Music & Nightlife

Birmingham’s lively music scene has something for everyone, and as the UK’s second city you can see something different every night.

When the sun goes down, Birmingham doesn’t sleep. From worldwide superstars at the NEC and Resorts World Arena to indie nights at The Sunflower Lounge, and from classical performances at the Symphony Hall through to Northern soul and Motown classics at the Night Owl, whatever your tastes there is something here to suit you.

Comedy, poetry, spoken word events, quizzes, live music, festivals and concerts, jazz, folk, pop, classical – our city is vibrant and diverse and whatever it is that you like to do, you will find something that suits you and your lifestyle in Birmingham.

Live music and gigs

My favourite part of the city is the choice of great music venues! There is always a great gig on in town! - Sophie, from Birmingham, 2nd year American and Canadian Studies with a Year Abroad

NEC – One of the country's largest and most well-known venues, you’ll find some of the world’s most popular stars here as the NEC is often a popular spot on national and global tours.

Sunflower Lounge – The Sunflower Lounge has showcased some of the best underground and local talent in the basement bar since 2002. 

Glee Club - One of the UK's premier comedy clubs, you can also check out the Glee Club for a range of sounds from indie and pop, to jazz, electronica and blues. 

The Jam House – In the Jewellery Quarter, discover The Jam House. Combining live music with good food, inspired by Jools Holland and designer Neil Tibbatt, The Jam House is a large venue and hosts a variety of artists.

O2 Academy Birmingham - Born in 2000 and moving to its current venue in 2009, the O2 Academy Birmingham hosts big name acts every night of the week as well of some of the city's most student-friendly club nights.

O2 Institute Birmingham - Originally built as a chapel at the turn of the 1900's, this impressive-looking gig venue now plays host to the world's best artists including recent visits from acts as diverse as Kamasi Washington, JP Cooper, Hot Chip, The Psychedelic Furs and Fontaines D.C.

Hare & Hounds - This might look like a regular pub from the outside, but when they host live music the pub transforms into one of the city’s most popular venues. 

You’ll also find plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants which host live bands and artists throughout the week, in intimate gigs.

Festivals

In the summer there’s nothing better than relaxing with your friends and listening to amazing music in the sun, or exploring art, design, science or whatever it is that makes you tick. Birmingham is home to a variety of festivals for all seasons, and here are just our top picks of the main events on offer to you across our city each year:

MADE Birmingham – a UK dance and urban music festival held each summer in the city, showcasing an energetic line-up of house, D&B, grime and garage.

Birmingham Weekender - Birmingham’s largest arts festival, Birmingham Weekender features a programme of free events from hundreds of world-class local and international artists and companies including new commissions, world premieres, roaming and pop-up street theatre, participative events and workshops, and much more.

Foodies Festival - The UK’s biggest food festival heads to Birmingham with a mouth-watering summer line-up including live music, workshops, masterclasses and of course top chefs – all within walking distance of campus at Cannon Hill Park.

Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, and Moseley Folk & Arts Festival - These family-friendly festivals held in Moseley Park do what they say on the tin, focusing on an eclectic mix of international legends and breakthrough artists in their relevant music genres. All held in a stunning 11-acre woodland glade in the heart of Moseley Village.

University of Birmingham Arts & Science Festival - Our very own Arts and Science Festival is a celebration of research, culture and collaboration across campus and beyond, made up of talks, exhibitions, performances, workshops and screenings.

Birmingham Pride – the UK’s biggest two-day LGBTQ+ Pride festival, featuring a dance stage, main stage and cabaret stage and a wide variety of venues across the city centre. Usually held over the spring bank holiday weekend.

Flatpack Festival - Popping up across Birmingham, this week-long festival features fantastic films, live performances, installations and parties showcasing extraordinary talents from across the UK and around the world.

Birmingham Design Festival – A celebration of the local, national and international design industry, held over three days in June including free talks delivered by designers from across the globe, as well as screenings, workshops and tutorials allowing you to immerse yourself in the world of design.

Birmingham Coffee Festival - This festival brings together top independent coffee shops and coffee culture experiences from the local area and beyond. From finding your new favourite blend to picking your next machine supplier... they have it all.

Digbeth Dining Club - A critically-acclaimed street food venue with events every Thursday-Sunday in the creative Digbeth district, DDC is an experience not to be missed during your time at Birmingham. Featuring live music and entertainment alongside some of the UK’s best street food vendors.

Frankfurt Christmas Market – Birmingham hosts a famous annual Christmas market, with delicious hot chocolate, tasty bratwursts and a range of great stalls where you can pick up some Christmas decorations to get you in the festive spirit.