London’s O2 Arena to return with full-capacity concerts in August

Venue’s management promises an eclectic array of summer shows

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 17: Eskimo Dance perform at Red Bull Culture Clash at The O2 Arena on June 17, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images for Red Bull)

London's O2 Arena will be back at full capacity from August, according to organisers.

After hosting The Brit Awards earlier in May with limited attendance, the popular music venue aims to be fully operational in time for summer with a series of "Welcome Back" concerts.

The venue, which has a capacity of 20,000, is already booked for high-profile gigs taking place later in the year.

This includes a rescheduled concert by American pop group Haim on September 30, followed by British rapper AJ Tracey on November 25 and veteran DJ Pete Tong on December 3 and 4. UK rockers Royal Blood will perform on March 30, 2022 and American RnB singer Alicia Keys is set to return on June 13, 2022.

The venue also announced a comedy show on Wednesday, December 8, with Mo Gilligan leading a line-up of comedians as part of The Black British Take Over.

In a statement, Emma Bownes, vice president of AEG Europe (which owns and runs the venue), said more shows have been planned to cater to popular music tastes.

“The Welcome Back Shows mark a really exciting moment for The O2 and for our fans as we get ready to welcome full-capacity crowds back to the venue after such a long period,” she said.

“We’re planning a stunning string of events that will bring the best in comedy, dance, Afrobeat, rock and pop to London and give fans what they’ve been waiting for.”

The return of London's O2 continues the revival of the UK’s live music industry, which was devastated after the pandemic shuttered major venues from March 2020.

In February, the UK government released a timetable for relaxing coronavirus restrictions.

As a result, two of the country's biggest live music festivals, Reading and Leeds, announced their return for Friday, August 27 to Sunday, August 29.

Other UK festivals planning a comeback include Womad (Thursday to Sunday, July 22 to 25), Kendal Calling (Thursday to Sunday, July 29 August 1) and Parklife (Saturday and Sunday, September 11 and 12).

Other popular events cancelled this year include the mammoth, multi-day Glastonbury Festival, which has migrated online for a one-day stream on Saturday, May 22, and London’s BST Hyde Park series of summer concerts.