Manchester Academy is a brand name used by the University of Manchester Students' Union for its four concert venues in Manchester, England, which reside on Oxford Road both within and adjacent to the main Students' Union building. It has hosted acts such as The Damned, Kylie Minogue, Ian Brown, The Stranglers, Super Furry Animals, The Cure, Blur, Oasis, Kings of Leon, Meshuggah, Mastodon, Ellie Goulding, George Clinton, Nirvana, OFWGKTA, Manic Street Preachers, The Libertines, Supergrass, Lady Gaga, Prodigy, Sum 41, New Found Glory, Queens Of The Stone Age, Brand New, All Time Low, Glassjaw and Alexisonfire among others.
'Manchester Academy' was originally the name of the largest of these venues (see picture), but became an umbrella term for both itself and the union's other venues in the early 2000s.
The main venue Manchester Academy (sometimes referred to as Academy 1) is just south of the Students' Union. It opened in October 1990 and was first performed in by the Buzzcocks. It was closed completely between March and October 2007 when a major refurbishment and rebuilding programme began, completed in early 2008. It had had a capacity of 2000 and hosted about 50 gigs a year prior to closure, the capacity was increased to around 2,300 with the expansion and further increased to 2,600 in September 2013.
Academy 1 or just Manchester Academy is the main part of the venue. It has a capacity of 2,600
Academy 2 is on the first floor of the Students' Union in the union's Main Debating Hall, which lead to the venue originally being advertised as the 'MDH', though the 'Academy 2' is now used instead. It has a capacity of 900
Academy 3 is on the third floor of the Students' Union. It was formerly known as the 'Hop and Grape' and originally as the 'Solem Bar.' It has a capacity of 450
Club Academy is in the basement of the Students' Union. It was refurbished in September 2005, before which it operated under the title of 'Cellar Disco', and generally hosted student-only events. It has a capacity of 550
Prior to the construction of what is now their largest venue (and hence the name Manchester Academy) in 1990, the students' union had hosted many artists including The Yardbirds, The Who, Nazareth, The Moody Blues, Stevie Wonder, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Cream, Captain Beefheart, Pink Floyd, Slade, Fairport Convention, Joe Cocker, Hawkwind, Procol Harum, The Wailers, AC/DC, Dire Straits, Cheap Trick, Status Quo, Francis Rossi and The Cure over the previous fifty years.
Following the re-opening of Academy 1 in October 2007, University of Manchester Students' Union came under much criticism for large parts of the refurbishment being incomplete. Customers originally had to use portable toilet facilities outside, suffered long queues for the one small bar and had no access to a cloakroom. These problems were eventually rectified with the opening of the completely rebuilt foyer, which included a sizeable bar and VIP balcony and lounge (also open to customers with disabilities).
Manchester Academy has attracted positive publicity after being referred to as the UK's "greenest venue" with a third of the £3.5 million refurbishment budget going towards minimising the environmental impact and improving the sustainability of the reconstructed venue, as well as making substantial accommodation for disabled music fans. It also received the title of "Best Entertainment Venue" in the 2007 MCR Awards.
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