1883 Magazine

When you go to see live music, it is not just the acts themselves that determine whether it will be a good night or a great one, the venue often plays a major part. The decor and aesthetics create a certain atmosphere, one that can leave lasting impressions on all that visit. And what surroundings could be better than a grand marquee erected in a charmingly picturesque yet deliciously quirky garden smack bang in the middle of London. This idyllic place I speak of is The Roof Gardens in Kensington, London. 


Alongside other equally fun events, every Friday and Saturday, high above the bustling streets of Kensington, live acts entice, enthrall and excite crowds in the Tudor Garden. By day this space, which comprises one of three uniquely beautiful, man-made gardens, is the peaceful home of Bill, Ben, Splosh and Pecks, the gardens’ resident flamingos and by night it’s one of the hottest venues in town.


The music nights at The Roof Gardens - a venue that was brought by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Limited Edition in 1983 - have managed to shine brightly against a sea of other events in the competitive and eclectic mix that make up the London music scene. So much so, that by a panel of esteemed judges including Mark Armstrong and singer Paul Young, it was awarded the accolade of Best Live Music Venue at The 2012 London Club Awards.


This recognition and critical acclaim has a lot to do with the work of one man, Craig Nightingale. The Promotions Executive - who has worked in the music industry for most of his professional career - came to The Roof Gardens in 2010 after spending some time in Italy organizing music events and club nights. The key to Craig’s job is to find the absolute best in what London has to offer whether that be established acts or emerging talent, international or homegrown. To do this, he scouts hundreds of gigs, both well publicised and underground, and offers them a platform to showcase their craft. His reputation has also led to many an act getting in contact with him, hoping for the opportunity to share their music.

The incredibly successful Live Music Programme at the The Roof Gardens have run all through the winter. The events are set to continue throughout March, then take a brief summer hiatus, starting up again in October of this year.

Keen to keep variety and continue to distinguish the venue from their competition, Craig Nightingale brought in alternative nights to the traditional music acts. This included The Roof Gardens’ very first comedy night which took place last week to a sell-out audience. Its great success was a positive confirmation that many more will follow, and one has already been put in the diary for 15 March. Continuing its efforts to offer visitors something new and different, the 16 March will see the venues first ever live musical. The theatre show, entitled Every Man for Herself, is a comedy set in Italy as World War II breaks and follows the characters as they deal with the fearful times brought on by the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.

As well as these new endeavors, in the coming weeks The Roof Gardens will play host to an array of emerging musical talents including four piece rock indie band Taxirun (1 March) and emphatic singer/songwriters Times Red (8 March).

Tickets can be purchased on Ticketweb for £15 or on the door for £20 and both include entry to the club.

For more information visit www.roofgardens.virgin.com.

By Victoria Gardiner

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