Where to see the best live music in Exeter 

Live music fans won’t be disappointed when they visit Exeter – you’ll find a multitude of events happening every night of the week in and around the city centre. Exeter has always had a vibrant arts scene, thanks in no small part to the presence of the University students. Your hardest decision will be to narrow down your options and decide on one thing to do! Here are some of the most popular music venues in Exeter. It’s by no means an exhaustive list and there is plenty more to choose from – let us know your favourite live music haunts!


Exeter Phoenix

Exeter Phoenix is a multi-arts centre and music venue and it’s a hub for many local creatives. It has a well-equipped café along with rehearsal space, exhibition space and production studios, so it’s far more than just a music venue. You can also catch a film or a play here, watch comedy or talks, and take part in creative courses, classes and workshops. The Phoenix tends to host some of the bigger bands and solo artists that pass through Exeter on tour, with a capacity of over 400 standing in the main auditorium. A visit to this creative hub in Exeter cannot fail to leave you inspired and buzzing with your own creative ideas.


Exeter University

The University has long played host to lots of world-class musicians and bands, both in the main venue – the Great Hall – and also the Lemon Grove (which is part of the Students’ Guild but open to anyone). Both of these venues host regular nights of live music across all genres including classical, rock, folk, R&B, rap and DJ/house music. The University is responsible for much of the creative output in the city, and its students often attend one of the many open mic nights that are on offer on any given night across the town.


The Cavern

Exeter Cavern is iconic and has played host to many bands who have gone on to achieve amazing things. Bands such as Biffy Clyro, Kaiser Chiefs and the Cranberries are just some of the huge acts who have played at the Cavern. A victim of the pandemic, Exeter Cavern struggled during the multiple lockdowns and live music temporarily came to an end. However, it has now reopened as a café, and the hope is that live music returns again before too long. This is an important part of Exeter’s rich history and locals are very keen for it to be preserved, even setting up a fundraising campaign to secure its future.


The Barnfield Theatre

The Barnfield Theatre building dates back to 1890 and at one point was a tax office! It’s now a 100% independent charity putting on plays and live music events in conjunction with the Northcott Theatre. With traditional tiered seating, this is a memorable venue in which to take in your favourite cultural experiences with an unobstructed view of the stage.


Now that the pandemic seems to finally be behind us, it’s never been a better time to explore Exeter and its brilliant nightlife, supporting the bands and musicians who have been unable to perform for so long. If you’re planning a visit, take a look at Facebook to see which local events are happening. We guarantee you’ll be spoilt for choice!

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