Gig postponed as Blackpool's Empress Ballroom repair gets underway

Winter Gardens marketing manager Anthony Williams in the Empress Ballroom
Winter Gardens marketing manager Anthony Williams in the Empress Ballroom
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It is the arguably the greatest gig venue in the UK – it’s sprung floor and amazing architecture a favourite of performers and music fans alike.

But it is this legendary ornate setting that has caused the venue to be closed until the end of the month.

The Empress Ballroom roof where a panel of plasterwork fell out. Netting is being put in place ahead of further examinations to the historic room

The Empress Ballroom roof where a panel of plasterwork fell out. Netting is being put in place ahead of further examinations to the historic room

A panel in its beautifully decorated plasterwork fell out last week.

The white and gold plaster panel shattered as it fell through the chandelier below it.

As reported in The Gazette, the damage was discovered on the morning of Monday, September 4, during routine checks of the Winter Gardens complex.

Last Saturday’s sell-out Alt-J gig in the ballroom had to be cancelled, much to fans’ disappointment.

And the sold-out The Libertines gig on Friday, September 22 has been postponed until Thursday, December 14 - with original tickets valid for the new date.

Now, a scaffolding tower has been erected and netting is being put in place to prevent any further panels potentially from falling from the barrel-vaulted ceiling to the famously sprung dancefloor.

Preparations are now underway for the Empress Ballroom to reopen – but a list of events have had to be shifted to other venues while the repair job is carried out.

A scaffolding tower has been erected and netting is being put in place to prevent any further panels potentially falling from the barrel-vaulted ceiling dozens of feet to the floor below.

The dozen chandeliers which hang from the ceiling have been removed to allow the work to take place.

The precautionary measure of installing the netting will allow the historic space to reopen at the end of the month.

Winter Gardens marketing manager Anthony Williams said: “Following the installation of the netting, a plan will be developed to restore the damaged panel and fully test all the remaining panels and install additional measures to prevent any repeat of the incident.”

In the meantime, events due to take place in the ballroom have been moved to other spaces within the complex.

The Enterprise Vision Awards (EVAs) and the National Assocation of Teachers of Dancing medallist of the year finals on September 23 and 24 will both be held in the Winter Gardens’ Pavilion Theatre and Horseshoe.

In a statement issued on The Libertines' Twitter feed, the Winter Gardens said: "The show by The Libertines on September 22 at Blackpool Empress Ballroom has had to be postponed due to essential maintenance works at the venue. The show has been rearranged to 14 December. Original tickets will be valid for the rearranged date.

“The venue are sorry for any inconvenience caused and would like to thank the band and their fans for their cooperation and understanding.”