One of Manchester’s most legendary music venues is expanding and will open early next year ‘bigger and better’ than ever before.
Band on the Wall, located down Swan Street, has played a huge part in the growth and establishment of Manchester’s music scene having being famously at the epicentre of the city’s punk scene in the late 1970s.
Though the venue goes back a lot further than that; Band on the Wall started life as The George and Dragon pub in 1803 and fast became a live music favourite, mostly with thanks to its favourable location next to the Shudehill Market, Angel Meadow and Ancoats, where song sheets were printed in the masses.
The venue was eventually christened Band on the Wall in 1937 after its landlord literally fixed a stage to the wall and over the years, numerous bands and musicians have graced the stage, including icons such as The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, The Fall and Arctic Monkeys.
Elbow frontman Guy Garvey once said on the venue:
“Band on the Wall has hosted the greats and encouraged the nations dreamers for eighty years or more and remains one of the cornerstones of our great city’s musical heritage.”
However, as the Covid-19 pandemic gripped the country and national lockdowns ground live music to a standstill, Band on the Wall was faced with ‘the biggest crisis’ in its history and was forced to close, making twenty-six members of staff redundant in September 2020.
Speaking to BBC Breakfast in July 2020, chief executive Gavin Sharp said: “We’ve decided we are going to close at the beginning of August. So just as this is announced we’re going to close down.
“For exactly the reasons, no one’s touring, all the tours for September are cancelled. Running a music venue is not like running any other business, we are absolutely dependant on that supply of artists who are touring.
“And we’re a tour producer, we produce a lot of our own tours, and at the moment we’re not planning anything because the restrictions on travel really stop everything, and the confidence in terms of buying tickets.”
The venue made a brief comeback earlier this year but was forced to close again for renovation works and their expansion to the Cocozza Wood Building. But this week, the news every music fan has been waiting on finally arrived; Band on the Wall will officially be reopening!
And, better yet, the scaffolding that has obstructed the rear of the building for the best part of forty years will finally be coming down tomorrow, November 27th.
Further details surrounding the reopening have been kept tightly under wraps, though a statement from bosses detailed how the venue is to be expanded and the derelict ‘Cocozza’ building fully restored.
Over on the Band on the Wall website, a statement simply reads: “Band on the Wall is temporarily closed while we undertake our long-planned venue expansion and renovation project. We’ll see you again very soon.”