Earls Court Exhibition Centre is an exhibition centre, conference and event
venue located in West London, England on the
boundary between the Royal Borough
of Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.
It is the second largest exhibition venue
in London. It is served by two underground stations, Earl's
Court and West Brompton, opposite its entrances on Warwick Road and the Old
Court and nearby Olympia are operated
by EC&O Venues.
Earls Court was largely a waste ground for many years. With the
introduction of two stations, it became a mass network of rail on
derelict grounds. The idea of introducing entertainment to the
grounds was brought about by an entrepreneur called John Robinson
Whitley who used the land as a show ground for many years. Whitley
did not profit from his efforts, yet his desire had decided the
future of Earls Court and its purpose in later years. In the late
19th century the site had been home to Buffalo Bill's Wild West
Show and a huge observation wheel. A plaque in the press centre
commemorates both of these facts and that Queen Victoria was a
frequent visitor to the show.
the land was sold and the new owners decided to construct a show
centre to rival any other in the world and to dominate the nearby
The plan was to create Europe's largest structure by
volume. The project did not go exactly to plan; it ran over budget
and was late in completion. Earls Court finally opened its door to
the public for the Chocolate and Confectionery Exhibition on 1
September 1937. It was designed by architect C.
. The Motor Show and
Commercial Vehicle show soon followed. In spite of all the problems
in the latter part of construction, the project was completed at a
cost of £1.5 million. This building is now usually referred to as
Earls Court One.
It has 41,811 square metres of
space on two levels.
Earls Court Two
In response to the drastic need to increase Earls Court's
exhibition space, Earls Court Two
at a cost of £100m. The striking new barrel-roofed hall which links
with Earls Court One via folding shutters is large enough to hold
four jumbo jets, and the hall's 17,000 square metre floor is
entirely column-free. The hall was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales
October 1991 for the Motorfair. Earls Court 2 is situated on part of the
As of August 2009 owners of Earls Court and Olympia have revealed
plans for demolition and replacement with housing and office
It is still one of the most popular arenas to play in the UK, with
a capacity of around 19,000, including standing room, meaning it is
often chosen over other venues by bands with a large fan base.
Musicians who have played at the venue include:Listed in
chronological order with name of artist and date of
- Pink Floyd performed The Dark Side of the Moon
suite on 18/19 May 1973 to two sell out gigs. The band also played
six nights 4-9 August 1980 for its performances of The Wall. The exercise was repeated one year
later as the band played five nights 13-17 June 1981 for attempts
at filming and recording the live Wall performances, which
were later released on Is There
Anybody Out There? The Wall Live
1980-81. In 1994 the band played on 14 October their first
of a record-breaking 14 nights at this venue and was filmed and
recorded on P•U•L•S•E &
P•U•L•S•E . However one night
of the concert was forced to be cancelled, after a section of
seating in the arena collapsed during the show, injuring several
- Slade performed to 19,000 on 1 July 1973.
The show was filmed but has never been released.
- Led Zeppelin performed for five
sold out nights in May 1975. Footage from the concerts was filmed
and was released twenty eight years later on the Led Zeppelin DVD. This series of concerts is widely
considered by fans to be amongst the best of the band's
- The Rolling Stones performed
six nights of 21-23 May and 24-26 May 1976 as part of their
"Tour of Europe
- Queen performed 6/7 June 1977 and
filmed footage has been widely bootlegged.
- Genesis performed on 23-25 June
1977, six sold out shows in November 1992 (videoed for The Way
We Walk DVD) and one show in 1998.
- Dire Straits performed On Every Street Tour on 6 April and 6
- Whitney Houston performed three
consecutive nights (5-7 November 1993) during her 1993/94 world
- Supertramp performed three nights in
May 1983 on their Famous Last Words tour which was their
final tour with member Roger
- Oasis performed on 4/5 November
1995; some of their performance was included in ...There and Then. They performed
there again, on 25-27 September 1997, supported by The Verve.
- The Who performed Quadrophenia on 6/7 December 1996.
- Celine Dion performed on 13/14 June
1997 at the end of her successful Falling into You Tour 8 months after
the 15 day Sell Out UK tour in 1996. On Completing these dates she
had sung to 200,000 fans in the UK.
- R.E.M. performed on 22/23 June 1999 as
part of their 'Up' tour
- Spice Girls performed five nights in
December 1999 as part of the 'Christmas In Spiceworld' tour,
including their last concert as a band, until their reunion tour in
- Iron Maiden performed in June 2000
as part of their "Brave New World" tour in support of their reunion
album Brave New
World and returned in December 2003 as part of their
"Death on the Road" tour which was in support of the album
Dance of Death. And
twice again on 22 and 23 December 2006 as the final dates of their
A Matter of Life
and Death world tour.
- U2 performed 4 sold out shows during August
2001 on their Elevation Tour.
- Madonna played 6
consecutive sold out shows at the venue as part of her 2001
Drowned World Tour, and played 2
sell out concerts again, on her 2004 Re-Invention World Tour.
- Westlife performed 5 shows from 28 May
to 1 June 2002.
- Paul McCartney performed 19 April
- Radiohead performed on 26/27 November
- Fleetwood Mac performed on 29/30
November and 10 December 2003
- Stereophonics performed 16/17
- Metallica performed on 12 October 1996
as part of the Poor Touring Me tour and again on 19 and 20 December
2003 as there only UK indoor dates on the Madly In Anger With The
- Morrissey performed 18 December 2004
and later released as Live at Earls
- Muse performed on 19 and 20 December
2004 and later released some of the video footage on their Absolution Tour DVD in 2005.
- Kylie Minogue played 7 consecutive
sold out shows from 30 April to 2 May and 4-7 May 2005
- Coldplay performed 14-16 December
- Foo Fighters performed 17 and 18
- Duran Duran played on 22 and 23
December 2005, as the final dates of the Astronaut world tour.
- Give it a Name festival was held
on 29 and 30 April 2006
- Red Hot Chili Peppers
performed 14, 15, 17 and 18 July 2006. All concerts were sold
- George Michael performed from 25
to 29 November 2006
- Kasabian played on 19 December
- Razorlight played on 8 April
- Give it a Name festival was held
there on 27, 28 and 29 April 2007.
- Roger Waters, formerly of Pink Floyd played his Dark Side of the Moon tour
on 11/12 May 2007, the latter gig included Pink Floyd drummer
- Kaiser Chiefs played two nights on
14 and 15 December 2007.
- Give it a Name festival was held
at Earl's Court on 10 and 11 May 2008. Headliners included Paramore, 30 Seconds
to Mars, Plain White T's and
- Janet Jackson was supposed to
perform two nights in a row at the venue on 11 and 12 December 2001
during her All for You Tour.
Eventually, the entire European leg of the highly anticipated tour
was cancelled for security reasons as a consequence of 9/11.
Exhibitions and shows
Earls Court hosts many shows and exhibitions throughout the year,
including the Ideal Home Show
the BRIT Awards
. The MPH Show, one of
Britain's largest motoring exhibitions and shows, hosted by Jeremy
Clarkson and other famous presenters takes place here each winter,
alongside an earlier showing at the NEC, Birmingham. Each summer
from 1950 to 1999 Earls Court Exhibition Centre was home to the
, the first, oldest
and biggest military tattoo
The Professional Lighting and Sound
have their annual trade show, the PLASA Show
, at Earls Court. It's usually held in
early September and thousands of people from the entertainment and
design industries come together to meet representatives from
entertainment equipment companies, such as Martin
, Avolites and Vari*Lite
Sport and sports entertainment
Earls Court will host the volleyball
competitions in the 2012 Summer
. The volleyball events were scheduled for the
multi-sport arenas in the Olympic Park.
It housed two World
Wrestling Entertainment Insurrextion
shows in 2000
. These were initially shown on live
pay-per-view exclusively to the
Kingdom on Sky
Digital, then later released worldwide on DVD.
Earls Court has also hosted WWE
's worldwide TV shows,
on 23 and 24 April 2007. On the RAW show
former Chelsea football coach Jose
(who was shown on screen then booed loudly by the
crowd) and former radio 1 DJ Tony Blackburn were in attendance.
Both events were broadcast to a capacity crowd.
- Lewis, Dave and Pallett, Simon (1997) Led Zeppelin: The
Concert File, London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-5307-4, p.