Almost a year after announcing he would be playing four consecutive gigs at the Principality Stadium, Ed Sheeran arrives in Cardiff today for the opener.
The sell-out gigs are part of his UK tour and next he will be heading to Europe for dates in Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm and Munich among others.
The Cardiff dates come just weeks after Sheeran entertained fans in Wales when he opened Radio 1’s Biggest Weekend in Swansea.
There will be a number of road closures in place in Cardiff today and rail passengers are being advised to give themselves plenty of time.
We will be bringing live updates throughout the day…
‘It’s taken four years to get here’
Sheeran told the crowd: “This venue been on my bucket list to play because generally you come to play in Wales you play the student union and the Motorpoint and there’s a big gap after that.
“It’s taken four years to get here but here I am. I am very chuffed. All the other places I’ve played have an open roof but this feels like an intimate gig because the roof is closed.”
‘Make some noise’
Ed just asked the crowd to make some noise.
Despite the roof being firmly in place on the Principality Stadium tonight – I think they heard that in Canton.
There’s a wild atmosphere in the stadium
This gig is hotly anticipated. It has been almost a year since Ed announced he would be playing four consecutive shows in the Welsh capital.
He kicked things off in his trademark energetic style:
Ed Sheeran addresses the crowd
“Hello Cardiff! I haven’t packed a gig in Cardiff since 2014 and it was a lot smaller than this.
“I’m so excitied because I know the Welsh are bloody nuts.”
The set opener?
Ed has kicked things off with Castle on the Hill followed by Eraser.
A tried and tested formula!
Slightly ahead of schedule – Mr Sheeran has taken to the stage!
Anticipation is building
As the sun sets on Cardiff the anticipation is rising in the Principality.
Final ten minute countdown!
Ed Sheeran is due to make his appearance at 8.45pm.
First look at the stage
Here’s a first look at the stage as fans wait for Ed to appear.
‘Thousands packed into the stadium’
Our reporter Jess Walford is in the stadium with live updates throughout the evening.
Thousands of young fans are packed into the stadium singing along to Anne Marie hits in ed Sheeran tshirts with face paint on their faces.
The chart topper has been on for about half an hour now and has performed 2002 and Ciao Adios so far.
What will Ed play first?
According to The Chronicle Live – Ed opened his set in Newcastle with Castle on the Hill, followed by Eraser.
He closed with the classic You Need Me, I Don’t Need You. Will tonight be the same?
Find the full setlist here.
Anne Marie takes to the stage
English singer-songwriter Anne Marie is on stage at the Principality for the second of tonight’s warm up acts.
Not long until the main event!
- The last Valleys services are the 10.06pm to Treherbert and the 10.25pm to Barry Island
- The last service to Carmarthen is 10.30pm
- The last service to Swansea is 10.29pm
- The last service to Gloucester is 10.26pm
- The last service to Newport and Hereford is 11.20pm
- The last service to Ebbw Vale is 9.28pm
People travelling to Cardiff for this evening’s show have experienced long delays getting to the Principality Stadium.
After an earlier accident on the M4, the westbound carriageway has reopened and many fans are now making their way into the city.
Jamie Lawson takes to the stage
Singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson has arrived on stage at the Principality as the first of two support acts.
Anne-Marie is expected to begin her performance at 7.30pm before Ed Sheeran makes an appearance for the main event at 8.45pm.
There are road closures around Cardiff in place for tonight’s performance.
Read here for more details.
Westbound carriageway reopened
Traffic heading westbound on the M4 to Cardiff is now being allowed past the crash at junction 29.
There are still delays at the Severn Bridge toll booths.
Congestion is expected to continue in both directions.
Three-vehicle crash closes M4
Drivers are experiencing long delays after a three-vehicle crash closed the M4 between Cardiff and Newport.
The incident between the junction 30 turn off for Cardiff Gate and junction 28 (Tredegar Park) on the eastbound carriageway.
Motorists to Cardiff for tonight’s Ed Sheeran concert at the Principality Stadium are also experiencing long delays.
Follow herefor more details on the traffic.
Severe road delays back to the Severn Bridge
There are now severe delays due to fans heading to the concert on the M4 Westbound between the Severn Bridge toll booths and J29 of the M4 heading into Cardiff and travel time is 65 minutes.
Our reporter, Sarah Davies, has been out to meet some of Sheeran’s loyal fans and this is what they had to say…
Andy Bailey, 46 – who’s favourite song is Galway Girl – and Gemma Bailey, 40, from Swindon said: “We came to Cardiff because it was either here or London. We used the Park & Ride to get here today, we’ve come early to dodge some traffic so we’re going to have a wander around Cardiff before the concert.”
Karen, Sian and Tracy travelled from Bristol for the concert.
“We’re all turning 50 this year so it’s a birthday treat to ourselves. Ed is playing in Cardiff and Wembley and Cardiff is closer so we decided to pick here. We’ve been to Cardiff before mainly for shopping and spa days, that kind of thing.”
What time is Ed Sheeran on stage?
The gates for tonight’s concert open at 5pm and then the music gets underway 90 minutes later.
Here are the key timings…
6.30pm: English singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson warms up the crowds
7.30pm: Support act and Sheeran’s close pal Anne-Marie takes to the stage
8.45pm: The main man himself is due to kick off his performance.
T-shirts, programmes, hoodies and shoppers are among the items you can purchase from the merchandise stall – and, at £50, the hoodies are around £15 cheaper than those which were on sale when Beyonce and Jay-Z were recently in town.
Fans are waiting
More and more fans are now gathering in the sunshine outside the Principality Stadium as they wait for the gates to open…
Traffic slowing on M4
Drivers are being warned that traffic is slow on the M4 Westbound between J24 at the Coldra and J25 at Caerleon as Ed Sheeran fans head to Cardiff for tonight’s gig.
Gates open at 5pm.
Who’s the support act?
Sheeran’s roped in a close friend to support the four Cardiff shows.
The red-haired superstar will be joined on his UK stadium tour by singer-songwriter Anne-Marie.
And warming up the crowds at the start of the night will be English singer-songwriter Jamie Lawson.
Anne-Marie joined Ed on his last European tour and he even features on her debut album.
The pair have been friends for almost 10 years, and this is the first time they have recorded together.
“We’ve always wanted to work with each other, and obviously he’s always out of the country and I’m always out of the country,” Anne-Marie told NME of their friendship.
“So one time we were both in London and we just got in the studio and we did this song. We want work with each other more definitely – it’s just the time.”
The soundchecks are ON
There’s still more than five hours to go until the gates open at 5pm but the musicians are warming up and the WalesOnline offices are almost shaking from those booming sounds.
We can’t make any hits out though and are not even sure if it’s Sheeran or his support acts who are testing out the sound…
Bin the bags
Fans are being encouraged to ditch their bags tonight – or at least be aware there’s a size limit.
The news comes after Rolling Stones fans complained they were not allowed to take bags of a large size into the Stones’ gig last week – and missed part of the show as they had to take them to a secure lock up.
But the Principality Stadium said fans had been warned about its bag policy well in advance of the concert through various channels.
There is also a size limit on what bags are deemed to be appropriate to pass through security.
The statement regarding the bag policy reads: “Due to the current unprecedented security situation, it’s better for everyone if you do not bring a bag at all.
“We will not permit large bags into the stadium but you will be permitted to take small bags and handbags in with you.
“We class small bags as no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm or standard handbags.
“There are no bag storage facilities available at the stadium – please plan ahead if you intend travelling to Cardiff with a large bag.”
Park & Ride
If you are driving into Cardiff for tonight’s gig, allow extra time for your journey as there were huge tailbacks on the M4 when The Rolling Stones played the Principality Stadium last Friday.
With all the city centre road closures in place there will be Park & Ride facilities in operation.
The one at Leckwith can be accessed from junction 33 off the M4 and there will then be signs to follow.
Staff will arrive at the car park at11.30am, with the site opening at 11.45am and the first bus leaving at noon. The last bus will leave the pick up at the pick-up point at 11.30pm with the car park closing at midnight.
There’s also parking at Cathays High School, over all four nights. It costs £10.20 per car and spaces can be booked via the Principality Parking website.
The car park is open from 1.00 pm and cars must be collected no later than 90 minutes after the end of the show.
Road closures are already in place for tonight’s gig.
The council shut many of the roads from 7am for the safety of queuing fans.
They will be in place until 11.30pm each day that the musician in performing (from today until Sunday, June 24).
Here is a full list of the Cardiff road closures for Sheeran’s gigs…
What to expect
Sheeran’s making history as the first star to play FOUR consecutive nights at the Principality Stadium and his gigs are part of a UK tour.
He recently played Manchester’s Etihad Stadium and our colleagues from the Manchester Evening News were there. From Castle on the Hill to Nancy Mulligan and Galway Girl, the hits kept coming so it seems fans in Cardiff are in for a treat.
Here’s the Manchester review to whet your appetites…
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