‘RIP IEM Kettering’ – Epic.LAN finds a new home as Kettering Conference Centre closes due to ‘challenging operating environment’


Update (May 24th 223): Epic.LAN has announced its next event will take place at Wolverhampton Racecourse from July 27th to 30th.

Then, it will return to Kettering in October for Epic40!

Original article (April 27th): UK esports event organiser Epic.LAN can’t seem to catch a break this year. From not being paid on time to their van being borken into and stripped for parts – now they’ve lost their main venue.

Kettering Conference Centre (KCC), the home of Epic.LAN events over the past decade, is closing.

The venue was so associated with Epic’s regular LAN esports events that it became affectionately known in some circles as ‘IEM Kettering’, what with IEM being short for Intel Extreme Masters – major ESL events that take place in the likes of Katowice, Cologne and Rio. While of course Epic.LAN is not an official IEM event, the community labelling it was a show of respect to the event organisers and the tournaments they host.

KCC said on its website: “Unfortunately, Kettering Conference Centre will be closing on Wednesday 31st May 2023. We have explored all possible alternatives and despite our best efforts to rebuild post pandemic, due to the ongoing challenging operating environment we are unable to continue to operate.

“We have not taken this decision lightly and our number one priority is to support our customers accordingly and we are working hard to find alternative arrangements for any current bookings. Everybody with a booking post 31st May 2023 will receive a full refund for monies paid.

“Thank you to everyone who has used Kettering Conference Centre over the years and the local community for its continued support and understanding.”

Update: A petition has been made to save Kettering Conference Centre and it has hit 10,000 signatures which will ‘likely get a reaction from a decision maker’.

Epic.LAN asks community for venue suggestions as IEM Kettering ends

Epic.LAN is now looking for a alternative venues in the Midlands to host its events in the future.

Its next event, Epic39, was due to take place at Kettering Conference Centre from July 20th to 23rd 2023, featuring its usual mix of esports tournaments, community gatherings and more.

Epic.LAN MD Jon Winkle said on Twitter: “If anyone has any direct connections with or (serious) recommendations for alternative Midlands venues that may be interested in hosting the event, please do send them in the direction of my DMs so we can talk.”

Epic.LAN partnerships coordinator Jacob McNally added: “Absolute shock for us all. We owe so much to KCC, very sad to hear the news. We’ll be working extremely hard in the meantime to sort this, and will do whatever we can to go ahead.”

“If anyone has any direct connections with or (serious) recommendations for alternative Midlands venues that may be interested in hosting the event, please do send them in the direction of my DMs so we can talk.”

Jon Winkle, Epic.LAN

The community paid their respects to IEM Kettering on social media after the news broke this afternoon.

Quote tweeting Epic’s announcement tweet above, caster Cham said: “Honestly terrible news overall. Really hope a new venue can be sorted but can we focus on the fact that another leisure centre has had to close its doors because of the cost? So many staff and members of the public affected by this time and time again. Communities are suffering.”

Rix’s former tournament and events manager Maru added: “The end of IEM Kettering. What a run it’s been. Thoughts go out to those at the venue and hopefully some good fucking luck swings by the Epic.LAN team soon.”

NUEL product manager Russ said: “End of an era. UK esports relies on amazing grassroots events like Epic.LAN so I really hope they can find a new home without too much hassle.”

The UKSC2 account tweeted:Sad news today about Epic.LAN. Hopefully another venue can be found soon and the event can go ahead as planned. Best of luck to the Epic team and conference centre employees!”

eMasters Valorant player ReQz simply commented:RIP IEM Kettering.”

Further reading: The most recent Epic.LAN event, Epic 38, made global gaming news over a CSGO player’s epic in-game fail.

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