Nottingham’s music scene is one of the most thriving and vibrant in the whole of the UK. From the eclectic mix of interesting venues, to the various superstars and famous artists that have come up through the local music scene over the years, pound for pound Nottingham punches far above its weight when it comes to its musical pedigree.

Yet, dear reader, Nottingham’s treasure trove of music venues, attractions and events can sometimes be overlooked.

Now, whilst of course this is outrageous if you ask us, Nottingham does have to compete with other, quite often bigger cities with their own proud heritage. Consider Manchester and its Madchester movement, Sheffield has recently had one of the biggest bands on the planet emerge (Arctic Monkeys) and nearby Leicester have the ever-popular Kasabian.

Competition is rife, but we still think that Nottingham’s music scene rises above the rest to reign supreme here in the UK and here are our 3 reasons why.

Malt Cross | Music in Nottingham

Pictured: Malt Cross

1. History

Nottingham’s music history is unique in terms of its musical heritage. Throughout the early explosion of the modern music scene in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, Nottingham remained relatively sleepy.

Few, if any real break out acts have come out of the region. Unlike many other comparable cities, Nottingham has until recently, never really had its moment in the sun. The iconic song anti-war song that defined a generation, War (What is it good for?) released in 1970 has a loose connection to the city via its artist, Edwin Starr. The singer lived and called Nottingham home for most of his adult life.

The eyes of the music world were also upon Nottingham back in the 1970’s for a fleeting moment after the store manager of the old Virgin Records store on Clumber Street (now Superdrug) plastered posters advertising the Sex Pistols “Never Mind the B*llocks” album. The legal case was subsequently dismissed and became an iconic bit of music trivia.

Why then, does Nottingham’s strangely subdued music history make it 1 of 3 reasons we think Nottingham’s music scene reigns supreme? It’s because Nottingham’s artists and venues have never been able to rest on a reputation of a bygone age, and subsequently had to continue pushing boundaries in the industry!

Don’t believe me? Go to Liverpool and see the many talented live acts paying tribute to one of the Beatles catalogue of songs. There’s not the same thirst for new music like in Notts or the need to innovate, and we think that makes our current music scene so vibrant!

With links to the likes of Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, and the Sleaford Mods, we also claim solo artists Jake Bugg and Sheku Kanneh-Mason among Nottinghamshire's music alumni.

Metronome  | Music in Nottingham

Pictured: Metronome

2. Venues

Nottingham has some of best venues in the UK. There’s a genuine mix of quality places to go and see live music such that there’s something for everyone.

For those into huge gigs and some of the big name acts, the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham has been hosting some of the biggest names in music for over 20 years. The likes of Ed Sheeran, Katy Perry, Elton John, Lady Gaga, Little Mix, Westlife and One Direction have all played at what is the East Midlands largest live entertainment venue. Visit the venue website to see their star-studded line-up for 2022!

Rock City is also one of Nottingham’s other iconic and historic venues. They hvae hosted some of the world’s largest acts in their early years such as Nirvana, Amy Winehouse, The Undertones, Rage Against the Machine and Ozzy Osbourne. The intimate setting of the venue has allowed fans to get up close and personal with all of these rock stars and many more.

Some of Nottingham’s newer venues are carving out tremendous reputations for themselves. Peggy’s Skylight is putting Nottingham on the international jazz circuit and is fast becoming one of Nottingham’s go-to places for live music as well as great food.

Metronome is also one of Nottingham’s newest venues and is a national centre for music, live performances, live pictures and spoken word. Metronome is a must visit and is a hive of creativity and innovation in performing arts and music. We were recently invited to do a review of this fab venue, which you can read here.

The city’s most historic venue is the iconic Malt Cross, a charming Victorian Music Hall which is still used for live music and food. The hall opened in 1877 and was restored 120 years later in 1997 and again in 2014, meaning all 6 levels of the building are in use. As well as a programme of events, they also host open mic gigs and workshops. If you can't stay for a show, why not grab a drink and get some delicious food, or simply get a look at their iconic domed glass roof.

Nottingham has such a plethora of choice for live music that a few years ago it was ranked as 3rd in the UK for choice and quality of venues (perhaps slightly obvious if you ask us)!

Splendour Festival | Nottingham | 2022 | Music in Nottingham

Pictured: Splendour Festival, Image by Marcus Holdsworth

3. Festivals

Festivals are show stopping centrepiece attractions that make or break a city’s reputation for having a stand out music scene. Nottingham has stiff competition from around the UK, with Reading and Leeds Festival being household names, and even Y Not over in Derbyshire.

However, Nottingham Holds its own with some of the best up-and-coming festivals in the whole of the UK. With first class venues hosting various festivals throughout the year, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire has some of the most intriguing summer music celebrations and parties found anywhere in the country.

Splendour Festival is Nottingham’s largest festival and takes place at Wollaton Hall. The festival has been growing year on year, returning a packed programme of stars for 2022. From new up and coming local talents to global super stars such as Richard Ashcroft, Tom Odell, Anne-Marie and the Human League. This year sees the festival become a two-day event which shows the remarkable growth the festival has had in the 14 years since it started. Plus, how many festivals have the accolade of taking place in Batman’s back garden at Wayne Manor? Not many we suspect!

Nottingham also plays host to the Dot to Dot Festival. Starting in 2005, the festival is the epitome of Nottingham’s pioneering music scene. Not resting on its past reputation, the Dot to Dot Festival takes place across various venues throughout the city and is responsible for unearthing and giving platforms to some of the UK’s hottest acts. The festival has helped put The 1975, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Mumford & Sons, Florence + The Machine, Ed Sheeran and The xx all on the map!

During the year, you can also find festivals like Detonate Festival, Unlocked FestBeat the Streets and Hockley Hustle. We also have Downlaod Festival just a stone's throw away from us, in Leicestershire!

It’s for these reasons that we think Nottingham’s music scene reigns supreme. Yes, Notts doesn’t quite have the same illustrious musical history as other cities in the UK. However, it’s a past of which Nottingham can be proud, and one that’s forged it into a live music powerhouse, with a vibrant gig scene and a bright future that promises to find some of the best hidden gems out there.

Hold on Notts, our time in the sun is coming.

Our Expert Recommendation 

We asked Anna, one of our amazing staff at the Nottingham Tourism and Travel Centre and expert in recommending activities, to share her top suggestion for visitors wanting to expereince Market Towns in Nottinghamshire. She said: 'Splendour is Nottingham's biggest party - held every year in July at Wollaton Park, it's always an awesome event with a great line up! This year's acts include Richard Ashcroft, Anne Marie and Craig David - I can't wait!'

For more local and expert reccomendations, visit the Nottingham Tourism and Travel Centre in the heart of Nottingham City Centre and talk to our friendly staff. 

Dot 2 Dot Festival Metronome | Blog picture | Music in Nottingham

A Spotlight on Metronome

An intimate venue with the potential to be one of the best nights out in Nottingham, Metronome is making a name for itself as an entertainment venue and a hub for music in the City. Supporting local and up-and-coming artists while also hosting touring shows, you must visit their website to see their wonderful line-up for 2022.

We recently spoke to Kristi Genovese, Promoter at Metronome, about the music scene in Nottingham, the importance of smaller veunues and supporting local talent in Nottinghamshire:

'The Notts live music scene is great for tourism here as there are lots of smaller venues, like Metronome, for gigs and a nice natural progression for touring bands coming through -  an artist can play Bodega, Metronome, Rescue Rooms, Rock City and then finish at the Motorpoint Arena Nottingham.

There’s also a great grassroots movement for encouraging emerging local talent, including Confetti Institute of Creative Technologies, which owns the 400-capacity venue Metronome. This makes Nottingham one of the best places to go in the Midlands to see an artist early on.'

Peggy's Skylight | Jazz | Music in Nottingham

Jazz comes to Nottingham

We always say Nottingham is one of the UK's bggest small cities. This is, in part, because of the amazing cultural experiences the city can offer. And nowhere is this more apparent than Peggy's Skylight. Usually seen in the likes of London, this jazz bar offers visitors a world-class jazz experience with a delicious drinks and food menu.

We recently caught up with Rachel Foster, one of their Co-Founders, about their offering in Nottingham and what to expect from their venue.

'Peggy's are proud to be part of the rich live music scene in Nottingham. We offer visitors to the city an immersive experience; whether a curious newcomer or seasoned lover of jazz, blues, soul or world folk music. Book a table, kick back and relax safe in the knowledge that you will be welcomed and looked after with fresh and thoughtfully prepared food and drinks, whilst witnessing carefully curated live music of a world class standard.

Tourism is great for the city. (Especially post lockdown) We are a city with a vibrant and varied culture. Visitors give creative and cultural, independent businesses an opportunity to show what we all do best and make us even more proud of our city.'

This blog was written by Jack Woolley, Communications and PR Specialist for Marketing Nottingham.


Motorpoint Arena Nottingham
Event Venue
Motorpoint Arena Nottingham

Situated in the heart of Nottingham city centre and with a capacity of 10,000, Motorpoint Arena Nottingham hosts the biggest names in live music, comedy and sports.

Peggy's Skylight
Music Hall
Peggy's Skylight | Visit Nottinghamshire

Like most great stories, Peggy's Skylight started with love - a love of jazz and great music. As jazz musicians, Peggy’s founders, Rachel Foster & Paul Deats have performed as ‘Me & Mr Jones’ in many venues and around the world, but one thing that always struck them about home, is that although Nottingham is an amazing city with such incredible musical talent, it lacked a fantastic jazz venue that puts great sound quality at its forefront.

Event Venue
Metronome, Nottingham
Malt Cross
Malt Cross | Nottingham

Malt Cross is an Grade-2 listed Victorian Music Hall set at the heart of Nottingham city centre, just off Old Market Square.

Splendour Festival
Wollaton Hall and Splendour crowds

Splendour Festival returns on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 July! The East Midlands' signature summer music festival will once again take place over two days and celebrates its 15th year in 2023.

Wollaton Hall and Park
Wollaton Hall - Visit Nottinghamshire

Spectacular Elizabethan Mansion and Deer Park set in the beautiful suburbs of Nottingham. Car parking £3 for up to 2 hours and £5 for the whole day.

Dot To Dot Festival 2024
Dot To Dot Festival

Dot To Dot Festival has continued to showcase the best new acts from around the world since starting in Nottingham in 2005.

Detonate Festival - CANCELLED
Detonate Festival 2022

Detonate brings Nottingham together for a massive party, set amongst the woodland, lakes and clearings of Colwick Country Park.



  1. miklas
    Hey, what a great post I came across, and believe me I've been searching for this same type of post for the past week or so and barely found it. Thank you very much and will be looking for more posts from you.
  2. Tripp Hansen
    If you want to make your bedroom look great, here are some tips to help you do just that. This article will help you choose the right bedroom furniture for your bedroom, and help you make the most out of any bedroom space.
  3. Vidyut Jha
    I am typically to blogging and i really recognize your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.. <a href="";>Aitechtonic</a>

Leave a Reply