.
It's right in the centre of Cardiff which is excellent if you want a couple of drinks before you go to the concert. It's walking distance to both train stations and there's an NCP car park right at it's entrance (in Jan 2009 cost £11 for 4 hours or more so not extortionate - can't tell you what the price is now).
The views are all pretty good there aren't any huge pillars you might be stuck behind, and usually there's some kind of screen...
It's an okay venue I think the name gives it more kudos than it really deserves but in a city where your only competition is the millennium stadium you can't blame it for self-promotion.
Good venue, if you live in Wales or the south west not sure I'd travel a long way to go there though... With the emergence of Cardiff as an ever increasingly popular destination it deserves some investment to improve on it!
I really dislike this venue, and try and stay away from it as much as possible. I literally groan with displeasure when I find out that my favourite acts are playing there, knowing that I'll probably stump up the cash to see them in this atmosphere vacuum.
The venue holds around 7500 people, so for Cardiff is the only place for bands who are too big for the University but aren't big enough for the Millenium Stadium. Some of the artists I've seen there include the Strokes, Kasabian, Muse, Kings of Leon, Oasis, Blur, Manics, Foo Fighters, the Mighty Boosh.
Let's hit the pros first - well, what pros we have. The location is great - right in the centre of Cardiff. And, uh, that's about it.
Now the cons. The place is essentially a huge school gym, and is completely void of atmosphere - this usually rubs off on the artists as well. The acoustics are also terrible. The crappy floor turns into a death trap once the (very expensive and foul) beers gets split onto the floor.
I may be a bit harsh, but I love my music and want to see the bands I like in a venue that gets the best out of them. There are plans for a new arena in the new Sports village, so fingers crossed it'll be an improvement on this hole.
I attended the Cardiff International Arena for the first time on Saturday 28th February 2009 to see The Killers. While their performance was as good as I had expected, I was disappointed with the accoustic quality of this so called arena. I had been expecting an arena sized venue and was shoked and dismayed to find that it was only about the size of an average basketball court, and that the floor had lines of loose blocks laid into it, presumably where partition walls could be erected to divide it into even smaller areas, which rocked so badly that I almost lost my balance several times during the evening. As is only to be expected in most music venues, all food and drinks are massively overpriced, with a bottle of ORDINARY Carlsberg (not Export) costing £3.90. Overall, I would rate this venue as the second worst that I have attended (out of a few hundred visited), with the Academy, Bristol taking pride of place at the bottom of my list.
Cardiff International arena is one of the smaller arenas in the UK with a capacity of 7,500. The arena holds both seated and standing concerts. I have sat from front row to the very back row of the balcony and also attended standing concerts. I think the view in all flat seated stands is very clear. The view from the balcony is somewhat limited but still alot better in comparsion to most venues where you feel like you are watching from the sky.
There are two large sceens projected up so people can enjoy the experience no matter where they are sitting. The sound quality varies. Pop concers the sould tends to be fairly clear and not too loud but as expected when attending rock concerts the sound is very loud.
Security measures are in place and all bags are checked. This is time consuming but atleast you are reassured that your safety does matter and the right procedures have been taken place.
The toilets are easy to find and are on either side of the arena. Hog dog and icecream stands are also either side of the arena near the bars. Pricing is pretty much the same as most other arenas.
There are atleast 4 carparks surrounding the arena and a few hotels on the road the arena is on. Train station and bus station are both within a five minute walk.
I personally enjoy concerts here because no matter where you are sitting you still get a fairly good view as the venue is so small and personal.
The Cardiff International Arena has been the main concert for venue in Wales for the past five years. It is only recently with the arrival of the Millenium stadium that Cardiff has started to attract bigger bands. The CIA as it is called is situated in the centre of the city so it has really good access. There is not much parking around it but space can be found furher away by the museum area. The train station is near and so is the bus station. Inside the arena there are palces for about 8,000+ people. It is not the biggest venue and for that reason some of the bigger names don't seem to play there. With the concert they either make them all seated or their is standing places in the middle. They have had a wide selection of bands appearing at the CIA. Past performers include Oasis, Blur, Boyzone, Bryan Adams, Meatloaf, All Saints, Texas, Stereophonics, Tom Jones and many more. Facilities are good. Toilets can be found easily and are very clean. Drinks and food can be bought inside and they also have merchandise stands so that you can buy t-shirts and things. Overall this is a good concert venue which should have been bigger when they originally built it. Now it complements the Millenium stadium well. Certainly worth a visit if you fancy seeing a conert there.