London has long been regarded as England’s cultural centre, welcoming the best names in the arts business throughout its long history; our nation’s capital proves its diversity in the eclectic mix of acts that find a home amongst the fans of London and its various great gig venues. From the traditional arenas where tickets are bought months in advance to the more unusual venues of the London Eye and the Royal Parks, the city is far from ordinary as far as its musical entertainment goes.
Gigs in the capital have always been a testament to the diverse culture of the city itself, with gig-goers ranging from screaming teenagers and young pop enthusiasts to classic rockers and students taking a break from their exam study in London. Regardless of the audience, London’s gig history presents a record of the city itself and its people in a way that its changing politics and leaders never could. Here is GSM London’s list of the most iconic London Venues and Gigs.
1. London Eye
As a part of the Revolutions in Sound project, Red Bull has overseen the London Eye being taken over and transformed into the most unique music venue in the city. Back in October 2011, London saw the attraction turned into the world’s first music festival in the sky, with organisers putting on a show dedicated to the UK’s club culture in which the 30 capsules of the London Eye were transformed into separate gig venues with DJs, producers and bands from all over the world contributing their individual mixes to each.
The 14th November 2013 signalled the event’s return and its aim of setting the record for the most simultaneous live streams from a single event, with 30 individual streams from the 30 stages of the London Eye broadcast on channel4.com and Red Bull’s YouTube channel. More than 80 artists came together in an even bigger celebration of club culture with a silent disco at the foot of the London Eye with a view towards create similar feats of musical ingenuity in the future. Find out more via their Twitter hashtag #RevsInSound.
Image Credit: Tom Soper Photography (flickr.com)
2. Wembley Arena
Back to more traditional music venues than the London Eye, Wembley Arena is one of the most well known in the country; hosting the likes of The Beatles, David Bowie and Dusty Springfield, to name just a few, it is surely every events management degree student’s dream to work on the staging of Wembley performances.
The venue, constantly adding to its impressive history, still regularly plays host to some of the biggest names in the business. Having opened in 1934, its longstanding reputation has meant that the world’s most respected music artists have longed to perform here. With seating for 12,500 people, it stands as the second largest indoor venue after the O2 Arena, which is double its size.
3. O2 Arena London
Double the size of Wembley Arena, London’s O2 can fit 18,000 double-decker buses within it. As the second largest such location in the whole of the UK after Manchester Arena, it has quickly gained a reputation for being of one of the world’s busiest.
Whilst considerably younger than Wembley, having only opened in 2007, the O2 Arena London has had its fair share of legendary musical performers already grace its stage. From Aerosmith and Guns N’ Roses to Beyoncé and Britney Spears, the list goes on.
In addition to the many celebrated artists that have performed at the O2, it has also been the setting for some of Britain’s most prestigious sporting events. In 2012 in hosted the Summer Olympics’ artistic gymnastics events and basketball, as well as acting as the venue for a number of other high profile sports showcases including NBA, tennis, boxing and two NHL Ice hockey matches.
2. Hyde Park
From the indoors to outdoor music venues, London’s Hyde Park has been the setting for a number of historic live concerts. Elvis Costello, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and Tom Jones have all played at the Royal Park, and prominent artists such as Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Madonna have also all performed here in recent years.
Hyde Park has been the site of a number of music festivals, as well, including Party in the Park, which has taken place here since 1998, and Wireless Festival since 2005.
These are just a small selection of London’s most prestigious and quirky gig venues, and some of the high profile acts that have performed in the city. If you can think of bigger and more unusual places, why not post them to the GSM London Facebook page? Or, if you are in a band and playing a gig soon, let GSM London know on Twitter.
This content was written by Rachel Smith. Please feel free to visit my Google+ Profile to read more stories.
Image Credit: ImAprilE (flickr.com)