Concerts give food for thought

by Kate Smith

Mouth-watering stats ahead of this summer's trio of concerts.

The Stadium of Light will play host to three huge music shows in the next 10 days, as rock legends Bon Jovi and R&B superstar Rihanna take to the Wearside stage on June 13 and 20 respectively, followed by the multi-artist pop extravaganza, North East Live, on June 22.

The home of Sunderland AFC is already gearing up to welcome up to 150,000 music fans through its gates next month and ensuring that such huge crowds are well looked after is no mean feat  -  with over 2000 staff on duty for each show to facilitate a mammoth catering operation.

Catering for concerts is quite literally a whole different ball game to football matches however, with significantly larger crowds, many of whom are in the stadium for in excess of six hours, in contrast to less than two hours for a normal Premier League game. 

An extensive range of food and beverage options will be on offer throughout the day to tempt discerning concert-goers, including pizzas, burgers, wraps, confectionery, along with Champagne, beer, wine and more.

The following eye-watering statistics demonstrate the sheer scale and challenges of catering for such large crowds:

• Roughly 20,000 pizzas will be sold across the three shows - enough to cover the entire Stadium of Light pitch. 

• Some 60,000 burgers will be consumed, which, if stacked one on top of one another, would be taller than the stadium’s main West Stand.

• If laid end to end, the estimated 75,000 hot dogs that will be purchased would reach from the home of Sunderland AFC to Gateshead Stadium.

Gary Hutchinson, SAFC’s commercial director, said: “Of course our team has vast experience of dealing with large-scale catering operations, from football matches through to events such as Northern Pride with our external catering company ‘1879 Events’, but the concerts do provide us with a different challenge, in terms of both crowd dynamics and timings.

“People spend much longer in the stadium for a concert than they do for a football match so there is additional pressure on the food and beverage operation throughout the day and evening. Much more food and drink is consumed than at an average football match and it’s important for us to maintain the highest standards of service, without compromising on the quality that we are renowned for - and our in-house team is really looking forward to the challenge.”

Further information about concerts at the Stadium of Light, including all the latest news on tickets and hospitality, is available at