Newly renovated 3,500 capacity entertainment space Forum Birmingham is apparently ready to open its doors and welcome DJs and live acts from across the live and electronic music spectrums. Taking over the building formerly known as The Ballroom, which has lain dormant and decaying for a decade, it has been refurbished by Global Venues who have extensively renovated and modernised the space ready for lockdown easing in late summer.
Billy Chauhan of Global Venues: “Prior to the pandemic, a quarter of a million people in the West Midlands worked in the culture, media and night time industries and the relaunch of this historic venue in Birmingham will help to refuel this damaged part of our local economy. We’re also extremely passionate about preserving Birmingham’s musical heritage and our work culminates with Forum Birmingham."
Some of the upgrades include ‘restoration of the original woven wooden sprung dancefloor in addition to stripped back and newly polished concrete floors, a steel mezzanine for overarching views and unfussy but stylish industrial decor.’ The most important detail of all is the sound system which will see d&b audiotechnik install one of their line array systems.
Complementing this will be visuals provided by local DMX Productions - the production team behind stages at Glastonbury and Global Gathering amongst others - which will include high resolution LED screens, special FX and immersive lighting to highlight the venue's many bespoke features.
The music will be curated by a combination of dedicated in-house and external promoters. It will encompass all shades of live and electronic music from a diverse mix of artists. National promoters already confirmed include AEG Presents, Goldenvoice, Kilimanjaro Live and Cream, with local Birmingham promoters Leftfoot, Shadow City and Foliée already working on their first events.
The building itself has been the site of some key moments in music. From its early days as The Ballroom, it evolved into the Top Rank Suite in the 1960s and 70s and hosted acts like Bob Marley & The Wailers and The Clash. In the 1980s it became The Hummingbird and hosted live shows from Nirvana, Sonic Youth and The Beastie Boys; it closed its doors in 1994.
The venue later had a spell in the 2000's as Carling Academy Birmingham with the likes of Amy Winehouse and Ed Sheeran performing.
Michael Kill - CEO Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says: “The club scene is a huge part of British culture and heritage spanning decades. We need to preserve it so that future generations can share the experience and pursue careers and opportunities within this sector for years to come. At the moment our clubs are fighting to survive during the pandemic so it’s really inspirational that Forum Birmingham will reopen saving a cultural institution in the city and giving the local industry a much needed shot of confidence.”
Forum also announced their exclusive ticket partnership with Resident Advisor, with the online platform saying: "In the current climate, it is heartening to see venues like this rising from the ashes and helping to preserve the UK’s musical heritage. Forum Birmingham will create prosperity in the local area and support the music and hospitality industries. Forum's music programming is diverse, exciting and forward-facing and we are proud to be affiliated with such an epic musical offering. RA will provide Forum with its own branded white label platform through which tickets will be sold, as well as offering tickets through the main RA site.”
Check forumbirmingham.uk for latest info.