With some of Britain’s most influential musicians emerging from the city over the last four decades, including the likes of Tricky, Portishead and Massive Attack, it’s safe to say that Bristol has a vibrant arts and music scene.
So, if you’re a music lover keen to explore exactly what Bristol has to offer right now, you’re in the right place.
Top Bristol Music Venues
Whether you want to enjoy live music in an unexpected place or within a grand concert hall environment, Bristol has a music venue for you. St George’s Bristol and Bristol Beacon are both impressive concert hall spaces that have hosted some of the world’s biggest stars, including Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, and Elton John.
If you’re looking for slightly more unusual spaces, Propyard, which can be found in the heart of St Phillips close to Temple Meads station, consists of two indoor hangers and is the place to be for great music and incredible food.
Another must-visit unusual music venue is Trinity Centre, which is nestled inside a Grade II listed building that has welcomed the likes of U2, the Prodigy, Gorillaz, Orbital and Public Enemy over the last 40 years. And if you want to soak in the sounds whilst on the water, The Grain Barge and Thekla allow you to do exactly that.
Bristol’s Best Nightclubs and Late Night Venues
It’s no secret that Bristol has a huge late night party scene and is home to some of the most renowned nightclubs in the UK. Did you know that the city’s Motion nightclub consistently occupies one of the top positions in DJ Mag’s Top 100 Clubs in the World list? This year, it was up one position to number 19!
For techno,dubstep and jungle lovers, the four-room Basement 45 is a must-visit. Its Georgian townhouse cellar location provides an incredible atmosphere, and it has been welcoming some seriously impressive names since it opened in 1961.
Located in Stokes Croft, Lakota is another four-room club with a rich history, having first opened its doors some 30 years ago. Powered by a top quality sound system and an unforgettable lighting setup, Lakota has welcomed everyone from Stormzy to Pete Tong over the years.
Bristol Music Festivals
Love Saves The Day is the biggest music festival in Bristol and delivers a full May bank holiday weekend of music with lineups that include both local acts and national names. Another bank holiday weekend option is Dot To Dot Festival, which has built a reputation for celebrating the talents of some of the best emerging artists.
In 2024, Simple Things Festival is primed to return for its 10th event and will host a selection of art, technology and music events across numerous venues around the city. For festival lovers who don’t mind travelling just outside of Bristol city centre, Valley Fest showcases the best of Bristol’s live music scene and incredible local food producers in a picturesque location beside Chew Valley Lake in the stunning Mendip hills.
Other Must-Visit Bristol Music Venues
With so much to offer music lovers regardless of your favourite genres, there really are too many venues to list here. But let’s end by taking a quick look at just a few more.
The exterior of The Canteen in Stokes Croft is somewhat unassuming, though Banksy’s incredible Mild Mild West artwork does sit above the venue’s outdoor space, which is definitely something to shout about. But the real magic happens inside, as the venue hosts an array of touring musicians and local acts every single week, which are free to attend. A donation bucket is passed around at every show, which contributes to the very real community atmosphere that just can’t be found anywhere else.
Named after Duke Ellington, The Old Duke on King Street is renowned for its nightly live jazz music events and its unpretentious decor, complete with charming creaky stage. The Old Duke also hosts a popular open mic night every week, as well as Jazz Fest, which takes place on the August bank holiday weekend each year.
The Louisiana is located in a former hotel close to Wapping Wharf and hosts an array of musical acts in its intimate rooms and sprawling cellar. Countless folk and indie acts have played here over the years, including Kings of Leon, Coldplay, and Muse.