Sheffield music venues hit high note to be voted top

Richard Hawley performing at Sheffield City Hall
Richard Hawley performing at Sheffield City Hall

TWO of Sheffield’s most iconic music venues have reaffirmed the city’s place on the cultural map by scooping major industry gongs.

The Leadmill and City Hall fought off competition from across the country to be named the UK’s best major club and concert hall respectively at the 2012 Live Music Business Awards.

And victory was especially sweet for The Leadmill, which became the first venue to triumph as in the best venue teamwork – major club (capacity 800+) for two consecutive years.

Rupert Dell, Leadmill general manager, said: “We’re obviously delighted. We were up against the Brixton Academy and Rock City in Nottingham which are special venues, so it means a lot that we have won it. We are really proud. We weren’t expecting it.”

Sheffield City Hall was crowned best venue teamwork – theatre/concert in its 80th anniversary year.

Richard Hunter, general manager, said: “The City Hall has won a lot of awards in its time, but few for its important role as a live music venue.

“Over the years you’ll be hard pressed to find a star performer who has not trod the board at City Hall and the reason they keep coming is the wonderful intimate atmosphere.

Staff from both venues collected their gongs at a black-tie ceremony at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel in London.

The awards, which were voted for by readers of industry magazine Live UK, are intended to recognise the work of the entire behind-the-scenes team at the venues, rather than the buildings themselves.

Rupert, 41, who has worked at the Leadmill for 17 years, suggested voters respected the history of the Leadmill and its ‘honesty’ as an independent venue.

He said: “The history and the heritage of the venue means we can attract different bands because small bands want to play here and big bands want to come back.

“We are unique. Fans appreciate that we aren’t corporate and are just about the music. People appreciate the honesty.”

Richard said: “The success of City Hall is down to the staff who run it. Travelling productions know they will get the service and know that because of the venue’s heritage and unique properties that the show will be a great one.”

Also nominated for an award was Kate Hewett, head of programming for Sheffield venue Harley Live, who was runner-up in the race to be crowned indie promoter of the year.