Our Impact

We believe in the power of music – to inspire, teach and transform lives.

Bristol Music Trust, the independent organisation and charity that runs Colston Hall and Bristol Plays Music, exists to develop the Hall’s artistic programme and to promote music and music making in Bristol.

Colston Hall is Bristol’s largest concert hall and has been presenting music to audiences since 1867. Some of the world’s biggest music and comedy stars have performed on our stage, including The Beatles, David Bowie, Elton John, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Motorhead and Bob Dylan.

The building remains at the heart of cultural life in Bristol and offers a top quality experience to all our visitors with a café bar, roof terrace, conferencing and education facilities, plus disabled access to all floors. By summer of 2021 the Colston Hall building will be transformed into an international standard concert facility.

Bristol Plays Music (BPM), the music education hub for the city, has a vision to make Bristol the ‘UK Capital of Young People’s Music’. BPM provides equality of access to performance and educational opportunities in partnership with Colston Hall, and takes a leadership role in all aspects of music education city wide.

Bristol Music Trust’s Yearly Impact*

*April 2015 – March 2016


  • Colston Hall attracts an audience of 270,000 annually
  • We programme 6 festivals a year (past festivals have included Bristol New Music, BBC Radio 6 Music Festival, Fast Forward, Goldie and Outlook Orchestra at the Lloyd’s Amphitheatre, Hoo-Ha Family Festival and Lau-Land)
  • 535 performances annually
  • 60 free performances, talks and events annually


  • 30,000 children and young people reached
  • 118 schools worked with
  • 21,327 hours of music tuition in schools
  • 150 teachers took part in our Continuing Professional Development (CPD) programme
  • 200 downloads of Bristol’s Music Curriculum
  • 1 new transformative programme: A New Ambition
    • 142 music sessions to 44 individual children and young people with SEN/D and 11 who are in care. 8 million people witnessed a young man with cerebal palsy leading an orchestra of over 200 musicians and singers in Colston Hall’s foyer on BBC’s The One Show, as part of BBC Music Day
    • Fast Forward Festival: 2 days involving 3 special school orchestras, 2 disabled-led ensembles, 1 British Paraorchestra


  • Over £42 million raised towards our £45 million target to transform Colston Hall

Our Partners and Supporters

View a full list of our Partners and Supporters here.

Annual Report


Bristol Music Trust Annual Report 2017-18

Bristol Music Trust Annual Report 2016-17

Bristol Music Trust Annual Report 2015-16


  • The Family Arts Campaign is a national Sector Support Organisation funded by Arts Council England to raise family engagement with arts and culture. They focus on increasing the amount and range of artistic work available to families, the quality of experience and improving marketing to reach more families.

    Bristol Music Trust has signed up to The Family Arts Standards which gives clear guidance on how best to welcome families to arts organisations.

  • Attitude is Everything Silver Award – Charter of Best Practice

    Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry to implement a Charter of Best Practice across the UK. We help the music industry to understand the requirements of Deaf and disabled people at live music events by building equality into the strategic process. The ethos of the Charter is that Deaf and disabled people should be as independent as they want to be at live music events.

  • Bristol Dementia Action Alliance are part of an alliance of groups throughout the UK, working towards enabling communities to become more Dementia aware.

    Colston Hall is a holder of The Purple Angel to mark our efforts to further spread Dementia Awareness.

  • 2017 Third Sector Director of the Year

    Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive, Bristol Music Trust

    Institute of Directors South West

    Louise was pitched against stiff competition from across the South West but the judges commended her strong leadership and clear vision and granted her the prestigious award.

    Nick Sturge, IoD SW Regional Chairman, said: “Louise is an experienced leader with a very strong, clear and insightful vision for the Colston Hall venue as well as the wider cultural economy in Bristol. Her impressive application shows excellent business understanding, belief and persuasion to allow consistent and proven results within a difficult climate yet with obvious positive impact for the future.”

  • 2017 Patrick Hayes Award

    Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive, Bristol Music Trust

    International Society for the Performing Arts Awards

    Patrick Hayes was the founding president of the International Society for the Performing Arts Foundation, originally established in 1948 as the National Association of Concert Managers. The Patrick Hayes Award, the only award from an ISPA member to an ISPA member, recognises an ISPA member of long standing and continued involvement whose achievements in arts management are deserving of special praise and recognition.

  • Winner of the Music Education Council Major Award

    Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2017

    “Here’s a hub that takes its cues from the Stanford principles of collective impact and collaborative action: easy to say, but hard to pull off. We thought Bristol Plays Music were already well on the road to success, especially with its flagship inclusion strategy A new ambition for inclusive excellence, which has set itself the challenge of transforming music education for children and young people with special educational needs or disabilities, and for looked after children.”

  • Winner of Best Print Resource Award for Get on Board: Music Curriculum for Bristol

    Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2017

  • Winner of the Paritor Award for Creative Music Technology

    Music Education Council Awards 2015

  • Finalist of the Music Education Council Major Award

    Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2018 & 2016

  • Finalist of Best Classical Music Education Initiative for Monteverdi 450 Project

    Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2018

  • Finalist of Best Digital Resource for Bristol Minute of Listening

    Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2018

  • Finalist of Best SEND Resource Award for A New Ambition for Inclusive Excellence

    Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2017

  • Customer Service Excellence Award

    Between 2009 and 2018 Bristol Music Trust was awarded the Customer Service Excellence Award. The award aims to bring professional, high-level customer service concepts into common currency with every customer service by offering a unique improvement tool to help those delivering services put their customers at the core of what they do.

  • Attitude is Everything – Outstanding Attitude Award

    Music charity Attitude is Everything’s inaugural Outstanding Attitude Awards recognises Charter of Best Practice venues and festivals at the forefront of creative and innovative access provision for Deaf and disabled audiences.

    Colston Hall received the award for Fast Forward Festival: a pioneering conference and series of performances that put accessible music-making centre-stage, and involved significant changes to the building and investment in staff training.

  • South West Tourism – Access and Inclusivity Bronze Award 2015/16

    Any tourism business that excels in being accessible and inclusive, and can demonstrate exceptional customer service to all, particularly those with impairments and other access needs ie mobility, auditory, sensory or dietary.