“ Colston Street Bristol BS1 5AR „
I recently visited the Colston Hall in Bristol for a concert.
The Colston Hall was built in 1867 but generally opened for more public performances in 1901 and therefore is older than many concert venues and holding around 1900 (slightly less or more depending on whether it is all seated or part standing, or around 2000 for classical concerts not sure why that is? ) thousand people it is relatively small.
**GETTING THERE AND PARKING**
Fairly simple. Bristol is accessible from most motorways, however when you come off the motorway you have to enter the centre of Bristol, but the hall is signposted quite well.
Parking is not available at the Colston apart from the odd road side space out the front. The best place to park is the Trenchard car park. This is a multi story opposite the hall and literally straight across the road at level one and costing only a few pounds for a few hours is ideal.
The only thing about the car park is that although signposted, blink and you will miss the turn, It does look like a small alley way to drive down. The car park can get busy at popular times/concerts and also bear in mind that during the day this is a car park often used by visitors to the Bristol Royal Infirmary and the Children's Hospital.
On entering the Colston Hall you enter a new part of the building. The entrance is modern and simple in design, lots of glass and chrome. Inside the door to the right is a bistro where you can have a bite to eat before a show. For our concert in the lobby area was a stand for buying band memorabilia, opposite an information area staffed by hall representatives.
You immediately see a stairway in the centre leading up three levels and across to each side. On the left side are the entrances to the three tier levels of the concert hall itself and on the right are bars on level one and three. The bottom bar was very busy as you would expect prior to the show starting but if you make your way up to the third level there was hardly a queue at all. Here you will find a small selection of crisp and chocolate type snacks and various alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, but it is fairly expensive whatever you decide to buy. Also on the third level situated by the bar is a small veranda outside where people can smoke and of course you can outside the main entrance too.
Toilets were on the ground floor and second floor I think. These were in the new build part and so were relatively up to date and modern, but although clean in most part, were a little lacking towards the end of the show. There was also some toilets in the old part of the building which are nearer if you wish to go in the middle of a show. These were also clean, perhaps cleaner to be honest as most people seemed to use the newer ones, but as in the old building were less accessible for disabled as quite small and steps.
**THE ARENA AREA**
As we entered across the corridor from the new build to the old our tickets were checked and we were shown to where our seats were situated. I was surprised at how compact the arena was and how step too, It is very much an old style venue in which I would expect to see a pantomime. On the ground was a standing area and then the seats graduate up the sides and back via concrete steep steps (so watch your step!) The sides have small little balcony seats which is quite quaint and in keeping with the original building style, it's nice that they have managed to preserve such areas.
The seating itself is basic, small chairs with fairly firm seats which are ok for a few hours but after that you do start getting a numb bum.
My seats were right at the top at in the very back row. I thought I would not get a very good view from here but I was pleasantly surprised, considering the venue is quite small you do get to see all that is going on right across the stage.
Sound - I can only comment on what I went to see.
The concert I went to see was heavy metal and this venue suited the sound to a tee. It was very loud and the sound seemed to vibrate through the entire arena especially the drums and bass guitar. Guitar was something of a specialty of the band I went to see and a guitar solo was performed to perfection and was not let down by the acoustics of the arena. I heard everything the band played very well including the singer, which in heavy metal can sometimes get drowned out by the instruments.
The only downside to this arena really I found is that as there is no air conditioning it does get very very hot. The are not many windows in the main hall and the ones that are there are high up so you don't really get the benefit of rotating air - take a mini fan!
I would defiantly recommend this arena for people to go to, it is somewhere a little more intimate than huge arenas, with a large a varied variety of music from metal to opera, blues, jazz and many different artistic abilities given shows too like paintings and performances of comedy etc.
The halls website is www.colstonhall.org and they have also gained the south west gold tourism of excellence award for 2010-2011
Maybe posted on dooyoo and ciao under same username
Myself and friends went to see James Blunt on Saturday 26.02.11, great show but way, way too hot, it was a full house and there is no air con or anything similar. The seating is not great for a building that has had a huge overhaul of late and the system they have for getting you out of the building is boardering on the ridiculous! At the end of the show, We were directed in almost a complete circle past our original seats! There was a complete bottle neck of people - the exits are very badly designed, the old exits from the old part of the building had staff there stopping people going through, (God knows why), in all it took 15 mins to exit in a extremely hot temperatures. If you are at all Claustrophobic, this venue is not for you, bitter end to a sweet show.
What they say:
The people of Bristol have been enjoying music at Colston Hall for almost 140 years. As part of our redevelopment project we've been researching the key points of the four Colston Halls that have stood on Colston Street, as well as the many musical highlights experienced along the way
What i say:
Back in April i was looking at the tour Dave Gorman was doing, and one of the closest places to us was Bristol.
I booked the tickets through the Colston hall website which was quick and simple to use. The tickets were £15 each and they arrived within a few weeks of ordering them.
I have been to Bristol a few times before, but this was my first time to Colston hall.
My first impressions of Colston hall were pretty good. I expected it to be this big old building but it was actually a tall modern building which had gold panels on the front.
On the left hand side of the entrance there is a bar, which was very busy and over flowing. We had a drink in another local pub so we didnt need to use this facility but it did look nice in there.
Our tickets were for G row in the balcony. We asked one of the members of staff on the ground floor where our seats were likely to be and they directed us with a smile.
We walked a few flights of stairs, there are lifts available though. Almost to the top of the building and went to the balcony entrance. Our tickets were taken by a nice friendly member of staff who told us to enjoy the show.
When we walked into the balcony area we were greeted by another member of staff. She wasn't so helpful. In fact she looked like she needed a stiff drink! I have never seen such a miserable face. She directed us to our seat (oh no it wasn't our seat it was completely the wrong one). We managed to find it ourselves in the end. Later on this woman was moaning and making faces at some of Gorman's cruder jokes.
When we found our seat i couldn't believe how uncomfortable they were. They were wooden and had a very thin sponge top covered in Red material. I may as well have been sat on the hard wood as i could completely feel it through the sponge.
The arms were wooden with sharp edges and they didn't go up or have cup holders.
The leg room wasn't really too impressive either and my partners knees were pretty much touching the persons shoulders in front.
After the first hour of Gorman's show i was in agony and couldn't wait to jump off and run off to the toilet and wiggle around.
I was dreading the second half, but luckily the actual show was fantastic, if it had been rubbish i think i would have left due to being so uncomfortable.
During the interval someone was selling ice cream and ice lollies. I found it very odd because ususally they have someone both sides, but they literally had one chap over in the corner and to be honest if you didnt see other people queueing there you would have wondered what he was doing. The ice cream prices were ridiculous as always but all of these theatres are the same. A magnum was £3.00 and a tub of ice cream the same price.
The whole place looks very smart and modern but it is just a shame about the seats.
The lighting and sound system are very good and the whole place is well equipped for a very good show.
The toilets were very clean and tidy, there was plenty of them and only a very short queue in the interval.
Local to the hall is a Co op newsagents for cheaper drinks and sweets, it is also close to a few bars and restaurants for something before the show. It is also very close to the Hippo drome theatre so you may find it very busy in the area if they both have shows that night.
I would probably be quite reluctant to return due to the uncomfortable seating, maybe i will take a cushion next time!
The Colston Hall is a relatively old music venue in Bristol, but also the biggest permanent indoor one and so generally the largest acts to visit Bristol come here.
Being old, many of the facilities are out of date, and fortunately the owners of this fine building realise this and are building a new entrance area with more facilities. This should lead to a vastly improved experience for modern gig/concert goers. The toilets always seem to be extremely busy with large queues forming not only at the main act but even before the support act starts. The bar area can also get very packed, with few spaces to even stand, and at the busiest of times actually managing to purchase a drink is nearly impossible. This lack of space also affects the amount of merchandise that can be sold.
The stage itself is fairly large, allowing for larger groups and performers to be easily accomodated, but due to clever stage wizardry it never seems to be too big for an individual artist.
The seats in the upper tier, even at the back, whilst being relatively far away still afford a good view of the stage area, and you are certainly closer to the action than you get near the back of a large stadium or festival crowd. Down the front it is possible to be closer to the stage. This two tiered nature can lead to a weird atmosphere, and generally the atmosphere is louder and much more rauicous down the front in the stalls, and unless the performers are particularly good at involving balcony, they can feel left out of the atmosphere all together.
However despite these problems, the Colston Hall is still a great venue, and combined with the redevelopment, should be featuring top acts for many years yet.
I've been to three or four gigs at the Colston hall over the eyars, and its a strange venue. It's two tiered, with stalls, and a balcony. The balcony gives you a great view of the stage, if you sit right at the front. On the downside, being up above everyone else, you will feel quite cut off and you can't get into concerts in the same way. The Colston Hall is quite an old building, and its accoustics aren't great. One definite plus though is that the backdoor onto the road is very easy to find, so hanging about to see the performers afterwards is always an option. There's parking in a multistorey not far from the venue, and tickets tend to be average prices where touring bands are concerned. The Colston hall is quite a bit smaller than many venues that decent sized bands play, so it can aford opportities to see musicians quite close to - a far cry from stadium music. If you are in the Bristol area, its well worth seeing touring bands at this venue rather than going further afield. its not such a good venue that it would be worth travelling to in preference to a closer gig.