AFTER YEARS of controversy surrounding its name, Bristol’s Colston Hall has chosen a new one, Bristol Beacon, with immediate effect.
Previously named after 17th century slave trader and philanthropist Edward Colston, the hall launched a consultation on the issue in 2017, which has involved 4,000 people and several live events.
But the search for a new name took on greater urgency this summer following the toppling of a statue of Colston by Black Lives Matter protesters in the city centre, a few hundred yards from the hall entrance (see LIVE UK, June 2019).
Formerly with a capacity of 1,932, the hall is undergoing a £50 million redevelopment which will increase seating to 2,100, and is expected to reopen in 2021.
Louise Mitchell, chief executive of operator Bristol Music Trust (BMT), described the new name as, “A symbol of hope and community. A focal point for music in the city. A place of welcome, warmth and light.”
“The new name takes our former hall, the Lantern [cap. 350] as its inspiration so it feels familiar. A beacon is a powerful symbol of hope and community.”
However, Bristol-based Conal Dodds of Crosstown Concerts, says, “The trust has taken the path of least resistance with the Beacon name. It’s non-controversial.
“I, like many, just look forward to the venue reopening and people being able to go to concerts again.”