Bristol’s Music Scene

Bristol’s music scene has a reputation for innovation, experimentation and quality. In the past the city has been home to a wide range of artists who’ve drawn their inspiration from the city’s wide ranging musical cross-currents. Most of us remember the heady days of Bristol’s trip-hop scene in the late ’90s when Portishead, Massive Attack, Roni Size and Tricky broke through into the mainstream.

The quality of Bristol’s music scene is not some hidden gem, it’s well known and admired around the UK and in some cases internationally. It may not be as firmly on the map as say Berlin, New Orleans’s or Detroit, but Bristol has a sound which is something both unique and special.

In March 2010 the PRS foundation published the results of a nationwide survey and declared Bristol ‘The UK’s most musical city’.

The role of Bristol and Bristolians in the development of music, film and TV has been enormously rich. The city and surrounding area are littered with cultural memories and reference points. Some are well known, like the tragic death of Eddie Cochran just hours after performing at the Bristol Hippodrome on Easter Saturday 1960 and the city playing host to the likes of Casualty, Skins, Being Human, Only Fools and Horses, Sherlock Holmes, the filming of Truly, Madly, Deeply in 1989/90. Others are more obscure, including playwright Tom Stoppard’s six-year stint on two local papers in the late 50s and the fact that Andrew Lloyd-Webber wrote the lyrics for Don’t Cry for Me Argentina in the city’s Unicorn Hotel.

The Bristol scene is characterised by a strong relationship between music and art, especially graffiti art. A founding member of the band Massive Attack, Robert Del Naja, was originally a graffiti artist, and local graffiti artist Banksy has also gone on to produce album covers and artworks.

Bristol Festivals | Bristol Music Scene