A New Song For Bristol

In these extraordinary times, we have experienced loss, lockdown and lost identities – but we’ve also rediscovered our communities, forged new ways of connecting, and renewed our collective spirit.

During times of uncertainty, we can find new meaning through music. As our city’s people have raised their voices through dark times before: together, we can write a new song for Bristol.

Bristol is calling – share your song.

About A New Song For Bristol

A New Song for Bristol is a city-wide invitation for everyone to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences of Bristol in 2020, creatively expressed through words and music.

The project is inspired by a mirrored time in Bristol’s history, and draws inspiration from when the people of Bristol came together during World War Two to sing songs, perform together at Bristol Beacon (then known as Colston Hall), and rally round to bring light to those dark days.

Now in 2020, A New Song for Bristol calls for the city to let music and creativity bring people together once more, and we’re calling out to you to submit your creative responses to this historic year.

These thoughts, feelings and experiences will be collected into a living archive of words, poems and songs created by you – the people of Bristol.

This archive will be used as inspiration to a collective of musicians which includes This is the Kit, Bucky, Lady Nade, Kayla Painter, Javeon, Solomon O.B, Grove, KALA CHNG and Lloyd Coleman,  who will work to create a new piece of music – a new song for Bristol.

How to take part

We want as many people as possible to contribute to A New Song For Bristol – and you don’t have to be a musician at all.

We just want to hear about your thoughts, feelings and experiences of life in Bristol right now, or what you hope for it in the future.

  • think about your thoughts, feelings and experiences of life in Bristol in 2020
  • document, capture or record your response in words, music or video
  • send us your ideas via social media or via our online form
  • a collective of musicians will use you ideas as inspiration for a new piece of music

You can write about whatever you want – if you’re looking for inspiration, click below for a few ideas for how to get started.


Once you’re ready to send us your ideas, you can send them to us via social media using #ANewSongForBristol

Or you can send us your ideas via our online form by clicking the button below.


The story behind A New Song For Bristol

A world changed. People separated by circumstance, but bound together in spirit.

In September 1939 there was an “entertainment ban” in Bristol and theatres and concert halls were shut down and performers sent home. The blackout had begun. There were dark times ahead and Neville Chamberlain had announced on 3rd September 1939 following Germany’s invasion of Poland, the country was now at war.

The Hall’s staff team had to switch overnight from hosting shows to becoming the central “respirator depot” responsible for managing queues of people lining up to receive one of 40,000 gas masks allocated to the Hall for distribution.

A few days later, the entertainment ban was lifted and Charles H. Lockier was allowed to host rousing “sing-song” events that invited mass participation singing with popular stars of the day. On the first night 2,500 packed in the hall singing together to favourite songs. Aspiring singers as young as 14 became overnight stars, invited to perform on stage as part of the “keep smiling movement” designed to bring “musical sunshine in dark days”.

The Hall wanted to keep people singing and experiencing music and theatre in any way they could. Lockier continued to organise variety events and community singing to keep “Bristolians cheerful” in these “times of stress and anxiety” [Western Daily Press Dec 1939], while continuing to play an important role in the war effort, via enlistment and gas mask distribution.

Despite the horrors the city faced, music would keep hope alive.

Keep up to date with A New Song For Bristol

Find out the latest news on the project via the button below.


Supported by

Our heritage programme is supported by National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Welcome to
Bristol Beacon

On Wednesday 23 September 2020 Colston Hall changed its name to Bristol Beacon.

Our new name is just the first step, it is about more than the sign above our door. Click below to find out more about how we’re changing, watch our name announcement, and discover how we want everyone to share in the joy of live music.

More info Enter site