Whilst other northern cities have claimed specific music scenes over the years, York has always kept its own eclectic array of live music happily under the radar. Now it is thriving as much as ever before. With theatres hosting big concerts, nightclubs welcoming guest DJs, and venues putting on upcoming acts, there are regular gigs to go to for all ages and genres. Here’s where to watch live music in York.

York Barbican

As the largest music and arts space in York, the Barbican has been a vital venue in the city’s scene for over 30 years. This popular hub brings some well known names to its stage, attracting fans to either 1500 seats or a 1900 standing capacity. Regular listings include comedy and sport as well as impressive music, from Paul Weller and The Unthanks through house classics and tribute bands to Jane McDonald and Ronan Keating.

The York Vaults

Opposite the city walls on Nunnery Lane is an independent venue which champions grassroots music in York. With gigs on most nights of every week, you can discover great emerging acts on the Vaults stage, as it provides a platform for local artists and upcoming bands to showcase their sounds. A proper live experience.

The National Centre for Early Music

As the leading advocate for young music in the UK, The National Centre for Early Music is a unique gem in York’s music scene. Housed in a Grade I listed ancient church, the building was transformed in 2000 into this special music space. It’s inclusive to all whilst nurturing talent, and hosts regular live concerts and festivals to showcase the best folk, jazz, early music and world music.


Kuda is a late night club set in an old Grade II listed building which provides high energy good times across three floors. You can get the party started with cocktails at the Tiki Bar and unwind in style at the VIP Lounge, before hitting the dance floor at Kuda Club, where some of the best DJs in the north of England play live to the unique space and surrounding balcony.

FortyFive Vinyl Cafe

Take a delightful visit to Micklegate where the timeless FortyFive Vinyl Cafe provides good times. The cafe serves sumptuous grilled cheese, original brand coffee and a range of booze. The record store offers hours of great records to flick through. And to top it off, there is regular live music performances, which are filmed and recorded for their Live At FortyFive YouTube channel.

The Hop

The Hop is an Ossett Brewery bar on Fossgate that attracts the people of York for their great ales and top atmosphere. With a focus on good music too, The Hop emphasises this with live music every week, when The Hop plays host to a line up of acoustic artists and local bands in an enjoyably intimate setting.

The Habit

This laid back cafe bar on Goodramgate is a wonderfully relaxed visit for good booze and pizza. Their rooftop terrace is a joy, with views of York Minster, and from here you can enjoy live music most evenings from York musicians. And for that perfect lazy Sunday afternoon come along for their enjoyably chilled jazz sessions.

The Fulford Arms

On the edge of York centre in Fulford is a pub which has transformed into a tremendous music venue. The Fulford Arms puts on a great line up of gigs from local national and international acts in their super 150 capacity space. More than just a pub.

The Crescent

This working men’s club was saved from closure and renovated into the gem of a venue that The Crescent has become. Retaining the community feel whilst becoming a hub of cool music, a look at their listings will show live gigs in their 250 capacity room every night from hot new bands and respected artists. A vital cog of the York music scene.

Images: The Fulford Arms, York Barbican, The National Centre for Early Music, The Crescent