* Prices may differ from that shown
I've been to the NEC a couple of times now. The first one was when I saw Busted live nearly a decade ago, the second was when I saw Jamie Oliver and Gordan Ramsey, the third was when I saw Blink 182 with my friend, and the most recent time was when I went to World Skills with my college. I have many good and not so good memories of the NEC. I would like to remember the NEC as the place where I got lots of freebies and seen lots of celebrities.
I honestly don't remember the Busted one very well as it was nearly a decade ago. What I do remember was that there was a lot of walking and waiting which I understand since Busted was a very popular band at the time. I did enjoy myself there though.I thought it was a good venue besides the intense wait.
As a convention venue, I thought that the venues themselves I went to could have been useful but not all of it was relevant to me, but decided to make the most of them and ended up enjoying myself there as well. It did give me a scare though because I got lost and the map didn't help me out at all. The free food, pens and magazines were fun.
I would suggest having a packed lunch because the cafe can be very pricey. Such as a regular bottle of coke being £1.99.
Though I will always remember The NEC and LG arena as the place where I saw Blink 182 and All American Rejects with my friend. I thought the venue was really good. It had a mixture of sitting and standing and there was a good selection of stuff to get before the show started like food and official merchandise. It is a really big place so it is easy to get lost but with Blink 182, it was well organised and the directions were useful. In my experience, I didn't get to interact with the staff very often, but from what I saw they did their jobs well. I understand that they are very busy but also lucky in some degrees.
Overall I really enjoyed the concerts I've been to with the NEC and I understand why my friends go there all the time. I think The NEC is amazing for concerts. They did some really awesome lighting effects when I was there and Blink 182's acoustic session in the middle of the stadium where people where standing was also a great touch.
It is worth saving your cash though as it can get pricey. The tickets for Blink 182 were £30 and All American Rejects. But I think it is worth the money!
I have visited the NEC on many occasions but have just returned today from the Baby Show.
Although I thought the Bbay Show was por this is not a reflextion on the NEC.
On arriving in the NEC complex the car park was well sign posted and well marshalled. We were directed in to a space!!
On our way into the NEC we saw a sign £8.00 for car parking!!! (rob dogs!!) the queue was huge so decided we would hope it was still open after the show and pay then.
Marshall's stopped cars so you could cross the roads and directed you to the relevant shows.
Once in side the show the halls were clean and tidy. The toilets were the same also. There were disabled toilets and baby changing facilities ll in the toilet area.
NEC staff were there sweeping up and emptying bin which I was impressed with.
I would definatley go back to the NEC for future events and exhibitions and recommend others to.
I recently went to the LG Arena, Birmingham NEC only last week (28/10/09) to see the fabulous Green Day. I had not been for about 4 years and I can't believe how its changed!
The price of the car parking for a kick off! Be aware that on top of the price of your ticket for the gig if you go by car you will have to pay for the pleasure of parking it. I payed £8.00!
Although it was very well organised with marshalls directing you where to go. On leaving the car park the traffic flowed through quite easily, which is pretty good when there are thousands of people all trying to get out at the same time.
We had seated tickets so we were told to go straight through the main entrance which was great as there wasn't any queing there, but for the poor souls who had standing tickets they were left waiting in the cold in a very long line!
The inside of the arena has really gone up market from the dowdy sorry state it used to be. It looks clean and modern with different areas to sit. You get the feeling of space even with all those people in it , you don't feel crammed in at all. Amenities are well signposted and there were helpful staff to point you in the right direction. There were plenty of loos to choose from around the outside of the actual arena and they were well laid out and clean with paper towels in abundance!(makes a change)
If you're hungry you would definitely find something to suit your mood. It has everything from chicken wraps to pie and mash, although I didn't try any of the delicacies on offer I'm sure you would need to take out a second mortgage judging by the price of the drinks!
£1.70 for a coke and the same for water!
There were two huge merchandise stands so you got served really quick and easily without all the pushing and shoving which usually goes off!
The actual arena seems to have stayed more or less as I remembered it. There were lots of staff to show you to your seat and they had other staff going around selling drinks, saving you the trip to the bar once you were sat down.
The lighting and effects during the concert were fabulous and the only gripes I have is that there were no screens either side of the stage. Luckily we had a great view but for the people right at the back I'm sure it would 've been like watching ants perform. There was a central screen at the back of the stage but with all the rigging and lighting the view was a bit obscured and when it did show the band the pictures were really pixelly.( Maybe we were too close to it so the view from the back would have looked ok)
Overall a great venue if a little pricey!
On the outskirts of Birmingham set in over 600 acres of grounds stands, a National Treasure, The NEC. As well as the LG Arena where International Acts like Beyonce Knowles and the Jonas Bros perform, there are also the 21 huge Exhibition Halls where prestigious events like the Clothes Show and the Ideal Homes exhibition are held. Some smaller exhibitions are held here like the model railway exhibition. More than one exhibition may be on at the same time. Whatever you are into, there will be some sort of event coming up that will grab you. Plan your day carefully.
A large concourse, which serves as a reception area, runs down the length of the building which houses the Exhibition Halls. There are plenty of eating places, ticket desks and cloakrooms on the concourse. Buy your tickets online if you can, the queues for the tickets at the venue can be horrendous. Ticket prices vary according to the event.
There is parking for over 25,000 cars so make sure you wear comfy shoes, as wherever you park, it will be a long way to one of the entrances. Come by train if you can, Birmingham International train station is in the NEC complex. The Exhibition Halls are reached by travelator. There are signposts to point you in the right direction. Travel to the venue early if you can, because the trains are packed on the days that there are exhibitions and concerts.
As I couldn't find a category for this I thought I'd write this review about Jasper Carrott's Rock with laughter shows here (Birmingham NEC) seeing as though this is where the majority of shows are hosted.
Legendary and very funny comedian Jasper Carrott presents his Rock with laughter show at the NEC every December, usually the week or two before Christmas. Although in 2008 he and others also hosted Summer shows at three stately homes around the UK.
These fantastic shows consist of both modern and older Music acts as well as both modern and older comedy acts during a three hour show. Christmas 2008 saw the return of Jasper's Christmas Crackers show, which is exactly the same as the Rock with Laughter shows except that you don't know who will appear on stage until they are announced, but you are never left disappointed by the line up..... The same can be said for the Rock with Laughter shows, to which I've been to two so far (Three if you include the Xmas cracker shows).
Firstly, at £35 + Booking fee a ticket, these represent fantastic value. The set up of each show is pretty much the same.... Jasper Carrott compares and an act is bought on stage one after the other, performing for approximately 20 minutes each.
The atmosphere at these shows are terrific as different people wait for their favourite acts. At the first show at the NEC in December 2007 with friends I didn't really know what to expect, I am a massive fan of Jasper Carrott and if truth be told this was the main reason I went, but as the date of the show got nearer and more bigger acts were announced I began to think that this would be a fantastic show, especially for the price.
If like me you plan or have been to more than one show you have to remember that sometimes you do get to see the same acts perform, i.e. I have seen The Manfred's (Mighty Quinn, 5,4,3,2,1, etc), Jo Brand and Elkie Brookes at two shows, although this is not bad when you consider you see between 10 and 15 acts at each show.
At the first show in December 2007 we were treated to a varied mix of Music and comedy, both old and new..... The line up was as follows....
Jasper Carrott, The Manfred's, two X Factor stars... Ray & Nikki? I believe (Which I must admit I don't know), Jo Brand, Jack Dee, Jamelia, The tap Dogs, Shakin Stevens, Dame Edna and Chris De Burgh.
The show ended with the entire list of performers singing a few Christmas songs.
Obviously not every act will be your cup of tea and I personally detest Chris De Burgh, but amazingly I came out thinking what a great performance he put on. And was seriously impressed with the three hour show.
Moving on to the Summer of 2008 and as a past rock with Laughter customer I received news of a first, Three Summer shows during August 2008, along with an offer of early tickets. So myself and a friend snapped them up and looked forward to another great show on August 8th at Alcester.
The line up was not quite as big this time but along with Jasper Carrott, Jo Brand and The Manfred's the show also included Lenny Henry (Who compared), Elkie Brookes, Phil Jupitus & The Blockheads (Hit me with your rhythm stick) and The Bootleg Beatles.
Personally I felt this was a lesser line up than before but despite the terrible rain for two hours before the show and getting soaked through, the atmosphere was even better and Lenny Henry did a fantastic job in keeping us entertained with some extremely funny material and dancing to all the music at the side of the stage.
After three hours and a firework display at the end of the night, again I was left thinking what a fantastic night's entertainment... and quite frankly you won't get all that much better for less than £40.
I am hoping that the Rock with Laughter show will return in the Summer although it's possible they might scrap that idea after the rain last year but in saying that they had the Christmas cracker charity show at Christmas 2008 so it's possible they will bring it back in the Summer rather than wait another year. Especially as they are hugely popular.
Moving back to December 2008 and my first ever Christmas Cracker show, which as I said is very similar to the Rock with Laughter show with regards to it's line up, BUT with this show you don't know who will be appearing until they are announced, which really does add to the excitement of going.
To my delight one of my favourite bands ever saw us into the break, UB40.... As the crowd went into the Arena everyone was given a small blue keyring torch and this looked amazing as they were all switched on and waved during UB40's Red Red wine. The highlight of the show for me.
Jasper Carrott again compared and it's always a joy to see him come up with brand new material each time he performs a small 10-15 minute segment. Also at this show were Rick Wakeman, Elkie Brookes, a comedian from the 70's show 'The Comedians', whose name escapes me, Bobby Davro, Escala (Who sound fantastic live), The Birmingham Ballet, A Birmingham super group featuring Toyah Wilcox, Black Sabbath's Tony Lommi, Rick Wakeman and others who I forget without checking, plus a very brief appearance from Ozzy Osbourne, Lee Mack and finally Roy Wood who ended with 'I wish it could be Christmas everyday' joined by the rest of the performers and lots of pyro's and streamers, etc.
Again it was another fantastic three hours of entertainment. Not only do you get to hear some great live music but you also have a lot of laughs during the night.
Even if you are not a huge fan of any of the performers you will enjoy this show, unless you really don't know a good night's entertainment when it is put in front of you ;o)
Personally I can't wait to see the next line up and go along again and enjoy another Rock with Laughter show. You won't get much better entertainment for £35 these days.
Birmingham NEC is probably the nearest (half decent) venues near me. When I say the nearest it's still four hours drive away. That's what I get for living out in the sticks. I have lost count of the amount of times I have been to Birmingham NEC so I shall just list some of the times I can remember. Max Power show 2000 Autosport show 2000 Metallica (some years ago) Clothes Show 1998 So what's it like? Well, big, I suppose, big compared to anywhere in Cornwall anyway. I have always found every show that I've been to very organised. So the real test - the toilet queue. Obviously every show is different. No queue at all for the Max Power or Autosport show because it was all men there and hardly any women. Result - men having to queue for a change!!! Bonus. Metallica, I had to queue for about twenty minutes but only because everyone was taking their time putting all of their piercing straight and making sure that their dog collars were not too tight (only joking there - you can't write in a sarastic accent can you?). The NEC is made up of lots of rooms, all joined together then the big concert room where, obviously, it all happens. I have no idea how many people fit in the NEC, depends on the concert I suppose and if there are standing places or not. The stage at the front has the usual flat surface then raised seating all around it so that everyone can see. If you are sitting right at the back the person on the stage will only be two inches high. With Metallica the stage was set up different, on the flat surface where people usually sit. Standing was around the stage and then the normal seating. Tip: people do not stay seated at a Metallica concert. Another tip: do not put seat cushions on the seats at a Metallica concert, they will get thrown into the flames on the stage and will be no more. I would say that you have a good view of the stage from where-ever you ar
e sitting, even if it's miles away - make sure your eyesight is good here. So, enough of the music side of things. The Autosport Show, Max Power and Clothes Show also spread into the surrounding rooms, and there are quite a few of them. Find out before you go how many rooms the show is going to be in. If it's using all of them get there as soon as it opens because you will need all day to get round them. Food, take your own unless you have recently won the lottery. Food and drink is VERY expensive in the NEC, an example...let me think....breakfast was £7!!!!! After paying two quid in Woolworths I was not happy about paying £7, and no, the quality of it wasn't any better. Parking, well, car parks are set out all the way round the NEC and are all numbered so as long as you can remember the number you are in there will be no problems. There are buses from all car parks to the main doors - very handy for us lazy people. You will always have to pay for car parking extra to your ticket - I think it's about £4??? I think that the NEC is placed in a very convenient place, no miles of roads to trail round before you find it. It's signposted from the motorway and is just off it so no chance of getting lost. I would definately recommend the NEC for any show or concert and it's got the added bonus of being inside so if it rains, which it normally does in England, you won't get wet. Unless of course you get a really sweaty bloke in front of you.