Bristol Beacon’s reopening event last week saw 13,000 people in attendance throughout the 15-hour event, in addition to more than 1,000 performers across six stages.
The venue (formerly known as Colston Hall) reopened on 30 November following a five-year transformation. The venue’s new spaces include the 2,000-capacity Beacon Hall, the 500-capacity Lantern Hall and the new 200-capacity Weston Cellar.
The venue, owned by Bristol City Council and operated by Bristol Music Trust, has received the second largest investment in the arts in England by Arts Council England this century.
The main reopening event, ‘The Housewarming’, saw performances by orchestras, choirs, DJs, poets, musicians and dancers. It followed the opening night with Trip The Light Fantastic, a multi-sensory show which showcased the acoustics and technical capabilities of the new Beacon Hall.
The £132 million redevelopment has seen experts come together from fields including sustainability, acoustics and accessibility. Hope Solutions has advised on how to achieve the venue’s net zero target by 2030 and Sound Space Vision has steered the acoustic re-design, led by acoustician Bob Essert.
Bristol Beacon chief executive Louise Mitchell said, “Our goal was to create a place for everyone and for all kinds of music. After such a long refurbishment, we knew we wanted to showcase every corner of this amazing space for free as a way to welcome the city back and say thank you. It’s incredible to have people back in the building, sharing experiences and celebrating Bristol’s incredible music talent.”
Following on from the opening night when Bristol’s Paraorchestra, Surgeons Girl and Limbic Cinema performed Trip The Light Fantastic, and concluding on 3 December with Penguin Cafe, it took the total number of people who have attended Bristol Beacon during its opening weekend to just under 20,000 in four days.
The venue’s December lineup includes acts including Billy Bragg, Ocean Colour Scene, Jools Holland, Joss Stone, Sophie Ellis Bextor and The Darkness, before the venue launches into its full concert programme in the new year.
Photography by Soul Media