Last night, Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor for City Economy, Finance, and Performance, reopened the Bristol Beacon after major investment, particularly from Bristol City Council. His speech can be found below.
Last week, I joined Craig; Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor for Children’s Services, Education, and Equalities; and Louise Mitchell, CEO of the Bristol Beacon/Bristol Music Trust, to unveil a plaque ahead of a soft opening.
“I just want to start by saying that I am so proud to be here this evening. As an 11 year old boy I came to see Gary Numan here, my first ever gig and it stoked a love of live music in me that continues to this day.
“I want to say a massive thank you to the teams of people who made this possible. Louise for her vision and drive and all the Bristol Music Trust team, all the project and programme managers, planners and other staff at the council who supported this development, the architects, acoustician and the other technical experts responsible for much of what you see. And finally to the amazing work of Wilmott Dixon in delivering on that vision and those technical requirements.
“Unlike Gary Numan I won’t be singing or whipping out a synth but I do want to blow my own trumpet a little and recognise what a long and difficult journey we have all been on to get here.
“Not only was the building in bad shape, but we uncovered things like Elizabethan wells and Victorian ranges, we had to overcome Brexit supply issues, a global pandemic and the resulting tough economic headwinds.
“In the face of opposition, cynicism, and budget pressures, we’ve stayed the course and delivered for Bristol. The Council, the Trust and the project took criticism at times, but I hope you can agree as we stand here now that by remaining determined throughout all of that we made the right decision; an international standard venue, here in the centre of Bristol. A building in which people will laugh and cry and be carried away by music.
“And, as a Bristolian, it’s amazing to think that this building has been providing entertainment for Bristolians for a 150 years, and that we have just put it on a path for the next 150.
“By making this investment, and by changing the name, we have made it a physical place for all of Bristol to enjoy, use and be proud of.
“Of course, this is hasn’t just been an investment in this building. This in an investment into the ecosystem of the Bristol music scene, an investment in Bristol’s talent, an investment in Bristol’s diversity, an investment in a city which over the years has seen us produce huge global acts and world class musicians.
“Punching well above our own weight. (I should insert a joke about the boxing being held here in the past but…)
“I’m excited to think that the next big thing from Bristol could start their journey in the studios below, perform in the Lantern and end up selling out the main hall. And whilst no one but the artists can take the credit for that, we can say that we played a part by creating this.
“An exciting evening, more to come and so it just remains for me to thank you for being here and I hope you enjoy the evening.”