Colston Hall’s Thank You for the Music campaign

9 December 2014, News

Colston Hall has been a cultural hub in the heart of Bristol for almost 150 years, offering a wide range of inspiring and often ground-breaking music, arts and cultural experiences to audiences of 200,000 each year. In 2013 they played host to over 7,000 artists and musicians.

Bristol Music Trust is responsible for the operation of Colston Hall and has a unique role to play as a music education hub, delivering a comprehensive education and engagement programme to young people across the South West.

In September 2014, JBP launched Colston Hall’s transformation campaign, Thank You for the Music. This long-awaited redevelopment will not just secure the future of Colston Hall; it will ensure the Hall plays its part in reinforcing the UK’s reputation as a leader in the cultural and creative industries.

The focus of the campaign is to:

  • Open up additional funding streams for the redevelopment of Colston Hall
  • Achieve national, regional and local support of the Thank You for the Music campaign, politically and publically
  • Promote Colston Hall as a regional arts centre of national significance, delivering an ambitious programme of entertainment, education and enterprise
  • Develop a Creative, Enterprise and Music Education Centre (CEMEC), to provide a dynamic resource for music in the South West and beyond

Working closely alongside Bristol Music Trust’s marketing and fundraising team, under the leadership of chief executive Louise Mitchell, JBP set about developing Colston Hall’s relationship with the press and influential stakeholders. This involved building a strong engagement platform with political parties and local businesses by promoting the need for the transformation.

Key tactical elements of the campaign include:

  • An official transformation media launch event at the Hall in September, with a recent performer providing the entertainment and speeches from Stephen Williams MP (DCLG Minister and in whose ward Colston Hall sits) and local business sponsor, Renishaw, with around 100 local business and political attendees
  • The creation of a ‘Strategic Blueprint’ – a visioning document that positions Colston Hall as a National Centre for Entertainment, Education and Enterprise, which can be used to brief key target sources
  • Securing cross party support in Bristol from the Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative and Green party groups, for the plans. Using our local knowledge and existing relationships, we have been able to achieve this early on in the campaign
  • Emphasising Colston Hall’s role as a world-class learning centre that engages school children and adults from all backgrounds and levels of ability


Whilst the campaign is still in its infancy, JBP has already achieved cross party support in Bristol, the backing of all local MPs, and a visit from the head of arts at DCMS.

The initial campaign media launch and subsequent media announcements on the Strategic Blueprint and visits from MPs have ensured a constant stream of news over the last two months.

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