Experience The Vibrant Music Scene Of Cambridge With Live Music Cambridge

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Welcome to the world of live music in Cambridge, UK! Are you a music lover but not sure where to find the best live music in town? Fear not, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore the vibrant live music scene in Cambridge and show you where to find the hottest gigs, no matter what your musical taste is.

By the end of this article, you will not only know where to find the best live music events in Cambridge but also how to get the most out of your gig experience. Whether you’re a seasoned music enthusiast or a newcomer to the live music scene, this article will provide you with everything you need to have an unforgettable time.

From bustling bars to intimate venues, the live music scene in Cambridge is thriving. We’ll share with you some insider tips on where to find the best gigs, how to book tickets, and what to expect once you’re there. Don’t just take our word for it – we’ve done the research, talked to local musicians and music lovers, and compiled a comprehensive guide that’s sure to get your feet tapping and your heart singing. So, get ready to discover the hidden gems of Cambridge’s live music scene, and get ready to have some serious fun!

The Best Live Music Venues in Cambridge

Cambridge boasts a lively music scene that is home to some of the most celebrated venues in the country. Thanks to its vibrant student population and thriving arts community, this historic city is a melting pot of diverse musical genres, ranging from indie rock to classical chamber music. In this article, we have put together a guide to the best live music venues in Cambridge where you can enjoy top-notch performances by local and international acts.

The Junction

The Junction is one of the most prominent music and arts venues in Cambridge. Located in the heart of the city, it has a capacity of 850 and attracts a range of audiences ranging from students to families. The Junction has a long history of fostering talent, with performers such as Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, and PJ Harvey all having played there before their rise to fame. The venue is conveniently situated next to the railway station, making it easily accessible for visitors from out of town.

  • Facilities: The Junction has a well-stocked bar and café, as well as multiple performance spaces and a large auditorium. There is also a separate dance studio, which hosts regular dance classes and workshops.
  • Music genres: The Junction is known for featuring an eclectic mix of musical genres, such as rock, pop, jazz, and world music. The venue also hosts comedy, theatre, and dance performances.
  • Pros: The Junction has a long-standing reputation as a premier city venue for live music, with some of the biggest names in music having graced its stage. The venue also has various performance spaces to cater to different audiences.
  • Cons: The Junction is a popular venue, so tickets can sell out fast for top performers. The main auditorium can also be quite cavernous, especially for smaller, more intimate gigs.
Category The Junction Cambridge Corn Exchange The Portland Arms
Capacity 850 1850 200
Location City center City center Residential area
Genres Rock, pop, jazz, world music, comedy, theatre, dance Classical, orchestral, choral, pop, rock, jazz, comedy, theatre, dance Indie, rock, folk, acoustic, open mic nights
Pros Variety of performance spaces, convenient location, history of fostering talent Large capacity, diverse musical genres, excellent acoustics Intimate setting, great for up-and-coming bands, thriving local music scene
Cons Popular, tickets sell out fast, main auditorium can be cavernous Can be expensive, limited parking, can be difficult to book last minute No dedicated parking, limited seating, no on-site bar

One of the standout features of The Junction is its flexible performance spaces. In addition to the main auditorium, which hosts high-profile acts, The Junction also has several smaller spaces including The J2, The J3, and The JN1. The J2 is a mid-sized space that can accommodate up to 250 people and is perfect for more intimate gigs. The J3 is an even smaller space that can hold up to 75 people and is often used for experimental or contemporary performances. The JN1, meanwhile, is a space specifically designed for young people, with events ranging from youth theatre to music workshops.

The Junction’s history of fostering talent is also worth mentioning. The venue has a strong commitment to supporting up-and-coming bands and artists, regularly hosting showcases and open mic nights. This has led to several local bands and performers breaking through to the national stage, including alt-J, who played their first gig at The Junction in 2007.

Despite its popularity, The Junction has some downsides. Tickets for big-name acts can sell out fast, leaving many disappointed fans. Additionally, the main auditorium can be cavernous, with some gigs lacking intimacy and connection between performer and audience. However, these issues are offset by The Junction’s reputation as one of the city’s premier venues for live music and its commitment to supporting local talent.

Why Cambridge is a Hub for Live Music:

Cambridge, located in the heart of England, is well-known for being home to one of the most prestigious universities in the world. But aside from its academic excellence, the city is also a hub for live music. Here are the reasons why Cambridge is the go-to place for live music enthusiasts:

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Rich Music Heritage

Cambridge has a rich music heritage that dates back to the 16th century. The city has produced some of the most influential figures in the history of music, including Charles Stanford, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and David Bowie. Cambridge is also the birthplace of Pink Floyd, who played their first gig at the city’s Corn Exchange in 1966.

Moreover, Cambridge’s music heritage is not limited to classical and rock music. The city also has a thriving folk music scene, which has produced some of the most popular folk artists in the country, such as June Tabor and Martin Carthy.

Booming Music Scene

Aside from its rich music heritage, Cambridge also has a booming music scene. The city has a diverse range of music venues and events that cater to different musical tastes. The Corn Exchange, for instance, is one of the city’s most popular venues for live music. The 1,800-capacity venue is known for hosting some of the biggest names in music, including Coldplay and Nirvana.

Cambridge also has a thriving underground music scene, with venues like The Portland Arms and The Blue Moon showcasing up-and-coming acts from different genres. These venues provide a platform for local artists to showcase their talent and potentially get discovered by music industry professionals.

Supportive Music Community

Cambridge’s music scene owes much of its success to its supportive music community. Musicians in the city are known for collaborating and supporting each other, which has led to the growth of the local music scene. This close-knit community has also made it easier for local artists to get gigs and network with other musicians.

Moreover, the music community in Cambridge is not limited to musicians. The city also has a network of music promoters, managers, and industry professionals who support local artists and help them to grow their careers.

Table: Pros and Cons of Live Music in Cambridge

Pros Cons
  • Diverse range of music genres
  • Thriving underground music scene
  • Supportive music community
  • Well-known music venues
  • Opportunities for local artists to get gigs
  • High competition among local artists
  • Expensive cost of living
  • Traffic congestion and limited parking
  • Businesses closing down due to the COVID-19 pandemic


Cambridge’s rich music heritage, booming music scene, and supportive music community make it the perfect destination for live music enthusiasts. The city’s diverse range of music genres, well-known music venues, and thriving underground music scene provide endless opportunities for local artists to showcase their talent and potentially make a name for themselves in the music industry. However, like any other city, Cambridge also has its cons, such as high competition among local artists, expensive cost of living, and traffic congestion. Nonetheless, the pros outweigh the cons, making Cambridge a true hub for live music.

Exploring the Local Live Music Scene in Cambridge

When it comes to live music, the city of Cambridge has a lot to offer. Whether you’re a music lover looking for something new, or an artist searching for the perfect platform to showcase your talent, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant city. In this article, we’ll explore the local live music scene in Cambridge and highlight some of the best places to catch a great live show.

The Best Venues for Live Music in Cambridge

If you’re looking for a great spot to catch some live music in Cambridge, there are plenty of venues to choose from. Here are some of the best:

  1. The Portland Arms: This cozy pub features live music from local and international acts several times a week. It’s a great spot for up-and-coming artists looking to get noticed.
  2. The Junction: This larger venue hosts live music, theatre, and dance performances from a variety of artists. With multiple stages and a great sound system, it’s a favorite among Cambridge music fans.
  3. The Boathouse: Located on the banks of the River Cam, this pub and restaurant features live music on the weekends. It’s a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
  4. The Blue Moon: This intimate venue has been a mainstay of the Cambridge music scene for over 20 years. It features live music from local and touring acts, as well as regular open mic nights.

Genres of Live Music You can Find in Cambridge

From indie rock to classical music, Cambridge has a diverse live music scene that offers something for every taste. Here are some of the genres you can find in the city:

  • Indie rock: With a thriving indie music scene, you’ll find plenty of local indie bands playing at venues like The Portland Arms and The Blue Moon.
  • Jazz: The Cambridge Jazz Festival takes place every year in July, featuring a lineup of international and local jazz musicians.
  • Classical music: Cambridge is home to world-class classical music venues, including King’s College Chapel and Cambridge Corn Exchange.
  • Folk music: You can catch live folk music at venues like The Boathouse, as well as at The Cambridge Folk Festival, which takes place every August.

The Pros and Cons of Live Music in Cambridge

While there are many great things about the live music scene in Cambridge, there are also some drawbacks to keep in mind. Here’s a look at the pros and cons:

Pros Cons
You’ll have access to a wide range of music genres and venues. Some venues can be quite small and crowded, making it difficult to enjoy the show.
There are plenty of opportunities for up-and-coming artists to showcase their talent. Tickets for larger shows can be expensive.
The local music scene is welcoming and supportive. Not all venues have a great sound system or acoustics, which can impact the quality of the performance.
With a dynamic mix of international and local acts, you’ll never run out of things to see and do. Some venues may not have age limits, which can make the experience less enjoyable for older music fans.

Whether you’re a music lover or an artist, there’s plenty to love about the live music scene in Cambridge. With a variety of genres and venues to choose from, it’s easy to find something that suits your style. So why not get out there and find your next favorite band or artist?

Cambridge’s Top Live Music Events and Festivals

Cambridge, with its rich cultural heritage and historic roots, is home to a thriving music scene. The city is not only famous for its world-class universities, but also for its top live music events and festivals that attract visitors from around the globe. The city has something for everyone, from classical to jazz, folk to rock, and everything in between. Here are the top live music events and festivals that you cannot afford to miss in Cambridge!

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1. Cambridge Folk Festival

As one of the most prominent folk music events in Europe, the Cambridge Folk Festival attracts crowds of thousands. Taking place over four days in the picturesque surroundings of Cherry Hinton Hall, the festival showcases the best of traditional and contemporary folk music, as well as other genres such as bluegrass, country, and Americana.

The festival has seen some legendary artists perform on its stages, including Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Paul Simon. Alongside the music, the festival also offers delicious food, a variety of stalls selling arts and crafts, and a family-friendly atmosphere.

2. Cambridge Jazz Festival

The Cambridge Jazz Festival is a week-long celebration of jazz music held in the heart of the city. With a packed program of free events, workshops, and ticketed shows, the festival attracts audiences of all ages and backgrounds.

Featuring some of the best jazz musicians from around the world, the festival showcases a diverse range of styles, from traditional swing to contemporary experimental sounds. The festival also offers opportunities for young and emerging musicians to showcase their talent through various workshops and jam sessions.

3. Big Weekend

Organized by the BBC, the Big Weekend is one of the biggest free music festivals in the UK. Held in Parker’s Piece, the festival gathers the most popular artists from different genres, ranging from pop to hip-hop, and from electronic to rock.

The festival attracts a diverse audience, including families with young children, students, and music enthusiasts. The festival’s organizers offer a variety of activities alongside the music, such as food stalls and funfair rides.

4. Cambridge Summer Music Festival

The Cambridge Summer Music Festival is an annual celebration of classical music held in various venues across the city. With a program of concerts, recitals, and masterclasses, the festival attracts music lovers from around the world.

The festival features some of the most talented classical musicians, including internationally renowned soloists, orchestras, and ensembles. The performances take place in venues ranging from historic churches to modern concert halls.

  • The festival showcases a wide range of classical music styles, from Baroque to contemporary
  • The festival pays tribute to iconic classical musicians, such as Claudio Abbado and Igor Stravinsky
  • The festival offers opportunities for emerging classical musicians to perform alongside established professionals

Pros and Cons of Cambridge’s Top Live Music Events and Festivals

Pros Cons
Opportunities to discover new music and explore different genres Big crowds can make it difficult to move around and enjoy the music
A chance to experience live music in beautiful surroundings Some events can be expensive, especially for families and students
Diverse range of activities and entertainment on offer Weather conditions (heat, rain, wind) can affect outdoor events and potentially ruin the experience
The opportunity to meet new people and make new friends who share the same passion for live music Not all events are family-friendly, especially those held in bars and clubs

Whether you are a fan of folk, jazz, pop, or classical, Cambridge has something to offer for every music lover. These events not only showcase the best of live music but also provide opportunities to meet new people, explore different cultures and traditions, and create unforgettable memories. So, mark your calendars and get ready for an unforgettable musical journey in Cambridge!

How to Experience Live Music in Cambridge on a Budget

Cambridge is known for its vibrant music scene, offering a wide range of live music options to suit any taste. Whether you are a student, a visitor or a local, you can enjoy live music events without breaking the bank. In this article, we will guide you on how to experience live music in Cambridge on a budget.

1. Look for free events

Live music events are not always expensive. In fact, many venues in Cambridge offer free music events. You can keep a lookout for free gigs and concerts by visiting local websites, such as the Cambridge News and Cambridge Independent. Moreover, you can check out social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter to stay updated on the latest events.

If you are looking for free live music events in Cambridge, then check out the following venues:

  • The Grain & Hop Store – This pub located in Regent Street holds free live music events every Saturday from 8 pm to 11 pm.
  • The Blue Moon – This music venue located in Norfolk Street organizes free jam sessions every Wednesday from 8 pm onwards.
  • The Cambridge Arts Theatre – This venue holds free lunchtime concerts every Wednesday from 1 pm onwards.

2. Plan ahead

Planning ahead can help you save money on live music events. By purchasing your tickets in advance, you can take advantage of early bird discounts or group discounts. You can also sign up to newsletters of your favorite venues to get early access to tickets or special offers.

Some venues in Cambridge offer discounted tickets for students, so carry your student ID card with you to avail these discounts.

3. Share the cost with friends

Sharing the cost of live music events with friends can help you save money. You can plan a group outing to attend a concert or gig and share the cost of tickets, food, and drinks. Moreover, you can consider having a pre-concert get-together at home and bring your own drinks and snacks to save money.

4. Attend open mic nights

Open mic nights offer a great opportunity to experience live music in Cambridge on a budget. You can check out venues that host open mic nights and enjoy performances by local artists. Many venues offer free entry to open mic nights, and you can support local talent by leaving a tip.

You can find open mic nights in Cambridge at the following venues:

  • The Anchor – This pub located in Silver Street hosts open mic nights every Tuesday from 8 pm onwards.
  • The Portland Arms – This music venue located in Chesterton Road hosts open mic nights every Monday from 8 pm onwards.
  • The Flying Pig – This pub located in Hills Road hosts open mic nights every Wednesday from 8 pm onwards.

5. Look for multi-day festivals

Multi-day festivals offer a great opportunity to experience live music in Cambridge on a budget. Many festivals offer early bird discounts or multi-day discounts, which can help you save money.

Some of the popular multi-day festivals in Cambridge that you can attend on a budget are:

Festival Name Date Price Range
The Cambridge Folk Festival 29 July to 1 August 2021 Day tickets from £27
Weekend tickets from £86
Camping pitches from £78
The Cambridge Rock Festival 22 to 25 July 2021 Day tickets from £20
Weekend tickets from £80
Strawberry Fair 11 June 2022 Free Entry

By attending multi-day festivals, you can enjoy multiple live music performances and immerse yourself in the local music scene.

In conclusion, experiencing live music in Cambridge on a budget is possible by looking for free events, planning ahead, sharing the cost with friends, attending open mic nights, and exploring multi-day festivals. By utilizing these tips, you can enjoy live music events in Cambridge without burning a hole in your pocket.

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FAQs – Live Music Cambridge

What venues offer live music in Cambridge?

Cambridge is home to several venues that offer live music, such as The Portland Arms, The Junction, The Corn Exchange, The Cambridge Junction, The Boathouse, The Blue Moon, The Cambridge-Brewery, among others. These venues offer a diverse range of performances and cater to different types of audiences.

What type of music can I expect to hear in Cambridge?

Cambridge has a vibrant music scene and offers a diverse range of live music experiences, including classical, jazz, rock, indie, and electronic music. The city hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Cambridge Folk Festival, The Cambridge Jazz Festival, and Cambridge Live, which showcase a variety of musical genres.

How can I find out about upcoming live music events in Cambridge?

You can find out about upcoming live music events in Cambridge by checking online event calendars such as Visit Cambridge or by following local music venues or musicians on social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Local newspapers and magazines such as The Cambridge Tab and Cambridge News also provide listings of upcoming music events.

Are live music events expensive in Cambridge?

The cost of live music events in Cambridge varies depending on the venue, the type of music, and the popularity of the performer. Some venues offer free entry for live music events, while others charge an admission fee. However, most events in Cambridge are reasonably priced, and you can often find discounts or promotions offered by venues or event organizers.

Is there live music available every day in Cambridge?

Most live music venues in Cambridge offer events on specific days of the week, typically on weekends. However, some bars and smaller venues may offer live music throughout the week, so you may want to check their schedules for more information. Additionally, during certain times of the year, such as during festivals, live music events may be available throughout the week.

Can I bring children to live music events in Cambridge?

Most live music venues in Cambridge do not have age restrictions, but it is best to check with the venue before you attend. Some venues may have different rules for minors attending live music events, especially if alcohol is being served. For family-friendly events, the Cambridge Junction offers a range of children’s activities and shows focused on music.

How early should I arrive at a live music event in Cambridge?

The arrival time for a live music event in Cambridge depends on the venue and the popularity of the performer. It is recommended that you arrive early, especially if you are attending a popular event, as it will ensure that you can secure a good spot and avoid possible queues for entry at the venue.

Do I need to buy tickets in advance for live music events in Cambridge?

It is advisable to buy tickets in advance for popular live music events in Cambridge to secure a place and avoid disappointment, but it is not always necessary. Many venues offer online ticket purchases, and some events may also be sold through independent vendors such as Skiddle and Ticket Web. It is also possible to purchase tickets at the venue box office, but they may sell out beforehand.

Is there seating available at live music events in Cambridge?

The seating arrangement at live music events in Cambridge varies depending on the venue and the nature of the event. Some venues offer allocated seating or standing spaces, and others may offer both depending on their capacity. It is best to check with the venue before you attend to determine the seating arrangements in place.

Can I bring food and drinks to live music events in Cambridge?

Most live music venues in Cambridge do not allow outside food or drink to be brought into the venue at the event. However, most venues have bars or concession stands where you can buy drinks and snacks during the performance. The venue’s website or social media pages will likely provide more information regarding the venue’s policy.


In conclusion, Cambridge is a city with a thriving music scene, and there are many opportunities to experience live music throughout the year. From classical to jazz, rock to indie, the city provides a diverse range of musical genres for music lovers to enjoy. To find out about upcoming live music events, you can check various online event calendars, social media platforms, local newspapers, and magazines. Ensure that you arrive early to secure your spot and, if necessary, purchase tickets in advance to avoid disappointment.

After you enjoy live music in Cambridge, you can explore the city’s historical and cultural attractions, such as The Fitzwilliam Museum, The Cambridge University Botanic Garden, and The Round Church.

It’s time to experience live music in Cambridge, so go out and explore the city’s unique music scene. We hope this guide has been helpful, and if you’re looking for more exciting articles, check out our other travel guides!