A Live Music and Entertainment Venue Steeped In History
The Concorde is an award-winning hotel and entertainment spot with international acclaim. Its beginnings, however, are a world away from the leading venue it is today; The Concorde’s rich and colourful history starts in the backroom of a Southampton pub.
In 1957, Cole Mathieson, a keen drummer from Newtown, Southampton with an unrivalled knowledge and passion for jazz, launched a new members club in the annexe of the Basset. Named the Concorde Club, it attracted over 1,000 members in just six months and quickly became the place to be, with queues stretching around the corner to get a glimpse of the first-class musicians that Cole had booked.
The club flourished throughout the 1960s, featuring bands and musicians who would soon become household names, such as Manfred Mann, The Cream (featuring Eric Clapton), Rod Stewart and Elton John. It became so popular that bands came to play every night of the week, and in response to the new disco movement that was starting to evolve, The Concorde introduced disco nights, too. It’s been the perfect place to dance ever since!
The Basset remained the home of The Concorde until 1970, when the pub was bought for redevelopment, and the future of the club came under threat. Unwilling to let The Concorde fade away, Cole purchased the Old School in Stoneham Lane and turned a derelict Victorian schoolhouse into a world-class venue, attracting jazz legends such as Charlie Mingus, Teddy Wilson and many more.
In the 80s, Cole recognised that The Concorde needed to grow to keep up with the demand of its patrons. Grand plans were made to expand the dining area and ‘The Musician’s Bar’ was born. The bar became known as The Fig in 1992 and still remains today as a relaxed and welcoming bistro, hosting resident musicians and serving great food. In 2000, the addition of a 34-bedroom hotel allowed The Concorde to become the leading venue that it is today.
While The Concorde has diversified in the entertainment it offers over the years, it has never forgotten its roots and neither has the jazz community. In 2009, the venue voted the most significant to the history of jazz in the UK and awarded the prestigious Brecon Jazz Blue Plaque.