Independent Venue Week: Top 11 Music Venues To Visit Post-lockdown

28 Jan 2021

This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.

The live music industry has been severely affected by the pandemic, previously making up 22% of the music industry’s economic value (2019). It is, therefore, more important than ever to champion and support local music venues this week and beyond, while ACM marks Independent Venue Week. We aim to shine a light on just a few independent venues across our three campuses in Guildford, London and Birmingham which have become part of the cultural bedrock for the ACM community.

By championing these venues, we are able to highlight why they are so much more than just places for live music – they are cultural hubs for learning, creativity, arts and culture more widely connecting people in their local community of all ages, backgrounds, abilities, genders, skills and walks of life.

Independent Venue Week

1. The Boileroom – Guildford

With a long-lasting relationship with The Boileroom, ACM bands and artists have regularly performed at this established music venue. First founded in 2006, the team at The Boileroom continue to be “committed to bringing some of the most diverse and talented artists across all genres of contemporary music.” ACM has hosted a range of gigs at The Boileroom over the years, including ACM’s Soul Workshop with Tutor Brian Henry, to the Metropolis Blue Launch Party back in 2019! The Boileroom’s Director, Dom Fraser, caught up with BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat about her experiences during the pandemic, explaining We’re all still in the venues, still fighting for our survival and we will be here when all of this is over”. Learn more in a recent BBC article.

2. The Asylum 2 – Birmingham

“Designed and built by musicians, with musicians in mind”, The Asylum 2 is one of Birmingham’s finest live music venues. ACM has regularly put on rock gigs at this independent venue, whilst utilising Asylum’s fantastic Uprawr Studio rooms as an extension to our facilities (in close proximity to campus). The venue also has its own merchandise and very own mental health charity called Uprawr Mental Health Foundation.

3. Venn Street Records – Clapham

“The Home of live music, cocktails and good times in Clapham”, Venn Street Records remains a social space for students to hang out and perform. Notable events include Freshers parties, featuring stellar DJ sets and an eclectic mix of hip-hop, RnB and Soul artists from our talented ACM community. Venn Street Records also ran weekly open mic nights and offered discounts to our student base. Learn more about Venn Street Records in Clapham!

4. The Star Inn – Guildford

Lauded as Guildford’s longest-running live music venue, The Star Inn combines a welcoming pub atmosphere with regular live music events from our talented ACM students and alumni. ACM bands and artists who have performed at The Star Inn over the year include Electric Lady, The White Lakes, Ryan Harman, Whitelands, Beth Manners, Angel Blue, Blackwaters and more! Learn more about The Star Inn.

5. The Actress & Bishop – Birmingham

The Actress and Bishop is a vibrant, independent live music venue and late-night bar, situated in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. ACM has hosted an array of events at this stand-out venue including anything from degree assessments to bustling networking evenings. Learn more about The Actress & Bishop!

6. Revolution Bar – Clapham

Revolution Bar, on Clapham High Street, has hosted a range of events with ACM students over the years. From DJ Takeover sessions in the upstairs part of the venue to Open Mic Nights and networking events, Revolution has become a popular independent venue destination to the ACM community. Learn more about Revolution Bar and what they have to offer.

7. Holroyd Arms – Guildford

The Holroyd Arms is a thriving traditional English pub in Guildford, facilitating student-organised gigs over the last few years. These include Live Band Sets from the likes of Backdoor Ramblers, Gatvol, The White Lakes, as well as more intimate acoustic sets from other ACM artists including NaMo, Sasha Lillie and Dave Moore, just to name a few. Learn more about Holroyd Arms!

8. Mama Roux’s – Birmingham

Known as Birmingham’s most creative music venue, Mama Roux’s intimate music establishment is home to an eclectic range of music from “electronic… to grime”. ACM is proud to have worked closely with Birmingham Music Awards, who have hosted many networking events at Mama Roux’s, utilising the venue’s incredible 300 capacity and “L’acoustics Arc Sound system”. ACM students have regularly performed at these events, whilst being offered work experience.

9. The Yard – Clapham

“The Yard is a vibrant and electric bar boasting Clapham’s best kept sun-trapped secret garden”. ACM students have been offered regular discounts at The Yard, remaining a fantastic social hub for the community to meet and play live music. Last year, ACM students including The Green Brothers, Joe Carabine, Tube Strike and Sugoi Ne all performed at the lively bar and we look forward to hosting more gigs at The Yard in the future (when it is safe to do so). Discover what The Yard has to offer and show your support.

10. Komo Bar – Guildford

Known for its high-end cocktails, regular live music and fine food, Komo Bar in Guildford has been an exciting venue for student socials and gigs. More recently, ACM Tutor Jack TL Johnson hosted live music events, designed to showcase local talent in Guildford. These featured performances from ACM students and alumni including Ari Tahan, Sophie Celeste, CHINCHILLA, Bethany Davey, Hannah Dorman, HXLMXS and more! Learn more about Komo Bar in Guildford.

11. The Sunflower Lounge – Birmingham

The Sunflower Lounge, “home of authentic soul food and live music”, is in the heart of Birmingham. In recent years, The Sunflower Lounge has facilitated “End of Term” Gigs, showcasing a range of student music, from hip-hop to indie rock, to the wider community. Learn more about The Sunflower Lounge!


Other worthy mentions include The Electric Theatre (Guildford), The Flapper (Birmingham), Castle & Falcon (Birmingham), the historic Hare & Hounds (Birmingham), Old Town Tavern (Clapham) and Casino Nightclub (Guildford), each of which has been invaluable to the ACM community.

Discover what Independent Venue Week Founder, Sybil Bell, had to say about the initiative in a recent interview with Music Week and get involved in a whole host of online #IVW21 events!

Digital Open Days

If you dream of achieving success in the creative industries, join us for our new Digital Open Day Experience. With Open Days over the coming weeks, we can’t wait to welcome you into the ACM community.

ACM Digital Open Day Experience