LONDON – The roof of London’s The O2 arena has been partially destroyed in high winds caused by Storm Eunice, leading the venue to temporarily close.
The arena complex was evacuated on Friday (Feb. 18) after gusts of up to 90 mph ripped off sections of the building’s fabric roof.
A concert by Punjabi music stars AP Dhillon and Gurinder Gill scheduled to take place Friday night in The O2’s 2,800-capacity Indigo venue – the smaller of two concert spaces inside The O2 building – has been cancelled and rescheduled for Tuesday.
The Fugees were originally booked to play the venue’s main 21,000-capacity arena on Friday night, but the show – along with the rest of the group’s 25th anniversary tour – was pulled last month due to ongoing touring challenges relating to the coronavirus pandemic.
The next live shows scheduled to take place at The O2 arena are by British rapper Dave on Feb. 21-22. It is not known if the damaged roof directly affects the arena area or if any future concert dates will be impacted.
“Due to today’s adverse weather conditions, we can confirm that there has been some damage caused to the tent fabric in our roof at The O2,” said a spokesperson for The O2. “The affected areas have been cleared and The O2 will remain closed for the rest of the day. The safety of our visitors remains of paramount importance, and we will continue to assess the ongoing situation and act accordingly.”
Around 200,000 homes have been left without power across the U.K. as a result of Storm Eunice and a number of people have been injured after being hit by debris. The storm has brought widespread travel disruption throughout the country with hundreds of trains and flights cancelled.
A Met Office amber warning — meaning there is a potential danger to life — remains in place across much of England and all of Wales until 9pm Friday evening local time.
As well as its two music venues, the O2 complex also includes more than 30 bars and restaurants, a 19-screen cinema, bowling alley and the Icon Outlet shopping mall — a 210,000 square-foot retail space containing 60 high end brands.
The O2 arena is owned and operated by AEG. Since opening in 2007, more than 70 million people have passed through its doors and the arena was Billboard Boxscore’s top-grossing venue of the past decade. AEG did not respond to Billboard‘s request for comment at time of publishing.
Pre-pandemic, the arena was would regularly host around 200 events a year. In 2021, when the U.K. was under lockdown restrictions for much of the year, that number dropped to 29 concerts, grossing a combined $23.5 million and selling 341,000 tickets, according to Boxscore data.
Those grosses were still enough to make The O2 arena the only non-U.S. venue on the year-end Top Venues (15,001+ capacity) chart, spring boarded by its Welcome Back Series, a run of seven shows that included concerts by Burna Boy, Tom Jones and a sold-out three-night run by Wizkid on Nov. 28, 29 and Dec. 1.
Upcoming shows scheduled for The O2 include UB40, Stormzy and Country to Country, Europe’s biggest country music festival, featuring headline performances by Luke Combs, Darius Rucker and Miranda Lambert, taking place Mar. 11-13.