Outernet HERE - A new venue coming to London soon

The Future of Live – The UK’s Most Exciting New Venues

As the live world returns with gusto, it’s easy to miss a slew of new UK venues which are set to transform the way we experience music. Time to shine our spotlight on some of these upcoming premiere destinations for live music…


Outernet HERE - A new venue coming to London soon


Lockdown took a colossal toll on the live sector. Venues sealed their doors, sound engineers were unable to find work, bands and artists found themselves without connection to their fans and millions of gig-lovers sat alone, endlessly rewatching concert videos on YouTube, longing to bounce along with their fellow music lovers once again. Since the re-awakening of the live sector, venues have been met with unprecedented demand as we surge back to the barriers of our favoured nightspots.

While we’re grateful that those all-important grassroots and reliable tour-circuit venues are able to deliver what they’re renowned for, it’s easy to not pay full attention to the news that, across Britain, a growing array of new, future-proofed venues are preparing for launch. From large, sci-fi like techno-domes, lavish, multi-faceted entertainment complexes and back-to-basics flowerings on the grassroots scene.


Can you imagine the crushing disaster of spending two years building, soundproofing and forward-booking a brand new venue in the heart of one of London’s most up and coming locales, only to be told – after two weeks –  that your venue would need to close for the foreseeable, and all your staff would have to remain at home. This was the situation following the untimely March 2020 launch of Lafayette in the increasingly hip Kings Cross. Sporting a state of the art sound system, and double the size of its sister venue, London Bridge’s The Omeara, the twin-floored Lafayette has come into its own following its satisfying re-opening last year. With a capacity just over 600, the venue has gathered acclaim from all corners of the industry. Over the coming year, it looks set to solidify its position as the area’s hottest spots for intimate, connective gigs.


New venues - The Lafayette in Kings Cross
Image from lafayettelondon.com


Elsewhere in the capital, Denmark Street has a long-standing reputation as the city’s most important for musicians of all stripes. Bursting with guitar and music shops, the regular haunt of the melodically-inclined greets throngs of amateur and professional musicians every day. In the coming months, the street will also serve as the new home of HERE – one of the numerous entertainment and media venues that parent company Outernet London will launch in central London.

HERE will be a 2,000 capacity space, and will be the largest live events venue to be purpose built in central London since as far back as the 1940s. Live music will also be a central component of The Lower Third – the new name of what was formerly known as the beloved, (and sadly missed) 12 Bar Club.

To find out more about these intriguing developments, we spoke to Karrie Goldberg, one of the partners operating the two venues, and asked first when this development project was originally conceived? “Robert Butters and I were approached in Feb of 2021 to look at the project.” Karrie explains, “We very quickly finalised our deal, signed the lease in June, and began straight away on design and build concepts for HERE and The Lower Third with Archer Humphreys. We ultimately started construction in November. We anticipate a construction hand over in the next few weeks at which time our A/V will be installed. Roughly eight months all together.”

The flagship venue HERE, aims to deliver a broad range of entertainment, as Goldberg details; “[There’ll be] DJs, live electronic, rock, R&B, jazz, comedy and we’re even looking at ballet, classical and drag shows. Similarly for The Lower Third, but more focused on original and emerging artists, giving them an incredible venue to launch their careers”

In terms of HERE’s sound, Karrie explains that the six-month journey to determine what kit would be used was somewhat epic. “We fell in love with the new d&b audiotechnik system. The system, albeit with smaller sized cabinets of an 8 inch line array, will deliver a high-impact, high-SPL sound equivalent to a dual 10-12 inch cabinet. We did a demo and found we were tickling 108-110dBA with around about a 10-12dB LF contour before any sub limiting kicked in at all.”


HERE in Denmark Street - one of many new venues that will revitalise Central London
A render of a typical night at HERE


Karrie explains that the team worked with a wide range of consultants. This included Nicolas Matar. “He was with us the day we signed the lease and someone well-known for his incredible sounding rooms (Cielo and Output) which led us to doing extensive acoustic treatments to the room to give it a really warm sound.”

Aiming to reinvigorate this area of central London, Goldberg tells us that HERE and The Lower Third should fill a vital hole “It was very clear from the outset that central London was in dire need of a killer venue of this capacity. So many legendary bars and music venues have shuttered over the past ten years, leaving a big hole in the market. While we will never be able to replace The Astoria or Marquee, we do have a unique opportunity to provide a space for all those that have been displaced. That, combined with the history of Denmark Street and its current shop owners, gives us a once in a lifetime chance to really bring music BACK to Denmark Street.” Set to launch this summer, we can’t wait to see – and hear – the results.


Over in Stratford, a whole new type of live music experience is being envisaged. The Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation intends to transform an undeveloped site into, what they dub, the ‘MSG Sphere London’ – a whopping entertainment and live music complex. Early visualisations of the final venue resemble something out of a Mad Max movie; a colossal dome which extends high above the surrounding buildings.


MSG Sphere London Stratford - one of many impressive new venues coming soon
Image from london.msg.com


While still awaiting the go-ahead from the powers that be, The team behind his extraordinary project explain that, once completed, the venue will feature adaptive acoustics which will deliver crystal clear audio to every attendee, as well as what is claimed to be the largest and highest resolution LCD screen in the world.

This future-aimed locale will also allow entertainment seekers to immerse themselves even more fully into the performance by the use of haptics. “MSG Sphere would host a wide variety of events.” The company state on their official website, “While our focus is on music and entertainment, this state-of-the-art venue would attract a diverse range of content – including concerts, residencies, immersive experiences, family shows, corporate events, award shows, product launches and select sporting events.” While much of what is being proposed now sounds astonishing, time will tell if the group make good on their promises, if so MSG Sphere is likely to become one of London’s flagship destinations for live events, and a magnet for those craving spectacle.


It’s not just London that’s about to witness the launch of new state-of-the-art venues, up in Manchester, Co-op Live intends to sit among the most advanced, and greenest, venues in the world. We caught up with the project’s driving force, the Oak View Group, to learn more. “Co-op Live is aiming to open in late 2023, bringing the best global acts to the city and delivering a transformative live entertainment experience for both artists and fans.” The team explain, “Manchester is world-famous for its incredible contribution to music and consistently ranks in the top five globally for ticket sales. We wanted to build on this legacy and cement the city as one of the world’s largest live entertainment markets – Manchester is a natural home for Co-op Live.”

The venue has its sights on bringing over 120 events and 1.3 million visitors annually into the city. Hosting everything from megastar live concerts to pivotal award shows. A state of the art sound system will work in tandem on some smart building design. “In terms of technology, our arena is purpose-built for music and has been designed to create the best experience for both artists and fans, including an intimate bowl design with no branding when artists take to the stage, offering a unique black box experience. A ceiling height that has been lowered to 24m to improve acoustics and create intimacy. A seating configuration also brings fans 15m closer to the action than ever before, when compared to other UK arenas, and impactful soundproofing and external lighting technology that respects people living nearby.”


Co-op Live - a new venue opening in Manchester


As the UK’s first all-electric arena, Co-op Live will also harness sustainable and green technology from the get-go, establishing itself as a venue that is defined by consideration for the ecological plight currently facing all of us. “The venue will have rooftop solar panels, rainwater harvesting; heat source and smart building solutions, sustainable transport solutions; sustainable food sourcing and zero waste to landfill.” Explains the team, concluding that “The construction project, the single-largest in the city, is generating a significant boost to the regional economy and over the next 20 years will create an additional impact of £1.5 billion in the local area. The construction phase is supporting thousands of jobs, including apprenticeships for local people, and the venue will support a further 1,000 roles once open.” Also receiving financial backing from none other than Harry Styles, Co-op Live is set to launch at the tail end of 2023.


The likes of Outernet Live, the MSG Sphere and Co-op Live all have their sights firmly set on the future, but the nucleus of all of these exciting new developments remains the age-old, exhilarating thrill of live music. While these larger venues promise overwhelming and memorable experiences, on the local level, those existing grassroots venues continue to face the most uncertainty as the future casts its shadow. In the next instalment we’ll catch up with the Music Venues Trust to hear how they’re aiming to re-model the venue-ownership landscape to ensure a much brighter future for venues of all shapes and sizes.