Thousands of music fans, including NHS and hospitality workers from across the UK, are this week set to celebrate the opening of the first new major music venue and club in central Birmingham for over a decade.
Forum Birmingham, a 3,500 capacity newly upgraded complex featuring a state of the art custom made sound system located on the site of the city’s legendary Hummbingbird, Top Rank and Carling Academy venues, opens its doors for a much anticipated first night on Friday 3 September with hometown hero Mike Skinner (The Streets), electronic music pioneer A Guy Called Gerald and Belgian producer-DJ Netsky.
The opening night will also see performances and DJ sets from a host of Birmingham and UK talent including Theo Kottis, Erol Alkan, Yung Singh, Shosh (24 Hour Garage Girls), Hammer, Barely Legal and Oneman.
The venue’s Autumn/Winter programme features a dazzling line-up of globally-renowned artists and DJs including Andy C, Bicep, David Rodigan, Floating Points, Honey Dijon, Kerri Chandler, and Skream.
The family business behind the independent and community-centred venue have offered 1,000 NHS and key workers free entry and drink provided by Coors at the event to show appreciation for their service during the pandemic, as well as inviting colleagues from across the night-time economy – which was effectively closed for 18 months as a result of the global pandemic.
After the worst trading period in history for the UK’s live music sector, which saw a number of grassroots venues and suppliers lose staff or close down their businesses, news of Forum Birmingham’s arrival has been welcomed by music fans and industry professionals alike as a marker of confidence in the city’s renaissance post-Covid.
Billy Chauhan, of Global Venues who now manage Forum Birmingham, said, “Following an extremely challenging year and a half, and after a number of false starts for the UK’s live music sector and hospitality industry, we’re so thrilled to finally be opening the doors of Forum Birmingham to music fans from around the country as well as industry.
“Birmingham is a vibrant music city, with an incredibly rich heritage and an influential future. As we all adjust to life after Covid, the whole team here looks forward to playing its part in welcoming major events and contributing to the valuable regional and national music tourism and night-time economies through our programming.”
The renovation of the Forum Birmingham building, which in previous incarnations hosted performances by global superstars throughout the 1970s through to the 2000s including Bob Marley and The Wailers, The Ramones, The Clash, Nirvana, and Amy Winehouse, included restoration of the original woven wooden sprung dance floor, stripped back and newly polished concrete floors, a steel mezzanine, and the installation of a highly-regarded d&b audiotechnik line array sound system.
As well as the main stage room, the venue also features Space 54, a second room with its own high spec light and sound offering. Cutting edge visuals throughout the venue have been provided by DMX Productions – the team behind stages at Glastonbury and Global Gathering amongst others – including high resolution LED screens, special FX and immersive lighting.
Speaking ahead of the launch, Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said, “The club scene is a huge part of British culture and heritage spanning decades. We need to preserve it so that future generations can share the experience and pursue careers and opportunities within this sector for years to come. At the moment our clubs are fighting to survive during the pandemic, so it’s really inspirational that Forum Birmingham will reopen, saving a cultural institution in the city and giving the local industry a much-needed shot of confidence.”
A limited number of general release £15 tickets for the launch of Forum Birmingham, featuring Mike Skinner, A Guy Called Gerald, Netsky, Theo Kottis, Erol Alkan, Yung Singh, Shosh (24 Hour Garage Girls), Hammer, Barely Legal and Oneman, are on sale now from www.forumbirmingham.uk/launchparty