Countdown to YTL Arena begins

By Alex Seabrook, LDRS reporter

It’s now two years until the new Bristol arena is due to open in a former airfield in Filton. The YTL Arena Bristol is due to open to gig-goers in late 2025 or early 2026.

The arena will have a capacity of 19,000 and is planned for the former Brabazon Hangars, the home of Concorde. Thousands of homes are also planned on the former airfield, as well as a new train station due to open in the middle of 2026.

The arena is being built by YTL, a Malaysian firm which also owns Wessex Water. Over five years ago Bristol mayor Marvin Rees scrapped plans for a new arena near Temple Meads, due to the risk to the taxpayer, and opted to get YTL to build a new arena in Filton instead.

Critics at the time questioned how gig-goers would get to the venue, on the northern edge of Bristol, without driving there. The new North Filton train station is due to open a few months after the arena, but trains will likely only run once an hour.

Trains could serve the new station every half hour, but this depends on first getting funding for upgrades. The current infrastructure cannot run a 15-minute train service, reducing how many passengers can travel to and from gigs.

Shuttle buses will also be running from the Portway park and ride, near the Avonmouth junction of the M5. A dedicated Metrobus route will also serve the development.

Massive Attack played at the Steel Yard at Filton Airfield in 2019, when shuttle buses to the venue were put on to Bristol centre. Queen also played a private concert there in 2022.

Also that year, Bristol City Council bid to host the Eurovision song contest in May 2023, with the Brabazon Hangars as a venue. However, the city lost out to winners Liverpool.