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Hold an event at Band on the Wall

Manchester's smart new music venue is also a smart new conference venue

Published on November 11th 2009.


Hold an event at Band on the Wall

Before its refurbishment, if someone suggested hosting a business meeting at Band on the Wall, you'd wonder what type of 'business' exactly they were involved in. Although it was great for a gig and a few beers, it wasn't the type of place you'd take your clients.

But £4m and an extensive redesign later, and it's now making a name for itself as a smart new venue for corporate events, meetings, training days, conferences and parties. This Northern Quarter building has got history as well as up-to-the-minute conferencing facilities – a combination that's attracting a flow of enquiries from companies who want a venue with character in which to hold their events.

There are four different spaces available to hire, including the auditorium itself with its famous balcony and the fast-becoming-famous Band on the Wall carpet. It's a big space (you can fit 150 seated and 250 standing in here) yet it's got a real atmosphere to it. This building started life as a grand Victorian alehouse before it became a legendary music venue staging concerts by artists including Joy Division and Mica Paris. A past like that makes an impression on a place, and it gives even everyday meetings or events a glamorous edge.

Businesses who have already hired this space have reported very high attendance rates from their guests – an event at a city centre venue that's part of rock n roll history is a little more attractive to invitees than one held in a bland conference suite in a chain hotel at the airport.

As you'd expect from a live music venue, it's got excellent audio-visual facilities, including live AV mixing, video cameras, and state-of-the-art projection with full technical support from one of the venue's sound and lighting engineers. Because it's in-house, this is a really cost-effective option – you pay about a tenth of what you would if you had to hire a PA separately. If you'd like to use the bar, they'll provide you with the appropriate number of bar staff, and they'll bring in food from caterers Café Aromat. They can also fix you up with a musician or band if you want to stage your very own Band on the Wall concert.

They offer all the standard conferencing facilities (flip boards, stationery, and so on) and they pride themselves on their professionalism. Band on the Wall might be less corporate than other venues, but standards are just as high.

The concert hall is available for hire in the daytime, and occasionally in the evenings. If you're keen to have an night-time event there, you can hire the mezzanine area for a private pre-concert reception for up to 30 people. It means you get the extended balcony area and bar for an hour before the doors open to the public and the concert starts. A brilliant idea if you're planning a birthday night out, or if you want to treat musically-minded clients. (It's also cheap at just £110.)

Next door to the concert hall is the Picturehouse Café Bar – a light, airy space with enough room for about 150 standing or 100 seated. It's more intimate than the auditorium, but still very characterful with a mirror-fronted bar and a glass ceiling. You can hire it alongside the auditorium if you like or on its own.

If you're in need of a smaller space, there are two education rooms upstairs that are ideal for board meetings, training days and so on. You can hire them individually or as a pair – the second space makes a good break-out room or a place to have your lunch.

As Band on the Wall has just opened, their prices are fairly low. The auditorium costs £600 to hire in the daytime during the week (£750 with a technician). The Picturehouse Café Bar costs £250 (£300 with a technician) and the education rooms cost £85/£50 (£100/£60 with a technician). You can even hire out all four spaces – prices are available on request.

So if you're planning an event, a party, a meeting, or an away day, call their development manager, Najia, on 0161 834 1786 to discuss your requirements.

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