Venue Spotlight: The Mothers' Ruin, Bristol

This week, we find out more about The Mothers' Ruin in Bristol.

We spoke to Program Director and legendary spellchecker, Patrick Daly, who tells us all about their 11 year history, some of their favourite acts, and their incredible Free For All Festival - taking place every night this month.

Venue details:

  • The Mothers' Ruin, 7-9 St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1UE
  • Established: 2007
  • Capacity: 100 main room / 40 cellar room

See full listings and get gig alerts for The Mothers' Ruin here >>

Photo: Doctor Awesomesauce.

To start us off, tell us a little bit about yourself and the venue...

The Mothers' Ruin was the vision of Marc Griffiths, who wanted to open up a party bar in Bristol's city centre back in 2007. It soon began to flourish with clubnights and live music, and has become a Bristol staple ever since.

Now, nearly 12 years later, it hosts the Free For All Festival, a month-long free entry event that hosts over 100 bands; Stagfest, a 4-day music spectacular over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, plus numerous gigs and alldayers throughout the year.

Has the venue gone through any major changes since it opened (location, renovation, style of music etc)?

Regarding our stance on booking, we've always tried to push unique music and different styles that weren't always popular, just to see if people enjoyed it.

JOHN at The Mothers' Ruin. Photo: Simon Holliday -

How many gigs or club nights a week do you host?

We have an average of three gigs a week with club nights every Friday and Satuday, ranging from 80s and 90s nights through to new wave, punk and heavy nights.

Which band that's played your venue has gone on to be the best known?

Ed Sheeran, Slaves, Peace, Catfish And The Bottlemen, Idles, Lonely Tourist, Monotonix, Justice Yeldham, De Rosa, David Gedge (The Wedding Present), Dan Le Sac, House Of Brothers.

Which band that played your venue deserved/deserves to be better known than they are?

JOHN, Frauds, Memory Of Elephants, Blind Boy Paxton, Chiyoda Ku, Alpha Male Tea Party, Sugar Horse, Ilenkus.

Sugar Horse in the cellar at The Mothers' Ruin. Photo: Simon Holliday -

Do you host events besides gigs and club nights?

Every Tuesday we host our weekly quiz, where we feed our quiz-goers with free vegan chilli. Our quizmaster is a national treasure!

If you could change one thing about the live music industry, what would it be?

I would make spotify a 50/50 split for every play/stream.

What's been your proudest moment working at your venue?

Too many to mention, really. Having a good team around us and being part of a strong music scene, probably. The Free For All Festival and Stagfest are always hard work to book, so seeing them become a success is great as well.

What's the best show you've put on recently?

We recently celebrated our 11th birthday (Saturday 1st December), where we hosted Frauds and USA Nails (both fantastic bands).

Are there any interesting facts/stories about the venue that people might not know, but should?!

The venue was a jazz bar in the 1920s and had a grand piano upstairs. I have no idea where they would have put a grand piano...

Track ‚ÄčThe Mothers' Ruin here to keep up to date with all forthcoming events. You can also catch them on their official website, Facebook page and Twitter account.