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Southbank Centre tops UK’s best live venues

PRS for Music has released a list of the UK’s top 100 music venues, and hints that despite festival cancellations, the live music industry may be growing again, writes Erica Basnicki.

Southbank Centre has been named the UK’s top concert venue in a new report released by PRS for Music. During 2011, Southbank Centre, which consists of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery, held 422 musical events – attended by over a million people. “What a marvelous accolade to win this prestigious award for the second year,” said Jude Kelly, artistic director of Southbank Centre. “We are excited by the chance to present all forms of music across our entire 21 acre site and to work with the world’s great and emerging musicians. It’s a tremendous and exciting challenge – so thanks for this vote of confidence in what we’re doing.” PRS for Music’s chief executive, Robert Ashcroft, added: “I am thrilled to see so many cultural centres featured in the analysis, from the newly opened Kings Place in London and The Sage in Gateshead to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. These venues have very diverse and exciting programmes that appeal to many different audiences. It is an enormous accomplishment to run a successful live music space and in spite of economic challenges, the British live music scene is still strong.” Despite the success of live music venues, festivals are continuing to suffer this year with Cloud 9, Golden Down and Rough Beats as the latest festivals to cancel, bringing the total number up to twelve. “Sadly we see festivals being cancelled every year,” said PRS for Music’s Olivia Chapman. “It is a competitive market, they are complex to produce and the Olympics will have a huge knock-on effect this summer, hence Glastonbury taking a ‘year off’.” Notwithstanding the cancellations, things may be looking up for live music. This time last year, PRS for Music’s Adding up the Industry paper reported a drop in live music revenues of 6.7%. This year’s report has yet to be released but the company has told PSNEurope that 2011 was “a positive year” with live music revenues at £22.5million, up 8.2% on 2010.
Photo credit: Morley von Sternberg