Band on the Wall is occupied and managed by the not-for profit organisation Inner City Music Ltd and is located to the north of Manchester City Centre on the edge of the cultural Northern Quarter centre.
Originally The George and Dragon pub, Band on the Wall has been a cornerstone of Manchester’s thriving music and cultural landscape for nearly two centuries providing a showcase venue for some of the best music in the world. The venue has evolved continuously over its lifetime and the driver for the recent transformation of the venue was to create a collaborative hub for young people, the local community and Manchester’s creatives, and to celebrate the cultural diversity of Greater Manchester.
In order to achieve the desired expansion, the existing venue has been extended into the neighbouring derelict ‘Cocozza Wood’ building. The utilisation of this building has increased capacity from 340 to 520 while enabling the retention of its significant High Victorian Gothic facade which once faced onto Manchester’s Smithfield Market. There is now an entire floor dedicated to Band on the Wall’s innovative learning programme, World of Music. The new bar also has a new stage for smaller capacity performances of up to 80 people. The bar is now open during the day to serve as a community space.
Despite the challenges posed by three separate 19th century buildings and countless changes in floor level, unassisted level access and circulation has been achieved in public and private artist and education spaces whilst honouring the character of the three historic building plots. Externally, the incorporation of large format digital screens act as a visual canvas, with artist designed content, signpost the change within and showcase the history and inner day to day workings of the venue.