THE biggest pop concert Chester has ever seen could be staged here in late summer.
Chester Race Company is trying to line up nationally known acts for its first large scale music event, which is expected to attract 10,000 fans at each of two evening events.
If the right artists can be secured, the concerts will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 19-20 with tickets expected to sell for between £20 and £30.
There will be an all-seater arena and the stage is likely to be in the middle of The Roodee at the back of the tented village and facing the Grosvenor Bridge, complete with large video screens.
Noise pollution has been an ongoing issue with Curzon Park residents who objected when the race company applied for its premises licence last year, but a dialogue has been established to improve relations.
Chief executive Richard Thomas, who organised a Simply Red concert when he was in charge at Haydock, believes the festival will put Chester on the map.
He said: 'The North West is very lucky to have big stadia at Manchester and Liverpool. We are looking to do something in the middle, for 10,000 people, with an event which suits the locality so people who live in Chester are comfortable we are using The Roodee for the best possible purpose.'
Mr Thomas, said whether the event went ahead was dependent on securing the 'right act'.
'We want to do it properly,' he said. ' It's important we get it right because if you get it wrong it will never happen again.'
The gigs would begin at 8pm and finish at 10.30pm with gates closing at 11pm. Nearby residents are being kept informed.
If the racecourse concert goes ahead it will be twice as big as the largest event to be held in the area in recent times, the annual Delamere Forest 5,000-ticket pop concert headlined this summer by UB 40 and Jamie Cullum.
Pop events in Chester itself have had a chequered history. In 2001 a two-day concert for 50,000 pop fans on each day was planned for the Roodee in a part-nership with Chester City Council but the promoters pulled out because of police concerns about public order.
Farmer and former city councillor Ed Walley stepped in and agreed to rent a large field near his Cotton Abbotts farm in Waverton but there was local opposition and the event was scrapped.
And Chester Summer Music Festival suffered a financial setback in 2004 when pop star Jamelia snubbed the Grosvenor Park event in favour of Top of the Pops. firstname.lastname@example.org