Live Music Venues

Lakeside Arts Centre

This is the University of Nottingham’s unique public arts facility based in the family-friendly surroundings of Highfields Park. They have a year-round programme of high quality, diverse exhibitions, music, theatre, dance, comedy and literature performances including some folk and traditional music.

For more info see: Lakeside Arts Centre

Revelation St Mary's, Ashford

At long last Ashford in Kent, the growth town of the area, has a major brand new arts centre which on the other hand is hundreds of years old! Nearly £2 million has been spent upgrading the St Mary the Virgin Parish Church in the centre of Ashford and at the same time the building has been remodelled with the addition of ground source heat pumps, under floor heating, more and modern toilets, kitchen and bar area and state of the art lighting and concert standard sound systems. The new venue includes a stage and dressing rooms. It will seat over 300 people on comfortable seats in the main area and even more in the wooden galleries if necessary.

St Mary’s is still a working Parish Church but at the touch of a few buttons and with the help of screens and chairs it quickly converts into a great arts venue for concerts, dances, exhibitions and much more. The vicar call it his “sacred space, shared space” and wants to see it used as much as possible. A separate charitable company, St Mary’s Arts Trust, will be running the venue and promoting its own Revelation St Mary’s series of concerts with a strong folk influence.

For more info see: Revelation St Mary's

Stanley Halls, London

Norwood Junction is in South London, just shy of Croydon, Surrey. It is here you will find the new kid on the block in regards to venues – Stanley Halls.

“Acoustic Sessions at Stanley Halls” have been running occasional folk evenings at Stanley Halls located in South East London’s South Norwood for a couple of years.

The intention has been to present a full concert by an artist rather than replicate the folk club style of evening, so there will usually be an evening of two halves by the featured artist with music commencing at 8pm. For some evenings however there will be a support artist and main show.

Stanley Halls is a fascinating and beautiful Edwardian venue, built as a venue for theatre and performance for the benefit of local residents by a local industrialist, William Stanley whose ambitions for the building were influenced by the Victorian ideal that music could lead to cultural enlightenment and reaffirm moral standards. In the century since it’s opening, the Halls have seen use as a venue for concerts ranging from opera and music hall to punk rock – Captain Sensible went to school here!

In a bygone age, the canal used to flow through South Norwood where the railway-line now runs: Hence pub names like The Jolly Sailor and The Ship. Brian Doran from shanty-folk band The Salts grew up in Norwood, and the canal may be an answer as to how nautical songs got into the DNA of a band from landlocked Surrey.

The Halls have a fully licensed bar, stocking ales from local craft breweries. The venue is easily accessible by public transport, being just a short walk from Norwood Junction railway station which has fast links to London Bridge, Victoria, East Croydon and the London Overground network. There are also a number of bus routes that run directly outside the Halls.

Colin Doran

See their website here

The Sage, Gateshead

The Sage Gateshead's mission is to entertain, involve and inspire each and every person they meet through engagement with outstanding music and creative events.

For more info see: The Sage

The Steeple Sessions, Dublin

The Steeple Sessions is Dublin’s latest must see cultural experience. The new bi-weekly series of traditional Irish music concerts held in the wonderful acoustic setting of the candlelit Unitarian Church, St. Stephen’s Green from May to September. Every Tuesday and Thursday features a different line up of Ireland’s top traditional musicians; pin-drop unaccompanied sean nós singers, uilleann pipers, harpists, fiddlers, etc in solo and duet settings. Concerts are children friendly and alcohol free and visitors find them a welcome change from tourist shows that display the same performance every night.

For more info see: The Steeple Sessions

The Sunart Centre, Strontian

Set in the heart of the Gaidhealtachd, community interest in and ownership of the centre is embodied by Àrainn Shuaineirt, a constituted community organisation with membership open to everyone living in the area. The centre is managed by the Àrainn Shuaineirt Management Committee, with representation from each of the five Community Council areas within the school catchment area. This committee advises The Highland Council on how it would like the centre run, and also develops initiatives of its own based on the centre’s activities.

For more info see: Sunart Centre

The Swallow Theatre, Whithorn

The Swallow Theatre is a restored and converted byre at Moss Park, Ravenstone, about three miles from Whithorn. Seating just forty-eight people, it is one of the smallest theatres in the country.

The Swallow Theatre aims to provide a wide range of events: drama (including productions by local actors and visiting professional groups), music (classical, folk and jazz), poetry and play readings, and ‘theme nights’.

For more info see: The Swallow Theatre