There was a lot of debate about it in the weeks running up to the Foo Fighters’ concert at the Old Trafford cricket ground – would it be a great place for a concert or not?Â
ThereÂ were plenty of people who said it would be too noisy or that it would lack atmosphere. Me, well, I was one of the people saying it would be perfect. So, with the concert now finished, who was right?
Well, things didn’t bode well for those who said it would be a great success when the weather turned cloudy and it started to look like rain. The nature of a cricket ground is that not all areas are covered, which meant that if the heavens opened, a lot of people would end up getting drenched.
However, the rain held and Dave Grohl, the Foo Fighters front-man, even made a few well received jokes about the overcast skies. Indeed, the whole atmosphere started to resemble that of an open-air festival, and turned out to be a point in favour of those saying that a cricket ground would be a perfect place for a concert.
But what of the attendance? The doubters would have had you believe that people wouldn’t turn up to a sports stadium to watch a live music performance. Well, in that, I’m pleased to say that they were entirely wrong. There was a sell-out crowd of 50,000 people crammed into the stadium. For the promoters, it was a roaring success. By the end of the 2 and a half hour set the crowd were moshing around and dancing like lunatics – the atmosphere was reportedly second to none. So, really, the attendance cannot be faulted in any way.
Now, one element of the music concert that a cricket ground like the Emirates would normally be faulted for is the lack of a runway out into the crowd. This, for the Foo Fighters, is especially important and Dave Grohl is known to love getting on a runway and playing acoustic sets to the adoring crowd. Well, they set up a runway at Old Trafford too and the only thing that threatening it was the impending rain. As that never fell, the crowd were able to enjoy Grohl in all his acoustic glory from close proximity.
Now, this article wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the curfew. The Old Trafford Cricket Ground is in close proximity to a residential area. So what would be the result? Would the noise drive local families to complain in mass of ear splitting sounds? In fact, no. The stadium imposed a 10:30 pm curfew on the band and, in fact, they started 30 minutes earlier than the original schedule in order to play the full 2 hours 30 minutes set. Were local Mums and Dads left complaining that their babies were woken by Grohl’s rock vocal? It seems not.
So, what we can say overall? Is a cricket ground a good place for a music concert? Well, I can’t speak for all cricket venues. Lord’s, which happens to be in St Johns Wood, may not be the perfect place for one, for example, with so many residential buildings in very close proximity, but it seems to have been a success for Old Trafford.Â
Anyway, the curfew was effective at keeping noise disturbance to a minimum, and the nature of the venue seems to create an amazing atmosphere that the band and crowd both enjoyed immensely. There was a lot of debate in the run up to this, but really the doubters must consider themselves silenced. I, for one, remain very much in favour of this sort of thing. It’s good for the local area, it’s good for music lovers and, with the extra cash injection, it’s good for cricket too.