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CIA Or Cardiff International Arena
Cardiff International Arena
Member Name: Lakerfanster
Cardiff International Arena
Advantages: Great sound, Variety
Disadvantages: Sometimes the layout
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.
Summary: Great Venue
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