The O2 Institute Birmingham is one of the city's leading live music venues. It occupies the building of a former Methodist chapel that first opened in 1908. Alongside two smaller venues in the same complex, the O2 Institute is a 2,000-capacity arena that is sometimes used for club nights as well as performances by bands and solo artists. Designed by the renowned architect Arthur Harrison, the venue has some ornate detailing on its exterior, including a few figures, which, appropriately, are depicted holding musical instruments.
In the mid-1950s, Birmingham City Council acquired the venue and used it as a civic hall. Later, when the Institute was taken into private ownership, the venue gained a reputation as the centre of the city's innovative musical scene. During the 1990s, for example, the Institute was synonymous with drum 'n' bass events as well as rave music. It was the home to popular club nights, such as Uproar, Godskitchen and Atomic Jam, at that time. Over the last 30 years or so, the venue has become one of the most popular in Birmingham, hosting gigs that cover a wide range of musical genres. For 10 years from 1998, the venue was known simply as Sanctuary Nightclub, before being purchased by HMV Group. It was then rebranded under its new ownership as the O2 Institute, in 2015.
O2 Institute Birmingham events
Substantially upgraded in 2010 by its then owners, the O2 Institute Birmingham has hosted many leading musical acts of their day. In the past, its stage has been graced by the likes of Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell and the Cure, for example. Other big name acts to have performed there include the Human League and the Arctic Monkeys. In recent years, the O2 Institute has also staged well-received gigs by artists such as PVRIS, Sunset Sons and Flogging Molly. Tickets are sold for events at the O2 Institute, either for the main auditorium or its seated balcony. However, tickets for the upper balcony area are not reserved, so seats there are available only on a first come, first served basis.
Although the O2 Institute occupies a relatively old building in the city, it is accessible in most of its public areas. The Institute's management team advises wheelchair users to contact the venue in advance of any performance they plan to attend, in order to obtain specific guidance. There is no dedicated parking, but the nearby Bullring Centre's car parks have accessible parking bays, if required.