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Venue Info

Venue History


The official opening of the Civic and Wulfrun halls took place on Thursday May 12 1938.

The building was officially declared open to the public by Humphry Legge, the 8th Earl of Dartmouth.

A procession made its way through the hall where speeches, prayers and hymns took place.

The Wolverhampton Musical Society, conducted by Harold Gray, gave a further short performance before the civic party and audience left the building. In the evening, a ball was held to celebrate the opening where guests were entertained by Jack Hylton and his orchestra.

The grand opening concert in the hall took place on Sunday May 15. It was given by the Old Royals Association (former pupils of the Royal Wolverhampton School) and featured Webster Booth and Ann Ziegler as soloists.


Between 1940 and 1945 concerts were given by the country's leading orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra.

Musicians travelled from The Netherlands, Paris and Berlin as the reputation of The Halls grew internationally. In 1949 the American singer, stage and film actor Paul Robeson, who later became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, performed in the town.

The decade also saw shows from some of the world's most famous variety stars. Acts such as Danny Kaye, Johnnie Ray and Nat King Cole were among some of the greats who played here.


It wasn't just rock stars who visited the venue during this decade – national and international orchestras, a prime minister, and English film actress and singer Diana Dors performed at the venue.

Music of a more classical variety continued to be on offer at the venue throughout the 1960s with a wide variety of concerts performed by orchestras from the UK and beyond.

In 1965, Wolverhampton welcomed a visit from prime minister Harold Wilson on July 2, dutifully entering his address as '10 Downing Street' in the visitor book.


From the sequins and stack heels of glam rock through pop, rock and reggae to the aggressive guitars of punk, Wolverhampton offered an incredible choice for music fans.

Gig goers could see David Bowie entertain as Ziggy Stardust, watch Queen appear as a support act or enjoy reggae legends Bob Marley and The Wailers at the start of their crossover into the UK mainstream.

The decade was kicked off in style by The Who, who played at the Civic on August 24 1970. The band loved the venue so much they returned in October 1973.

Local heroes Slade made their first spotlight appearance at the Civic on January 1 1971 – the band had been previously played at the hall for the Beatties staff dance, but were now top of the bill with their own show.

The years between 1971 and 1973 saw a roll call of incredible acts including Yes, The Sweet, T-Rex, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Jethro Tull and the Electric Light Orchestra. An impressive – and probably quite noisy – set on November 6 1972 saw the roof raised by Slade, Thin Lizzy and Suzi Quatro.


Def Leppard arrived in April 1980, after previously appearing as a support act forSlade in October '79, this time they were returning to headline.

Heavy Metal icons Iron Maiden came to the Civic in May 1980, and March 1983 saw a return visit from Elvis Costello & The Attractions.

In November 1985 influential post punk goth rock band Siouxsie and the Banshees played the Civic. Their appearance was noteable for two things: firstly it was their longest tour of the UK and secondly Siouxsie had dislocated her knee earlier in the tour so played out the rest of the dates seated on a stool.

Two years later, on December 22 1988, Morrissey chose Wolverhampton for his first solo show – picking the town based on the affinity he felt with the Civic.


During the decade an incredible 1,271 performances were given:

  • On November 6 1991, just 756 people were in the Wulfrun Hall to see Nirvana play what was to be one of their last gigs in the UK.
  • The Wulfrun Hall was host to the first of Blur's many visits to Wolverhampton. The band played to 483 fans in the October of 1993.
  • 756 Oasis fans came along for the Manchester band in August '94.
There were very few Britpop bands that didn't play in Wolverhampton – just some of the other nineties names included Pulp, The Charlatans, Cast, Shed Seven, Elastica, Space, Dodgy, The Boo Radleys, Kenickie and Sleeper.

Female musicians were also taking centre stage during the decade with acts including Bjork, Hole, Suzanne Vega, Garbage, Sleeper, Tori Amos, Skunk Anansie, Elastica, Echobelly and Babes in Toyland rocking the halls.

American rock acts also travelled to the halls during the nineties, with performances from Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Green Day. Former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl returned to Wolverhampton in '95 and '97 when his band Foo Fighters played to sell-out crowds.

More pop acts including Robbie Williams, Boyzone and Backstreet Boys made sure audiences were bopping while artists such as Salt-N-Pepa, Public Enemy, Naughty by Nature, Cypress Hill and Ice-T and Body Count brought rap and hip-hop to The Halls.


Perhaps the most notorious gig of the time was Slipknot in March 2000. Not all of the acts were this dangerous however and throughout the following 10 years, Wolverhampton continued to be a starting point for huge acts.

Many of the decade's big hitters playing early gigs here including Coldplay, Kaiser Chiefs, Arctic Monkeys, Toploader, Turin Brakes, Snow Patrol, The Libertines and Biffy Clyro.

The Halls also hosted huge rock acts The Killers, Scissor Sisters, Muse, Kasabian, Ash and The White Stripes, welcomed back stars such as Robert Plant, Blur, Manic Street Preachers, The Beautiful South and Bjork as well as showcasing comedians including Victoria Wood, Peter Kay, Lee Evans, Frankie Boyle, Al Murray and Michael McIntyre.

Investment was made to increase capacities to 3,000 at the Civic and 1,134 at the Wulfrun, and a jacuzzi and sauna added to the newly plush dressing rooms.


Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith both played before they went on to their huge success. Florence + the Machine and Paloma Faith stormed the halls and old favourites Blondie and Robert Plant gave triumphant gigs.

December 2011 brought Wolverhampton's own Liam Payne and his One Direction bandmates to the Civic, with fans queuing from 6.30am.

As the year progressed, Wolverhampton welcomed indie rock in the form of Bombay Bicycle Club, rap from Professor Green, rock from returning visitors Garbage and the crooning voice of Wicked Game hitmaker Chris Isaak.

In 2016 performers included our own Beverley Knight, The Damned, David Essex and James, whose frontman Tim Booth thrilled the crowd by clambering onto the balcony and holding hands with devoted fans.

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