The venue was previously known as The Hummingbird and the Top Rank Ballroom
One of Birmingham's most storied venues, which has lain dormant for most of the past decade, will reopen this summer as Forum Birmingham.
The venue will host both live music and club nights, and has a capacity of 3,500… and an impressive history. It opened as The Ballroom in the 1960s, before being renamed as the Top Rank Ballroom when ownership passed to the Rank Organisation (a film production company that also owned a record label, Odeon Cinemas, numerous motorway services, a big chunk of ITV and, ooh, lots of things, including Ballrooms in most major UK cities). In this guise it hosted gigs by everyone from Wizzard and The Sweet to Bob Marley to The Jam, The Clash and The Stranglers, before closing its doors in 1981.
It then reopened as The Hummingbird [pictured below] in 1984, playing host to the likes of Nirvana, Sonic Youth and The Beastie Boys before closing again in 1994. Since the turn of the millennium, it's had further stints as Carling Academy (2002-08), 02 Academy (2009-9) and The Ballroom again (2011-2013)
Now, the venue has been brought back to life by Global Venues, the Birmingham-based company behind Que Club and The Void. They've restored the original sprung wooden dancefloor, and installed a soundsystem by d&b audiotechnik, which will be augmented by visuals from DMX Productions, another Brum-based outfit whose CV includes stage lighting for Glastonbury and other leading festivals.
And the music? We're told it will be “expertly curated by a combination of dedicated in-house and red hot external promoters, and encompass all shades of live and electronic music from a diverse mix of inimitable artists. National promoters already confirmed include AEG, Goldenvoice, Kilimanjaro Live and Cream, with local Birmingham promoters Leftfoot, Shadow City and Foliée already working on their first events. Full line-ups will be revealed at the end of April.”
Global Venues CEO Billy Chauhan said: “Prior to the pandemic, a quarter of a million people in the West Midlands worked in the culture, media and night-time industries, and the relaunch of this historic venue will help to refuel this damaged part of our local economy. We’re also extremely passionate about preserving Birmingham’s musical heritage and our work culminates with Forum Birmingham."
For more information, see Forum Birmingham's own website.