Venue Spotlight: Band On The Wall, Manchester

This week, we find out more about Band On The Wall in Manchester.

We spoke to Marketing and Communications Officer, Liam Cook, who talks to us about the history of the venue, Joy Division, and Mancunian solidarity.

See full listings for Band On The Wall in Manchester here.

(Photo: John-Paul Brown)

Vital stats

  • Band On The Wall, 25 Swan Street, Manchester, M4 5JZ
  • Established: Originally in the 1860s
  • Capacity: 340 (450 for club nights)

Tell us a little about the venue and your role there.

Band On The Wall is located in Manchester's Northern Quarter district. For live shows, we hold 340 people and for club nights we hold 450. My role is Marketing and Communications Officer.

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

The venue's history is vast. But in recent history, the venue closed in 2005 and went under massive renovation before re-opening in 2009. The venue has never changed location, but we are currently planning to expand the venue into the derelict 'Cocozza Wood' building that sits behind Band on the Wall. We are in the midst of fundraising for this project as we speak. More info at

Bonobo at Band On The Wall (Photo: William Ellis).

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

In terms of live music, we host anywhere between 3-7 events a week, but we also run educational workshops and events during most days!

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

That would have to be Joy Division, having played the venue numerous times between 1978-79.

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

We have had a lot of incredible artists play at Band on the Wall that deserve more recognition, to name a few, I would say Terrace Martin, Belgian band Stuff, and Ryley Walker.

Do you host events besides gigs and club nights?

Besides gigs, we host education events and workshops, film screenings, cabaret nights, private events such as weddings and more.

(Photo: John-Paul Brown)

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

Tough question, but probably one of the most obvious things - ticket touting.

Has your venue ever been threatened with closure? If so, what could have been done to prevent it/support you?

Since re-opening in 2009, we are lucky to not have been threatened with closure, although we sympathise with other Manchester venues that have been endangered in recent years such as Night & Day Café and Sound Control. We have great support from Manchester City Council, Arts Council England and fellow music venues in Manchester, and we strive to support them in any way we can. A perfect example of that is how Manchester venues/promoters have pulled together in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack to show solidarity.

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

My proudest moment so far would have to be when we promoted a UK tour with US-jazz/funk outfit Snarky Puppy in May of this year, watching them perform their unique music at the O2 Apollo, Manchester was incredible, considering they were playing our venue only two years earlier.

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

Fantastic Negrito on Monday 31st July. Super cool American blues musician whose story is incredible, having suffered a near-fatal car crash in 1999 and having given up on music in 2007, before returning in 2014 with a new album that went on to win a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

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

The name Band on the Wall comes from when the venue was known as the George & Dragon Pub and had an elevated stage on the back wall of the venue, that the band would play on, whilst punters enjoyed the music beneath (see photo above).

Track Band On The Wall here to keep up to date with all forthcoming events. You can also catch them on their official website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram accounts.