Brit Awards go east - to the O2

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The Independent Culture

Leading music event the Brit Awards is to move to London's O2 Arena, leaving its home of more than a decade, it was announced today.

The lavish bash - which saw stars such as Cheryl Cole, Lily Allen and Jay-Z perform this year - has been held at Earl's Court in west London each year since 2000.

The concert venue - now considered to be one of the world's leading live music arenas - will host next year's Brits on February 15.

Brits bosses announced that they had agreed a further three-year deal with ITV to screen the event live.

Organisers also said today there would be an "exciting development" in the way the show is put together next year. It will have a new executive producer, with former chart star Helen Terry - who ran the event for many years - succeeded by John Kaye Cooper.

It emerged this summer that a move was on the cards when Earl's Court chiefs said the Brits was moving on. But the new location had not been confirmed until today.

Prior to an unbroken 11-year stint at Earl's Court, the show took place at the London Arena for two years. Earl's Court was also the venue in 1996 and 1997.

The relocation of the event - officially called the Brit Awards 2011 with MasterCard - will be seen as yet another endorsement for the south east London venue which began life as the Millennium Dome but has been reborn as a major venue.

Brit Awards chairman David Joseph said: "Looking at what The Brits stands for - the 'must-see' spectacle and the unique performances which stretch every artist who performs - it was clear that moving to a state-of-the-art venue like the O2 was an obvious evolution."

ITV director of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell said: "Our viewers love the anticipation of what a live music show can bring as some of the world's biggest performers take to the stage."