The toilet circuit is the network of small music venues in the United Kingdom which rising indie, rock and metal bands often visit to gain support and promote themselves. The name may refer to the size and often the cleanliness of the venue, or a lack of dressing rooms leading to the band being required to change in the toilets.
Most of Britain's large towns and cities are home to at least one toilet circuit venue, although a regular toilet-circuit tour is only around 20 dates long at the most, meaning not all of the said venues are present in all toilet-circuit tours. Some of the largest cities, however, such as London, Manchester, Glasgow and Nottingham, appear on almost every tour, and these cities accordingly have many venues which could be described as "toilet venues". The circuit is mentioned in the Muse song "Muscle Museum" – "I have played in every toilet." Frank Turner also references it in the song "I Still Believe", as "toilet circuit touring stops".
The 21st century saw the closure of several well-known toilet circuit venues, with many more under threat. In London, for example, 40% of the city's live music venues were said to have closed in the decade to 2016. This trend increased after the passing of the Live Music Act 2012, which allowed any venue with under 200 capacity to hold live music without a licence, and has been cited as a major factor in the decline of paid-entry live music events.
Rock Sound TV has used the "Toilet Circuit" moniker to film a series of acoustic performances filmed in the grimiest locations at music venues across the UK, featuring bands such as The Blackout, Thrice, Futures, Lights, Vessels and Deaf Havana.
Notable toilet circuit venues
- "Small live rock venues - are they going down the pan?". BBC News. 25 December 2012. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
- "The Toilet Circuit Diaries #2: Jimbob, Karmakops, Drat, Bloc Party". Drowned in Sound. 27 October 2003. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- Jeff Collins. Rock Legends at Rockfield. University of Wales Press.
- Sherwin, Adam (14 March 2016). "Music venues: Victory for 'toilet circuit' as ministers change planning law to protect UK rock clubs". The Independent. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "Can the UK's 'toilet circuit' of small music venues survive?". The Guardian. 22 February 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2016.
- Inglis, Andy (24 January 2014). "Toilet venues: British treasure or a bit of a stink?". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- "The Toilet Circuit is Go!". Rock Sound TV. Retrieved 30 March 2015.
- "Steve Lamacq: Are small venues under threat?". bbc.co.uk. BBC. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- Wright, Mic (3 April 2008). "10 top live music venues in London". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- Adams, Sean (16 January 2017). "What's it really like to tour around the UK's independent venues?". Retrieved 21 June 2017.
- Howe, Zoe. The Jesus and Mary Chain: Barbed Wire Kisses. p. 115. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
- L, Toby. "Coldplay - Harlow Square - 25/5/00". rockfeedback.com. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
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