Whilst there are many live music venues in West Yorkshire, the O2 Academy Leeds stands as one of the premier establishments in the city centre. Having hosted events that propelled little-known acts to worldwide household names, the 19th century entertainment venue has a detailed and lengthy history.
Let’s dive into some of the history of the site here:
History of the Venue
The O2 Academy in Leeds was opened in 1885 by Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Prince Albert, later to become King Edward VII. The building was originally known as the Coliseum and was used for a variety of different purposes, from a classical musical hall to stage production theatre and later a cinema.
The Coliseum was one of the first buildings in Leeds to feature electric lighting and boasted some of the finest accommodations of the period, so much so that Price Albert dined there during his Royal Visit. The venue was praised for its excellent acoustics and, whilst the lighting was considered poor at the time, the Coliseum was welcomed as a new landmark in Leeds.
Throughout the 20th century, the Coliseum was bought and sold, with numerous parties taking ownership and repurposing it. A huge refurbishment was undertaken prior to 1938, rebranding as the Gaumont Theatre, at which point it primarily became a cinema. The cinema closed in 1961, and the building fell into disuse, eventually being used as a bingo hall until the early 90s.
In 1992, the building was repurposed once again and reopened as the Town and Country Club and staged gigs from popular musicians like Morrisey, Motorhead, Green Day and Foo Fighters, among many others. Further footfall was brought from gigs and shows by David Bowie, Robbie Williams and Marillion, artists that today, need very little introduction.
2001 — Refurbishment
At the turn of the Millennium, the venue underwent a huge refurbishment once again and reopened in 2001 as Creation nightclub. The club was a popular haunt and staple of the city centre nightlife with DJs putting on a performance until the early hours, accommodating revellers numbering in their thousands.
Tragedy would befall the venue however; after a man was shot at the club in May 2006. Aaron Watson died 9 days later, and his murder is still unsolved. Creation closed its doors shortly thereafter, in February 2007.
2007 — Acquirement by AMG/Live Nation
By November of 2007, a new license had been granted on the venue to Academy Music Group — sponsored by Carling, the new owners took the newly dubbed Leeds Academy to dizzying new heights. A year later in 2008, AMG would begin a partnership with mobile giant O2, and rebrand its venues as O2 Academies.
The O2 Academy Leeds is now one of 18 venues owned and operated by Academy Music Group and has seen its greatest period of success over the past 16 years. The Academy has achieved multiple awards including UK’s favourite venue in 2010. The venue, despite its age, is top choice for music promotors and artists from around the world and continues to draw crowds from the surrounding area and further afield.
An Astounding Lineup of Live Music
Recent live shows
The O2 Academy Leeds hosts a diverse array of live music from popular chart artists to heavy metal and alternative groups.
In recent months, the venue has been home to performances by Mahalia, Skindred, Dashboard Confessional and Funeral for a Friend. More recent acts include Electric Callboy with support form Monuments and As Everything Unfolds, and Freya Ridings with support from Tors and Ewan J. Philips.
In the coming months, the O2 Academy Leeds will continue to put on events for some of the biggest names in the music scene.
Corey Taylor, Mcfly, Scouting for Girls, Lorna Shore, Ashnikko, The Darkness, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Simple Plan, Example
For more information and to purchase tickets to O2 Academy events — view their listings page here: