Sage Gateshead is reporting a record start to the year with more businesses choosing to host their corporate events at the North East music centre than ever before.
In January, five major organisations – Greggs, Heineken, JML, MHW Global and D3 Events – held conferences and events at the venue, which is a registered charity. And, by the end of March, Sage Gateshead is expected to have hosted 136 events.
Last year the venue’s conference and events programme led to £7.8m being spent in the region, according to the local authorities.
South Shields-based TV shopping specialists JML is fast expanding its international distribution, and the company held a staff conference in Sage Gateshead’s Sage Two auditorium.
Three days later Heineken took over the building with a conference bringing for 600 people from across the country.
MHW Global, now part of Stantec, are specialists in water and natural resources, has one of its 35 global offices based on the NewcastleGateshead Quayside and held a series of meetings and seminars for its UK national team in The Sage’s Barbour Room.
Also in January, Greggs held its annual conference for staff and launched new products for 2017.
Lynn Ezard, event executive at Heineken, said: “There was a huge wow factor from outside with the lighting and the bridges and it’s such a unique building. It gave a real point of difference as opposed to some of the characterless boxes we have had to use in the past that are just purpose-built for conferencing. The dressing rooms were a godsend too, as we always have bags, printers, documents, lanyards etc to sort out and we need to keep things safe and together. This was really useful space for our team.”
Abigail Pogson, Sage Gateshead MD, added: “It has been a fantastic start to the year for our conference and events programme. Our main auditoriums, for example, are among the best in the world for acoustic quality.
“It’s always great to welcome local businesses here and their support is vital in ensuring we can continue to give people of all ages and abilities access to music in the region.”
Paul Szomoru, head of business tourism at NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “Conferences and events are worth an estimated £104m to the local economy, a figure which continues to grow.
“Sage Gateshead is a key contributor to this and had a significant impact on our business tourism offering when it opened in 2004, allowing us to bid for a wider range of conferences and events. It is one of our crown jewels and remains one of the most inspiring venues in the UK.”