We Love Southampton
O2 Guildhall Southampton is the South's largest multipurpose entertainment venue. Hosting some of the biggest names in music from Pink Floyd & David Bowie in the 70's to present day bands such as Hard Fi, Manic Street Preachers, The Killers, The Kaiser Chiefs & Amy Winehouse. With a capacity of 1,749 and in the heart of the city centre, 10 minutes from the railway station, amidst cafes, restaurants and shops it's the place to be!
Proposals to build a 'Town Hall' existed in 1878 and after 51 years of discussion the construction work began in 1929. In 1934 the decision to build the Guildhall was made and work was started taking nearly three years to complete due to the scarcity of material and labour.
In 1937 a brand new state-of-the-art Guildhall, built in classical style of the 1930s, was opened by the 17th Earl of Derby and is today part of a Grade 2* listed building. Incorporated into the building of the Guildhall was the John Compton Dual Console Pipe Organ unique instrument taking two years to build and is probably worth around £1 million.
The organ survived WWII without a scratch even when an unexploded bomb landed right in the centre of the hall. It is still in working order and played at Civil and graduation ceremonies.
The Guildhall's resident Bert Osborne Band, in true theatrical tradition, insisted that the show must go on and played regularly throughout the war years and after; great artists including Paul Robson, Beniamino Gigli graced the stage along with many others, musicians, pop stars, comedians, jazz and military bands and so on.
In the seventies a different sound arrived at the Guildhall - Rock Bands bringing Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, and David Bowie. In the early eighties the Guildhall attracted artistes from America, Gloria Gaynor, Victor Borge, and live broadcasting with the BBC Antiques Roadshow.
In 1989 the good news came that the Guildhall was to be refurbished, enhancing its facilities to meet the challenges of entertainment needs, taking it into the 21st century.
On the 10th February 2003 Live Nation took over the management of the Guildhall, Live Nation has since presented artists and performers at the Guildhall that would not otherwise have come to Southampton. In 2006 Southampton Guildhall won the Live Nation Venue Of The Year award, the venue continues to bring big names in music to the stage.
In 2013 Live Nation struck a deal with O2 and Southampton Guildhall is now known as the O2 Guildhall Southampton, between Live Nation and O2 the Guildhall is onwards and upwards to achieving great things!