Gigs of the year 2016

The year is at an end – and what a year it’s been! We’re looking towards 2017 with a bit of hope in our hearts, but before we get too carried away with what’s on the horizon we just want to take a minute to look back on our highlights of the year. We’ve had some truly sublime moments in the last 12 months and below is our pick of the crop.

We’d love to hear what you’ve enjoyed this year, so give your top gigs a shout out to us on Twitter @Colston_Hall

Read on for a reminder of some of our favourite gigs and concerts and we look forward to seeing you again in 2017!


Philharmonia Orchestra perform BBC Planet Earth in Concert
Fri 29 Jan

Before Attenborough returned to our screens for the blockbuster sequel Planet Earth II, George Fenton and the Philharmonia presented a stunning concert featuring footage from the original series in a cosmic collision of spectacular visuals and live orchestral music, which truly painted an awe inspiring portrait of our Planet Earth.


BBC 6 Music Festival
Fri 12 – Sun 14 Feb

Underworld, Laura Marling, John Grant, Blanck Mass, Julia Holter, Guy Garvey, Roni Size & DJ Krust, Ezra Furman,  White Denim, Misty In Roots and more all graced the Colston Hall stage alongside Primal Scream, Tricky, Sherwood & Pinch and Suede elsewhere as the BBC 6 Music carnival rolled into town. With that line up, need we say any more? Oh yeah, it was amazing!

Photo by Chris Cooper / ShotAway


Courtney Pine’s House of Legends
Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival
Sun 20 Mar

Bringing together musicians from Africa, the Caribbean and Europe for an exhilarating mix of merengue, ska, mento and calypso, legendary British jazz artist Courtney Pine’s set at this year’s Bristol Jazz & Blues Festival was brimming with energy. We can’t wait for the 2017 edition of the festival.

Photo by Chris Cooper / ShotAway


Charles Bradley
Fri 15 Apr

A gig with more soul and feeling than Charles Bradley’s set back in April would be hard to find. The 62 year old singer and former James Brown impersonator showed a packed out main hall just why he’s a contender for the Godfather of Soul’s crown.

Photo by Chris Cooper / ShotAway


Bristol New Music
Thu 12 – Sun 15 May

Max Richter and Kronos Quartet headlined a weekend of new music that also saw brand new work performed by Bristol artists John Bence and Vessel with Immix Ensemble. At the centre of the weekend though was the immersive art installation Requiem for 114 Radios by acclaimed artists Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard, which saw 114 radios installed in our cellars singing a haunting version of the Dies Irae and featuring the voices of Jarvis Cocker, Matt Berninger of The National, Jimmy Goodwin of Doves and more.

Photo by Toby Farrow / Farrows Creative


Mbongwana Star
Tue 21 Jun

The Congolese seven-piece hit The Lantern after the release of their widely praised 2015 debut album, From Kinshasa. A fistful of bass and Afrobeat rhythms got the packed room jumping.


Lucinda Williams
Bristol Americana Weekend
Fri 15 Jul

Three-time Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams joined us for Bristol Americana Weekend following the 2016 release of her latest album The Ghosts of Highway 20 – one of the records of the year and a performance we won’t soon forget.

Photo by Chris Cooper / ShotAway


HooHa Festival
Tue 16 – Sat 20 Aug

© Sarah Koury / Entirety Labs

A junior jungle rave, a bear hunt with British Sinfonietta, Dino Raps with Andy Day and a special space mission with DJ Cheeba and Babyhead Tom – HooHa Festival was once again extra large fun for pint sized people!

Photo by Sarah Koury / Entirety Labs


The Gloaming
Wed 21 Sep

Beautiful music that carves new paths connecting the rich Irish folk tradition and the New York contemporary music scene, The Gloaming brought a full hall to hushed, revered silence in September.


Awesome Tapes From Africa ft. Ata Kak
Wed 12 Oct

© Sarah Koury

Awesome Tapes From Africa label boss Brian Shimkovitz spent 13 years trying to find the elusive African musician Ata Kak. Having finally tracked him down and re-released his album, this showcase presented the now cult artist live for the first time in the UK.

Photo by Sarah Koury / Entirety Labs


Purple Rain & Jam of the Year with Norman Jay MBE
Sun 13 Nov

The closest we’ll get to seeing Prince perform on our stage! This screening of his iconic ’80s film complete with a Prince inspired DJ set from none other than the legendary Norman Jay was the centre piece of this year’s BFI Black Star Season in Bristol.

Photo by Karen Roberts


A Celebration of David Bowie
Sat 10 Dec

Rounding off the year with another tribute to a true icon, Charles Hazlewood and his Army of Generals gave us an orchestra-sized celebration of the life of David Bowie, complete with stunning light show.

RIP Prince and Bowie.

Photo by Chris Cooper / ShotAway