By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor
Bristol’s largest music venue, Colston Hall, has been officially renamed Bristol Beacon.
The new name was unveiled in an online livestream at 8am this morning.
The announcement of the new name was revealed through a poem written by Bristol City Poet Vanessa Kisuule and presented in a video voiced by Bristolians.
It was also confirmed through the livestream that whilst a new logo has not yet been confirmed, it will be created by working in collaboration with young artists and creatives in Bristol.
Fantastic to be here at the announcement of Bristol Beacon. I welcome this new name, two years in the making, so that this can be a world class venue all of Bristol can be proud of. The new name of Colston Hall is @Bristol_Beacon pic.twitter.com/n55DcKpgG9— Marvin Rees (@MarvinJRees) September 23, 2020
Speaking on the livestream, Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees delivered a statement inside the venue, stating that it was ‘important for us to build a city that is for everyone’.
Mayor Rees acknowledged that, whilst there are those who had disagreed on the decision to rename the Hall, it was important that the decision was taken through ‘an inclusive, a just and a fair process’ and that the ‘justice and integrity of the process’ was of significance.
Mayor Rees described the renaming as the ‘soul renewal of the building’ alongside the ongoing physical transformation, adding that he hoped that the ‘physical and soul renewal [would] be a very positive contribution to the city’s future’.
Mayor Rees’ statement was preceded by a speech from Louise Mitchell, chief executive of the Bristol Music Trust, which manages the venue.
Mitchell referenced Bristol Music Trust’s 2017 commitment to renaming Colston Hall, acknowledging that the events of this summer had ‘brought the issue into sharp focus.’
Mitchell stated that ‘we cannot continue to be held back by this historic connection’ and ‘if we can’t be for everyone, something has to change’.
‘The new name came directly from the heart and voices of our city,’ she added, saying that the decision process was ‘guided by the need to listen to people across the city.’
The renaming of Colston Hall follows a lengthy consultation process, which saw over 4000 people consulted on the decision between June 2018 to November 2019.
Bristol Music Trust had committed to renaming Colston Hall in April 2017, pledging to end any association with 17th century slave trader Edward Colston.
The concert venue has been shut since 2018 due to a refurbishment project, costing approximately £50 million designed to modernise the Grade-II listed Victorian building.
Following the toppling of Edward Colston’s statue in June, Colston Hall removed the external signage from the front of the venue and announced it would reopen with a new name in spring 2020 following refurbishment.
Whilst the completion of the refurbishment has been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Bristol Music Trust went ahead with announcing the venue’s new name.
Featured Image: Epigram / Filiz Emily Gurer
What do you make of the new name?