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GEORGE BENSON AND AL JARREAU (article first published : 2007-02-24)

Two international superstars, George Benson and Al Jarreau, are the double bill for the March 20, 2007 opening of the state-of-the art ICC Durban Arena.

In keeping with the ICC’s philosophy to make the Arena accessible to the community, local audiences will have the rare opportunity of seeing these two Grammy-Award winning artists on stage together the following evening, during the first public concert ever to be held in the showcase indoor Arena.

Ms Mato Madlala, chairperson of the ICC Durban Board of Directors, commented; “It’s an honour to be hosting such talented musicians on the Arena opening night and we look forward to the opportunity of continuing this precedent by offering international performers an indoor venue where audiences of up to 10,000 can purchase tickets in advance, knowing that they can enjoy the performance in weather-proof, comfortable surrounds. The ICC is certainly ‘entering a new era’ as horizons expand from the conference, exhibitions and events industry, to the exciting world of international entertainment and sport.”

Miller Matola, the ICC’s chief executive officer, added; “Not only will the new Arena enhance the ICC brand, it will strengthen ICC’s position as ‘Africa’s Leading Conference Centre,’ as voted by the World Travel Awards for six consecutive years.” In addition, the ICC has been included on the AIPC’s list of ‘Top 10 Best Conference Centres in the World. With the addition of the Arena, we have the facilities to ensure a slot in the world’s Top 5.”

The ICC has become the ultimate catalyst for economic development. An original R260 million investment has generated over R5 billion income for the region since opening in August 1997. The R460 million ICC Durban Arena, designed to attract new revenue streams for the Centre and the City, will position the ICC in a league of its own. The ICC Durban is now the largest conference centre in South Africa and one of the few conference centres in the world with a large multi-purpose indoor arena.

With just weeks until the opening, construction is well on track, with the value of work undertaken to date hitting the R400 million mark. Contracts director, Bernard Blomfield, explained: “External works are still in progress, including tiling of the massive entrance area. Glazing of the huge façade is complete and we are now focusing on internal finishes, including the installation of electronic systems and the commissioning of the air-conditioning.”

The interior high-tech flooring, comparable to Olympic stadia standards in terms of levels and flatness, is 80% complete, with the operable walls designed to subdivide the venue almost fully installed. Carpeting and lighting in the existing centre have been updated to match the new Arena décor.

George Benson and Al Jarreau will perform on Human Right's Day, March 21, at 19h00. Ticket prices range from R200 - R450. Book at Computicket on 083 915 8000 or on line at www.computicket.com




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