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WaterBear Venue shines a light on the Brighton music scene 

Posted on February 6, 2024

To celebrate Independent Venue Week we thought we’d shine a light on our very own live music venue on Brighton seafront, the WaterBear Venue. The venue is fast becoming an established mainstay of the Brighton music scene and much-loved space for students, performers and visitors alike.  

It first opened its doors in 2021 when the music industry was still in flux as a fallout of the pandemic, and live music was mostly online. From that time, it was collectively realised that live music and community had never been more important. 

Since opening over 800 bands and artists including WaterBear students have graced its stage. This highlights the buoyant music scene in Brighton alongside the need for great music venues in the UK. The intimate space allows every performer and artist to shine encouraging creativity where music, community and diversity are celebrated. 

Promoting independence for a sustainable career in music

To promote the independent artist and support a sustainable career within music our careers and industry team work to create a mix of performance opportunities and work experience for students. This is to give them essential real world experience and insights of working at a professional level within the music industry. 

The WaterBear Venue is a great platform to help drive that vision. Students use the space for performance classes, freshers' events and self-organised gigs and events. Students are also given the opportunity to work at the venue and shadow the sound engineers and the events team. To further support students in their professional development the venue also hosts a variety of masterclasses and Q&A sessions from industry professionals such as record labels, festival owners, tour managers, musicians, bands and artists such as Royal Blood and Idles throughout the year. During Brighton Freshers 2023 our students also had the opportunity to support ARXX, Libra Libra, Milkshake, Kid Bookie and Zuzu alongside running their own night with a set of student bands, Grin and Bear it. 

The Great Escape Festival

The WaterBear Venue is bookable for touring bands and was chosen as one of the official venues of the Great Escape Festival in 2022 and 2023. WaterBear students were given the opportunity to perform at the festival alongside bands and artists from all over world. During the event students also gained work experience in areas such as event management, backline tech, artists liaison and sound engineering. Held in May each year the festival showcases over 500 up and coming artists to industry across 35 venues in Brighton and Hove. The venue is pleased to say they have been chosen again as an official venue in 2024 and look forward to a week of new music and activity where the whole of Brighton will be buzzing.  

A Night of Amy Winehouse

More recently the venue held a ‘A Night of Amy Winehouse’, a celebration of her incredible catalogue of work featuring Amy’s original band who toured globally with her. Seventeen WaterBear vocalists were given the chance to perform alongside the band honouring the memory of Amy and her important musical legacy, giving students an unforgettable live performance experience alongside world class industry professionals.  

WaterBear student Matilda Sharpe who is studying BA (Hons) Professional Music (Songwriting) commented: “Amy Winehouse is such a huge inspiration for me that when this opportunity came about, I couldn’t quite believe it! The song I performed means so much to me and on the night, I was so nervous. But it was such a breathtaking experience, especially with a skilled band like them, that it’s one I’ll always hold close to me. I just hope I did Amy proud!” 

Creating world class performers in a worldwide industry 

Our BA and MA students have a diverse range of musical interests and include songwriters, vocalists, electronic artists, DJs, drummers, guitarists, bassists, producers, alongside those interested in the music business. The pull of the stage is great, and a live music platform is essential for the growth and development of new artists, musicians, grassroots music, and the music industry as whole. Supporting new artists and musicians creates world class performers in a worldwide industry. 

Both of the WaterBear campuses in Brighton and Sheffield are city-wide and students have access to many other independent music venues and recording studios such as Alphabet in Brighton and The Leadmill in Sheffield. They are used by our students for gig nights, performance workshops and teaching spaces ensuring students gain access and experience in working venues to network and gain invaluable professional industry experience. 

Building careers in industry 

The WaterBear careers and Industry team work tirelessly to bring the best of music to the WaterBear Venue and create incredible student experiences and opportunities. 

Jodie Amos, Head of Events at WaterBear comments: “The music scene in Brighton is outstanding and there is such a wealth of talent in the city, our students continuously blow us away. To see our students grow in confidence and start building their careers makes all the hard work worth it. As a working venue we attract a diverse range of bands and artists and its real joy to help manage this wonderful venue which is in one of the most fantastic locations in Brighton”. 


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

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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 WaterBear is about smaller class sizes, flexible course delivery, bespoke one-to-one mentoring and exclusive work experience and career development opportunities. 

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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.

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

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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