THE Bandstand will remain closed throughout May and June for repairs.
Eastbourne Bandstand concerts are set to move home while the building receives essential maintenance to its main ring beam.
Despite news of the repair work, a council spokesperson says the full programme of the concerts will continue as planned and be moved to a temporary staging area on the beach, with many being offered free of charge. The council is now having to offer refunds as a result of the works.
A restored plaque to musician John Wesley Woodward, who died when the Titanic sank, was recently unveiled at the Bandstand and around 1,500 applied for free tickets to the event at the time of the plaque presentation.
However, the free concert commemorating 100 years since the sinking of the ship will not be able to take place at the venue and will instead be at the Congress Theatre on April 15.
Cllr Neil Stanley, Eastbourne Borough Council cabinet member for tourism, said, “We are delighted to host this commemorative event and are still committed to continuing as much of our Bandstand programme as possible.
“We have acted quickly to ensure the concert still goes ahead and are currently sending newsletters to our audience advising of the venue change.
“We have even arranged a shuttle bus in case anyone turns up at the wrong venue.”
Works on the Bandstand have come about after the iconic seafront landmark underwent a routine bi-annual winter structural survey towards the end of 2011, indicating repair work needed to the steel ring beam above the stage.
Works started in early February, however further investigation as part of a condition survey during the repair work last week revealed further damage behind the masonry, requiring a full replacement of the beam.
The work is part of a planned programme of investment in Eastbourne’s historic landmark buildings which has identified those most in need of repair and refurbishment.
Cllr David Tutt, council leader, said, “After many generations of under-investment in Eastbourne’s architectural heritage, the council is facing up to the need to properly examine how buildings like the Bandstand and Congress Theatre should be safeguarded and improved.
“The Bandstand is high on our priority list of structures requiring refurbishment. It is too early to say exactly how long this significant work will take, but we are fully committed to ensuring this iconic landmark is returned to its former glory.”
Private hires have all been cancelled for the duration of the closure and hirers have been contacted this week, including the Eastbourne Shout on April 27.
Work has already begun on moving the programme of May and June concerts to the beach venue, starting with the first summer season concert on May 4.
The venue will also include access for people with disabilities, including toilets and a viewing area.
Ticket holders will be informed of the venue changes after the Easter break, and audience members will be able to obtain refunds if they wish. Further updates will be sent through newsletters, local media, websites, social media, poster sites and a helpline number will be available.
For more details and to obtain refunds, visit the Seafront Office, 6 Lower Parade, Grand Parade, open 10am-5pm every day.
To contact the office email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 410611, or visit www.eastbournebandstand.co.uk for more details.