London’s music scene has been the envy of the world since the early 1960’s, but unfortunately, the price you can expect to pay to see your favourite bands doing what they do best is now verging on hilarious. The worldwide superstars, who play in venues holding in excess of 60,000 people can cost several hundred pounds to see.
With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to experience some of the music London has to offer:
– Street performers: £ Free.
Fairly obvious, but given the sheer volume of street performers lining London’s cobbles, it would be next to impossible to fail to find an artist you genuinely enjoy listening to. Perhaps start with a stroll along the South Bank, a lovely stretch of the river Thames, to soak up some atmosphere before cramming in a pie and a pint, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to stop and listen to a variety of street performances, at least one of which is bound to suit your musical tastes. Also, as this is the age of information, most performers will likely have their social media on display nearby. Follow anyone you were really impressed with and watch their rise to stardom, and you’ll be able to tell everyone you knew them before they were cool, you big hipster…
– Art/Exhibition Halls: £ Free-£30.
As mentioned above, the South Bank is a fantastic stretch of river, catering to the widest of food, drink and entertainment tastes, with the South Bank Centre (SBC) likely playing host to the best of them. The SBC feature an endless variety of performances, from live music, contemporary to classical as well as art exhibitions, poetry, and dance and debate events – ensuring there’s something for everyone! That, combined with a fantastic open space and floor-to-ceiling windows mean you’ll have no trouble finding some great entertainment with a great view of the river.
They have a great “What’s On” section on their website, where you’re able to search the type of event you’re looking to see, and whilst most events are ticketed, they’ll never break the bank; and there are plenty of exhibitions and events listed for free.
Whilst the SBC is the example we’ve used here, there are exhibition halls all over London.
– Pubs: £10-15.
Surely everyone’s favourite? From the punk-esque venues in Camden, to the classic rock venues just south of the river, there are hundreds, if not thousands of pubs and bars across London are looking to bring customers through their doors with the lure of live music. Endless variety, in terms of both genre and quality (here’s looking at you, karaoke night…) pretty much guarantee a good evening. Some acts may blow you away on their musical prowess alone, whilst others may leave you craving your twelfth rum and coke of the night; but in either case you’ll likely be singing along to ‘Sweet Caroline’, with your arm around a stranger by chucking-out time.
– Stadiums: £100-500.
And here’s that one exception. You’ll have a hard job beating the sound and atmosphere of a stadium gig, even if you have to sit down through the entire thing because you’ve had to sell an arm and a leg just to get through the stalls. I’ve personally been to a couple of stadium gigs over the last couple of years, (no arms or legs left) and though it always leave the purse strings a little sore, you’re guaranteed the best possible gigging experience; one that pubs just aren’t able to replicate. With iconic venues like Wembley and the o2 arena, London really has you covered with some the best live venues that attract the biggest names from all over the world.