Southbank named UK’s 'leading music venue'

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London arts complex tops PRS for Music concert hall research

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In what must be the easiest-to-predict news of the year, PRS for Music has named London’s Southbank Centre as the ‘leading music venue in the UK’ in 2011.

It is the second year running that the Southbank has won the accolade and, given the criteria used by PRS for Music, will probably be followed by similar successes for many years to come.

To compile its list of leading venues, PRS for Music – the body responsible for managing live music licensing – simply counts the numbers of concerts put on by each one over the 12 months. Given that the Southbank Centre consists of not one but four major performing spaces – the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery – it understandably outdoes those venues with just the solitary auditorium to count on.

Also featured in the Top 10 is The Sage Gateshead, Ronnie Scott’s in London and the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. However, no mention is made in the PRS for Music press release of overall audience numbers, percentage of seats filled or, surprisingly, numbers of new works performed.

That said, the Southbank’s artistic director Jude Kelly has rightly reacted with delight to the announcement. ‘What a marvellous accolade to win this prestigious award for the second year!’ she says in a statement that she will now be able file away and, with a little editing, re-use again next year. ‘We are excited by the chance to present all forms of music across our entire  21-acre site and to work with the world’s great and emerging musicians. It’s a tremendous and exciting challenge - so thanks for this vote of confidence in what we're doing.’

More mystifyingly, we are told by PRS for Music that their research has also revealed that ‘Other top concert locations were: Glasgow (8), Manchester (5); Birmingham (4); and Bristol (3).’ One trusts that the numbers in brackets are not total numbers of concerts per city.

The full list of leading venues has yet to be published on the PRS for Music website.

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Jeremy Pound

Jeremy Pound

Jeremy Pound is deputy editor of BBC Music Magazine

Jeremy Pound