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Student Guide to Sheffield Music Venues

Posted on January 16, 2024

I personally think one of the best ways to judge a city is by its music venues. A music venue is an indicator not just as to the quality of the city’s music scene, but it’s cultural and artistic scene generally. With this being the case, Sheffield is basically the equivalent of Rennaissance Italy.

Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. But only slight. Sheffield is blessed with some truly fantastic venues, many of whom have an incredibly history within the UK music scene. Gigs, DJ nights, raves, club nights; these venues host it all. This is our guide for students, or anyone else interested, to some of Sheffield’s best music venues.


The Leadmill

Here it is. The Leadmill. Sheffield’s most famous export, next to steel, Henderson’s Relish, the Arctic Monkeys, PULP, and football (in that order). Playing The Leadmill is a close to a canon event as most artists get. This is where PULP had their first gig. Arctic Monkeys sold it out fast than anyone. Def Leppard, The Human League played here. Franz Ferdinand once told the members of Arcade Fire that playing the Leadmill was seen as a “rite of passage”. Oasis, The Strokes, Elliott Smith; they have all played here. The Leadmill is simply historic. Still playing host the many great gigs, the venue also hosts club nights across each week, featuring a range of music, and drink deals, to make sure your evenings are forever kept fun and entertaining.

You can view The Leadmill's upcoming events here.

Sidney&Matilda

If The Leadmill is the old, famous, historic venue in Sheffield, then Sidney&Matilda is the cool, shiny, new venue. Opened just before the pandemic, Sidney&Matilda has only been around for a few years, but in that time, it has really made its mark on the Sheffield music scene. Sporting two stages, a 60-capacity and a 200-capacity stage, as well as a large bar room with some great selections on offer, Sidney&Matilda is quickly becoming one of the coolest places to go in Sheffield. Sheffield’s DIY culture is best seen at Sidney&Matilda, where many local Sheffield-ers put on their own events, from art exhibitions and underground drum and bass nights to punk gigs and vintage markets. The events at Sidney&Matilda are varied and wide-ranging, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

You can view Sidney&Matilda's upcoming events here.

Corporation

The alternative music venue in Sheffield. If The Leadmill is a canon event for most artists, Corp is a canon event for most students. Everyone remembers their first night at Corp. It is a rite of passage in Sheffield. Artists ranging from Slash, to Bring Me The Horizon, to Black Midi have played at Corp, and it is consistently voted one of the best nightclubs in Sheffield. You just have to go! If you are a fan of anything alternative; indie, metal, punk, emo, Corp is definitely the place for you. And if you’re not? Go anyway, it is mint.

You can view Corp's upcoming events here.

The Washington

Oh, the Washy. That veritable heaven on earth. I love the Washy. Everyone loves the Washy. You will love the Washy. It is the cornerstone of a night out in Sheffield. Pres? Washy. Main event? Washy. Afters? Washy. It is great. Cool vibes, good drinks, and great music. The best thing about it? The music is free! Seriously, the Washy has gigs on every week, all manner of great acts from Sheffield and beyond, and it is all free entry. What more could you want? DJ nights? Well, aren’t you lucky. Guess what happens after the live bands? I could genuinely write a whole blog post about the Washy if I could, but that wouldn’t be very informative, now, would it? You think music venue in Sheffield, you think Washy.

You can view the Washy's upcoming events here.

Yellow Arch Studios

We’re heading a bit more out of the city centre now. Very exciting! Yellow Arch Studios is another one of those historic Sheffield music venues where every cool band has had something to do with it. Arctic Monkeys? Recorded there. PULP? Recorded there. Kylie Minogue? Recorded there. Yellow Arch has played host to some amazing acts. It’s not just a studio, either; Blossoms, Her’s and Jockstrap have played there, as well as countless others. And if that wasn’t enough, I would say that Yellow Arch might honestly be the best-looking music venue in Sheffield. It is beautiful. That perfect mix of cosy and industrial that means even if you are not wanting to go to one of their amazing events, you will have a lovely time at Yellow Arch just getting a drink.

You can view Yellow Arch's upcoming events here.

Hope Works

Even further out the city now! Hope Works is sick. Based in an old World War 1 gun barrel factory, Hope Works is one of the main creative centres in the city. Hosting a variety of DJ-led nights, featuring artists such as Ross from Friends, Skin on Skin, Folamour, and even Working Men’s Club. Hope Works also organises No Bounds festival, a Sheffield-based weekend of music, art, technology and dancing across various venues in the city. Hope Works is genuinely just a cool place to go and is definitely one of the best music venues in Sheffield.

You can view Hope Works' upcoming events here.

Plot22

Back into town! Plot 22 is located in Castle Gate, near the centre of Sheffield, and it is easily one of the coolest music venues in Sheffield. Part-venue, part-social enterprise, Plot 22 plays host to DJs, selectors, rappers, and even bands, as well as various creative social enterprises through their charitable arm, RiteTrax. Plot22 does a lot for Sheffield’s wider community, and in that sense, it is one of the best venues in the city. The venue itself is fantastic; intimate but intense, the small room size makes every gig feel incredible.

You can view Plot22's upcoming events here.


The venues I have highlighted here are just some of the fantastic spaces in Sheffield. To talk about them all would probably take me to over 6,000 words, and whilst I am more than happy to talk about all of Sheffield’s venues for that long, I am aware that no one else would be happy with that. Sheffield is genuinely blessed with such a great music scene, and its venues form a large part of that. If you are interested in studying music at WaterBear’s Sheffield campus, just know the city itself would be ideal for you.


WaterBear – The College of Music 

WaterBear offers BA (Hons) degree and master’s courses made for today’s musicians, artists and industry professionals. Our colleges are based in the heart of Brighton and Sheffield, two amazing UK cities with incredible musical roots and heritage. We also have a range of online distance learning courses too. 

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WaterBear is a College of Falmouth University, a pioneer in creative industries education, entrepreneurship and innovation. Run by musicians, for musicians we are about smaller class sizes, flexible course delivery, bespoke one-to-one mentoring and exclusive work experience and career development opportunities. 

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WaterBear Education Ltd, Hanover House,
118 Queens Road, Brighton BN1 3XG, UK  Map

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1273 726230

WaterBear Sheffield, Unit 4, Gatecrasher,
49 Eyre Lane, Sheffield S1 4RB, UK

Email: [email protected]
Tel: +44 (0) 1143 992720

Why We're WaterBear...

- ‘Water bear’ is the common name for a Tardigrade.
- Tardigrades are micro creatures, found everywhere on earth.
- They are the most resilient creatures known.
- They can survive and adapt to their surroundings, even in outer space.
- Their resilience and ability to adapt and survive inspires us in everything we do. We love them.

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