Transformation of Colston Hall set to generate over £400 million

The multimillion pound transformation plans for Colston Hall could help to generate a total of £412.5 million for the UK economy over the course of 20 years from 2020, according to an independent report by professional services firm KPMG.

In 2018, the Hall will close to undergo a major redevelopment, bringing substantial economic benefits for the city and the wider UK economy when the venue reopens in 2020.

The report considers the impact that the Hall will have on the economy once the transformation of the concert halls and backstage areas are completed, and the impact that will be generated through the increase in audience capacity of 30%* and an estimated 54% increase in the number of performances. There is also expected to be a positive impact on employment following the Hall reopening of nearly 50 extra jobs**.

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of Bristol Music Trust, said: “We’ve clearly set out how our transformation will create a world-class performance and education venue that will benefit Bristol, the region and beyond.

“The £48.8 million transformation planned for the Hall will form Bristol’s biggest ever redevelopment programme in the arts sector, delivering a leading European, national and regional centre for the performing arts and enhancing the Hall’s educational capabilities, particularly for those with special educational needs and disabilities.

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive of Bristol Music Trust with James Durie, Business West

“But arts and cultural sector organisations must also demonstrate their value to the local economy. The Trust must play its part to help the region prosper. The KPMG report shows that this investment in the venue will deliver substantial returns to the economy. Over half of the money produced by the new venue would be generated in Bristol and will support the city to economically thrive and grow.”

Andrew Hodgson, senior partner for KPMG in Bristol, said: “Our report indicates that the new venue is expected to generate a total of £412.5 million for the UK economy in the first 20 years after the redevelopment is completed.  It’s clear that Colston Hall not only plays a major part in Bristol’s unique cultural scene, but also has a significant financial role to boot.”

Rosa Corbishley, Head of Development at Colston Hall with Louise Mitchell.

The transformation, which started eight years ago with the first phase of unveiling of the new foyer, includes plans to upgrade the Main Hall and The Lantern, whilst the cellars are also set to play host to a third venue alongside a world-class education space for young people.

The full report and more information about our transformation can be found at

Local backing for our transformation

Local organisations backing Colston Hall’s transformation include Business West, UWE Bristol and Destination Bristol:

James Durie, Chief Executive of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West, said: “The figures speak for themselves in terms of the economic contribution Colston Hall is expected to make both locally and nationally. As a crucial part of Bristol’s vibrant arts and cultural offer, the Hall plays an important role for local people, helps attract many other people to visit and also plays a part in businesses to want to locate themselves or set up here. Speaking on behalf of the city region’s business community our cultural assets really matter and we believe this transformation of the Hall is essential and an investment in Bristol and the South West region’s future.”

Steve West CBE, Vice Chancellor of University of the West of England, said: “Bristol’s cultural landscape is such a vital part of its unique DNA that we must protect it and ensure the city remains culturally resilient. Colston Hall has been a major asset in Bristol for the last 150 years and its ambitious redevelopment will transform it into one of the UK’s leading concert venues and music education centres, providing wide-ranging musical experiences for the people of Bristol and beyond.”

John Hirst, Chief Executive of Destination Bristol, said: “Bristol has recently been named the UK’s best place to live, also one of the top five most inspiring cities and the number one city to spend a weekend. Bristol is renowned for its quirky independent spirit and enviable cultural scene. This combined with a long list of other great attractions, famous events and festivals all result in the city additional attracting visitor numbers. The multi million pound transformation of Colston Hall into an international standard concert venue will also help to make sure Bristol retains its cultural leadership for many years to come.”

* This increase in capacity is across all Halls if attendees are standing only.
**The additional jobs are the total average annual full time equivalent (FTE) employment that could potentially be sustained for the twenty year period from 2020.