FEATURE: Beauty in an Age of Denial: Some of the Most Striking Music Venues in Britain



 Beauty in an Age of Denial:


IN THIS PHOTO: Belfast's Empire Music Hall

Some of the Most Striking Music Venues in Britain


EVERY band and artist who is compiling their tour dates…


IN THIS PHOTO: The exterior to Wilton's Music Hall, London

tries to get out there and bring their music to a range of people – at different-sized spots that are easy to conquer and impress. Maybe it is a lack of cachet and name – but few artists have the opportunity flex their musical muscles at some of those immaculate, eye-opening venues around the U.K. I have found, every time an artist doe gig at such a spot, the reaction is the same: their minds are blown and it goes down in their memory for years.

I am interested in these incredible locations and why more musicians do not play them. Maybe it is the reverence and dignity – any music might defile the quietness and splendour of the surroundings. Any new act looking for a nine-date series of gigs (perhaps with two dates at the best venue) would do themselves good to investigate these wonderful locations.

(All biographical information about the venues taken from their official website/Wikipedia)



Leeds Town Hall

Location: Leeds


Until early 1813, the Moot Hall at the top of Briggate was the seat of Leeds Corporation and was used for judicial purposes. It was replaced by a new court house on Park Row, Leeds.

Leeds went through a period of rapid growth in the first half of the 19th century and by the mid-19th century it became apparent that the court house was no longer large enough for the functions it performed. In July 1850, Leeds Borough Council decided to build a new town hall and established a committee to assess the opinions of Leeds' inhabitants as to the building of a new municipal hall.

In order to finance the town hall, the council proposed to sell shares in the building to the value of £10 but the proposal failed. The council then proposed introducing a specific rate levied to fund its construction although it was not introduced until after the November 1850 local election, and most residents who would have paid the tax at the time lacked voting rights. The town hall was approved in January 1851 when Alderman Hepper put the motion to the council and it was carried by 24 votes to 12.[2] It was intended to represent Leeds' emergence as an important industrial centre during the Industrial Revolution and symbolize civic pride and confidence”.

Follow: https://www.leedstownhall.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeedsTownHall


The Empire Music Hall

Location: Belfast


There are ample spaces one can appreciate beauty and stunning architecture – it is a city that continues to reveal a colourful crysalise. Ulster Hall is one such venue but one cannot ignore the Empire Music Hall. It has that Wild West-esque theme and one half expects an old piano to play itself – as can-can girls entertain the enraptured crowds. Arcane Roots The Dears and Low have played there – it is a hot and popular stop-off for some of music’s most captivating talent.

Follow: http://www.thebelfastempire.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/belfastEmpire


Wigmore Hall

Location: London


Wigmore Hall, one of the world’s great concert halls, specialises in chamber and instrumental music, early music and song.

Having recently celebrated its 115th Birthday, Wigmore Hall is livelier than ever, offering music-making of outstanding quality and an array of activities in the broader community. With its infectious sense of adventure, it consistently captures the public imagination and broadens its audiences’ horizons.

Wigmore Hall’s focus is on great musical works, best experienced with a powerful sense of immediacy. The repertoire extends 250 years on either side of Beethoven (born 1770) – from the Renaissance to contemporary jazz and new commissions from today’s most exciting composers.

Bringing this music to life are the world’s most sought-after soloists and chamber musicians. Wigmore Hall also provides a showcase for exceptional young artists — some making their professional London debuts — and remains an essential platform as their careers flourish”.

Follow: https://wigmore-hall.org.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wigmore_hall


Royal Lyceum Theatre

Location: Edinburgh


The Royal Lyceum Theatre Company is Scotland’s leading producing theatre. With a strong reputation for excellence in classical, contemporary and community work. The Lyceum is committed to developing Scotland’s considerable indigenous talents while presenting the best of international drama. In Season 2016/17, under new Artistic Director David Greig, the company is producing 10 full productions making it one of the largest producing companies in the United Kingdom.

The company has been resident at the Royal Lyceum Theatre since 1965 and has been shaped by artistic and associate directors including Tom Fleming, Ian Woolridge, Kenny Ireland, Bill Bryden and Richard Eyre. Throughout its long history, the company has welcomed many stars to its stage including David Tennant, Alan Cumming and Emily Mortimer to Tony Conti, Ian McKellan and Marlene Dietrich. In Season 2015/16 the company celebrated its 50th anniversary with an acclaimed season programmed by outgoing artistic director Mark Thomson which included the award-winning, sell-out return of Brian Cox & Bill Patterson to the Scottish stage in Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot”.

Follow: https://lyceum.org.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/lyceumtheatre


Wilton’s Music Hall

Location: London


Wilton’s Music Hall is a gem in the heart of London and the oldest grand music hall in the world. It presents a year round programme of exceptional live music and world-class productions alongside learning and participation work that engages the local community and schools. 

The Grade 2 Star listed building recently completed a 4 year capital project with support from Heritage Lottery Fund and numerous trusts and individuals. This project, designed by Tim Ronalds Architects, recently won a RIBA 2016 National Award, RIBA London Award 2016, RIBA London Conservation Award 2016 and RIBA London Building Of The Year 2016.

Follow: https://www.wiltons.org.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WiltonMusicHall


PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Bombed Out Church

Location: Liverpool


Since 2007 the church has been operating as a managed ruin and multidisciplinary arts venue with a programme of curated events, community engagement and creative learning projects. A gateway building within the city, crucial to both its past and present, the Bombed Out Church is a place for everyone. 

A committed team from diverse backgrounds have devoted tens of thousands of hours to keeping St Luke's Church open to the public and reinvigorated by the arts. Bombed Out Church has been supported on its route to international recognition by a dedicated community of friends and volunteers as well as notable names such as Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. Together, Bombed Out Church stands as testament to history and to the spirit of Liverpool”.

Follow: http://www.bombedoutchurch.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/bombedoutchurch


St. Martin-in-the-Fields

Location: London


St Martin-in-the-Fields is a landmark church in the heart of London. It is a hospitable, vibrant and forward thinking community with worship at its heart. Located on the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields is steeped in beautiful Georgian architecture which has been imitated across the world.

Whether you are joining us for worship, enjoying a delicious apple crumble in the Cafe in the Crypt, or relaxing to classical music in a candlelit church, St Martin’s offers everyone a warm welcome in the heart of London”.

Follow: http://www.stmartin-in-the-fields.org/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/smitf_london


Wylam Brewery

Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne


Our home at the Palace of Art in Exhibition Park is the last remaining building from the 1929 North East Exhibition. The Exhibition was an ambitious project built to celebrate and encourage Craft, Art and Industry at the start of the Great Depression.

Having remained almost derelict for nearly a decade the building has sprung back to life as a fully operational working Brewery.

Alongside the Brewery there is a Brewery Tap, which is open to the public Thursdays to Sundays inclusive.

The Grand Hall plays host to Live Music, Weddings, Pop Up Events and more …

Church music is provided by a professional quartet of singers at Sunday morning services and a voluntary choir at Evensong. The voluntary choir, open to all, sings regularly on Sunday Evenings and has up to 24 members. The choir was started in 2005 by the current Director of Music, Jonathan Bunney. The voluntary choir has sung at Guildford Cathedral and further cathedral visits are planned for the future.[10]

Current churchwardens are Thomas Hardin and Wil James.

St Giles is pleased to play host to companion groups who provide food and drink for the body, mind and spirit. From 2pm to 4pm on Saturdays and from 1.15pm to 3.15pm on Sundays the Simon Community hold a mobile street café in the north churchyard to dispense tea, coffee, sandwiches, fruit, cake and words of advice, seeking to reach out to the most unreachable.[11] During the week, various self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, meet upon church premises to assist those with addictions”.

Follow: http://www.wylambrewery.co.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wylambrewery/



The House of St. Barnabas

Location: London


Our home at the Palace of Art in Exhibition Park is the last remaining building from the The House of St Barnabas, at 1 Greek StreetSoho, is a Grade I Listed Georgian building in London[1] notable for its rococo plasterworkinteriors and for other architectural features.

Since 1862 the House has been run as a charity to help those who have experienced homelessness.[2] The name of the organisation was changed from the "House of Charity" to the "House of St Barnabas" in 1951.[3] The building functioned as a hostel for women until 2006.[4]

The not-for-profit members' club at The House of St Barnabas opened in October 2013”.

Follow: https://hosb.org.uk/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/hostbarnabas