Words: Owen Parry, Talent Development Producer @Multi-Track & Matt Aitken, Music Programmer, Colston Hall

Colston Hall has played host to countless icons in its 152-year history. Our stage has charted the story of popular music from Ella Fitzgerald to The Rolling Stones; Kate Bush to The XX.

But, with grassroots music venues increasingly under threat, there is understandably a growing anxiety about the development of future music talent in the UK.

We recognise that the future health of our main stage depends on the health of current smaller stages and we are using the opportunity of our two-year redevelopment to be proactive and help develop the next generation of talent. While our own performance spaces are out of action, we’re programming in venues across Bristol through our Colston Hall Presents programme.

By building our network of artists, agents, managers and venues, we have been able to take a diverse programme on the road across the city. We see ourselves as part of a music ecosystem and are really proud to be able to work with grassroots venues to book acts into their spaces and bring audiences and artists to new venues around Bristol.

What’s more, with funding from the PRS Foundation we are also booking local acts in support and headline slots. Bristol acts like Eva Lazarus, Javeon, Scalping, Jesuits, Ålesund, Tamu Massif, as well as more established artists like This Is The Kit and Francois and the Atlas Mountains have all been booked through our Colston Hall Presents programme.

But the work goes deeper. Through our bespoke talent development programme Multi-Track, we ensure that Bristol underground artists are given the support they need to break through. In our first year we supported three artists – Splitz P, Charece and Solomon O.B – with one-to-one mentoring, studio time, performance opportunities, and masterclasses in marketing and PR. This year, we’re supporting five artists and our aim is to work closely with them to access the tools and knowledge they need to push for creative and commercial success and keep our culture alive.

Now, to celebrate the grassroots scene in Bristol and showcase the talent bubbling up in a city that has seen fantastic success for home-grown acts like IDLES and Yola in recent times, we’re pleased to be working with Bristol in Stereo and a host of partners on the Bristol Takeover – a free one-day mini-festival this month at Colston Hall.

The Bristol Takeover 2019 takes place on April 27th from 4pm to 1am. Line-up details via: colstonhall.org / @Colston_hall

See Solomon O.B. perform ‘LVLution’ live in session here: