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The National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Solihull, England

June 4th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is an exhibition centre in Solihull, near Birmingham, England. It is near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and is adjacent to Birmingham International Airport and Birmingham International railway station. It has 21 interconnected halls, set in grounds of 628 acres (2.54 km²). It is the seventh largest exhibition centre in Europe.

The NEC Arena, host to large music concerts, is part of the complex. The 11,000 capacity NEC Arena was the largest multi-purpose arena in the UK when opening in the mid-1980s and although no longer the largest it is still a popular venue for touring acts. Together, the NEC and the NEC Arena host over 5 million visitors each year.

Since the 1980s, it has hosted performances by many international musicians and music groups, several of which have played at the NEC Arena on more than one occasion. Canadian rock band Rush filmed their VHS and DVD release entitled A Show of Hands at the NEC Arena in 1988. Some of this recording featured in the the audio album of the same name. Also, in 2003, the NEC Arena was host to WWE's Passport to Pain tour.

The NEC was home to the British International Motorshow from 1978 to 2004. The NEC also hosts the Clothes Show Live each year, with high street fashions, Model Scouts and Runway Shows. Major sporting events are also held at the venue including Horse of the Year Show and the British Open Show Jumping Championships.

Since 1991, the NEC has been the venue for the international dog show Crufts. Held over four days and using the entire complex, including the NEC arena, Crufts attracts an estimated 160,000 visitors annually making it the largest annual event held at the centre. The 1991 show was also Crufts centenary year and as part of the celebrations to mark the occasion, the Guiness Book of Records gave official recognition of the events status as the worlds largest dog show, with 22,973 dogs being exhibited that year.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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