As the city that gave the world The Beatles, Liverpool is renowned for its musical influences. A UNESCO City of Music, it's packed full of exciting venues that have welcomed well-known artists and emerging stars alike. From the intimate surroundings of the renowned Cavern Club to former coffee bars and vast performance spaces, here we explore Liverpool’s music scene and tune into the city’s rich history.
To start, we rock, pop, punk and rave our way through 70 years of Britain’s popular music history at the British Music Experience. Featuring a mix of images, video and music memorabilia from days gone by, the exhibitions offer a glimpse of everything from John Lennon’s iconic glasses to the Spice Girls’ Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress. Covering the nation’s thriving jazz scene in the post war years through to the rise of the Beatles, David Bowie, Blur, Pulp and the X-Factor, Britain’s musical heritage takes centre stage.
Situated on the banks of the River Mersey, this arena and its smaller sister venue EchoTwo are key music venues based in Liverpool's former docks. The M&S Bank Arena hosts major rock and pop bands, classical music, musicals, comedy and even sporting events. Opened in 2008 to coincide with the city being named European Capital of Culture, the arena has since welcomed stars including Beyoncé, Oasis, Nile Rodgers and CHIC, Lady Gaga and George Michael, alongside many, many more.
An art-deco, Grade II-listed building, the Philharmonic offers a year-round programme that features everything from pop to comedy. Predominantly though, this is a classical venue, specialising in performances from its own orchestra, the longest surviving in Britain, dating back to 1840. The orchestra has collaborated with a range of international artists from the world of rock and pop in recent times, including Elvis Costello, Ian Broudie and the Lightning Seeds, and Liverpool’s very own Sir Paul McCartney.
The birthplace of Britain’s most iconic band, The Beatles, the Cavern Club is the cradle of British pop music. Since opening its doors in a warehouse cellar in January 1957, the club has seen a host of up-and-coming bands take to the stage. Its legendary status was cemented during the 60s with the arrival of The Beatles and to this day the club continues to celebrate the past, present and future of music. Alongside performances from a band recreating the look and sound of the iconic group, a range of other live acts have appeared at the intimate venue, including pop sensation Adele. To marks its close ties with The Beatles, the club gifted a statue of the Fab Four to the city in 2015, which now has pride of place on the waterfront outside the Cunard Building.
This is one of Liverpool’s coolest music venues. LEAF is a "punk" tea room that morphs from being a place to breakfast on organic porridge, into a fully-licensed bar and gig venue at night. Although the focus is on tea and delectable food, LEAF also welcomes local artists, touring bands and DJs to perform, providing a platform for those looking to take the city by storm.
Renowned as being the first club to host The Beatles in 1960, The Jacaranda Club originally opened as a coffee bar before it was thrown into the musical spotlight. Steeped in musical heritage, the live music venue hosts indie and rock ‘n’ roll performers on a regular basis, as well as open mic nights to uncover unsigned musical talent. Its second venue launched in 2018, Jacaranda Phase One, a vinyl record store and performance space that has become a hotspot on the Liverpool music scene.
Known for giving opportunities to new and undiscovered talent, The Zanzibar Club on Seel Street is no stranger to well-known acts either. Liverpudlian artists The Zutons, The Coral and Miles Kane have all played in the intimate space, where you’ll often catch a glimpse of rock and alternative acts.