As one of Manchester’s oldest and most treasured music venues, Band on the Wall is a musical gem of the north.

Manchester is hailed nationally and internationally as a flagship city for British music, home to legendary bands such as Oasis, The Stone Roses and The Smiths. The city’s music venues have garnered a world-famous reputation, with the now-closed nightclub Hacienda taking its place in live music’s hall of fame. Also on this list is Band on the Wall, a not-for-profit venue in the city’s Northern Quarter which has been a central part of Manchester’s music scene since the 1930s.

It’s all in the name

Taking its name from its early years, when the landlord set up a raised stage on the back wall for bands to play on, Band on the Wall has maintained its reputation for intimate and unforgettable live performances by some of music’s biggest names. In the mini-documentary film at the top of this page, get an introduction to the venue’s history, from its reconfiguration as a music venue in 1975 to its closure for renovation in 2005, along with some of the great acts that have performed there over the years.

An eclectic programme

Re-opening in 2012 following renovation works, the venue now hosts an eclectic range of live performance covering diverse music genres. From jazz to indie, soul to electronic music, the breadth of Band on the Wall’s programme is an integral part of its wide appeal. Learn more about the recent gigs and events at the venue in the video below.

Band on the Wall has long been a vital promoter of underground music genres, as epitomised by recent project Summit, an initiative set up in late 2016 to provide a showcase for Manchester’s thriving live bass community. Spread across different nights, Summit offered a mixture of emerging artists and household names who are making bass music today. In the video below, rapper MC D.R.S. performs with live band 8 Gold Rings and special guests.

Along with promoting local talent, Band on the Wall has its finger firmly on the pulse of musical developments across the world. In recent years the venue embarked upon a new project, We Face Forward, which presented a series of films about African music concerts. In the video below, watch one of these films featuring Gambian musician Jaliba Kuyateh, known to his fans around the world as “King of Kora”.

From Manchester to the world

Band on the Wall’s reach to its fans and audiences extends far beyond its walls. Last year saw it team up with Root Music, a company specialising in music projects and events, to create Music Net Tours. This comprised of a series of performances, projects and collaborations put on at small venues in areas across the UK that have low levels of arts engagement. Find out more about Music Net Tours via the link below.

Widening its scope even further, Band on the Wall has set up an online platform, Band on the Wall TV, which offers training and entertainment to viewers around the world. This channel has numerous functions, one of which is to introduce international acts to audiences in the UK and abroad. The video above features jazz singer Charenée Wade discussing her music along with the figures and records that have influenced her over the years, ahead of her show at the venue.

Band on the Wall also uses its channel to shares its wealth of knowledge and experience through a selection of video workshops. The lessons on offer range from guitar techniques to the tech set-ups used in live performances of electronic music. Above, Steve Pretty from Hackney Colliery Band talks about the trumpet and its place in his band.

Through a dynamic programme and vibrant online presence, Band on the Wall has established itself as one of the UK’s most exciting and influential music venues. While maintaining it roots firmly in Manchester, the organisation has become a truly international force that offers a window onto music from around the world.

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