“The aim is to present the very best in Americana music from around the world.” James Walker, managing director of Brighthelmstone Promotions, is celebrating ten years of the Brighton-based pioneers.
Brighthelmstone have presented shows focusing on the very best artists roots music has to offer for over a decade and continue to attract top quality talent from across the world. “We have had UK shows for the likes of Sturgill Simpson, Hiss Golden Messenger, Jason Isbell, Amanda Shires and Lindi Ortega,” says popular promoter Jim. Any favourites? “All of the above! But other names that come to mind are Pokey LaFarge, Steve Earle, Danni Nicholls, Tyler Childers, Turnpike Troubadours, Chris Difford, Peter Bruntnell, Jaime Wyatt, Richmond Fontaine, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Charley Crockett… and many more!”
What a list! With lists in mind, and the closure of venues across the UK due to the pandemic still fresh in all our thoughts, we asked Jim to shine a light on six of the best of his favourite venues. 2020 and the first half of 2021 have brought tough times for live music venues, but thanks to the likes of Brighthelmstone and the noble work of Music Venue Trust UK, the future may look a little brighter for these catalytic places…

The Prince Albert in Brighton

A Brighton institution that has supported grass roots and international talent for many a year. The beer is good, the staff are friendly and Will Moore the venue manager is ever-present in his famous pork pie hat! We have presented the late, great Ian McLagan (ex-The Faces), Charley Crockett, Jaime Wyatt and had a riot with acts such as Hans Chew and Massy Ferguson in this wonderful space.


The Forum in Tunbridge Wells


A wonderful venue in the heart of Tunbridge Wells and right next door to the deer park! Jason from the venue has a great reputation for supporting live music and (Black Deer favourites) Noble Jacks, who Brighthelmstone have promoted, could not speak highly enough of the experiences at The Forum. It’s been great to see the band and venue going from strength to strength…


Oslo in London


Run by our friends and big hitters DHP Family, this venue is the perfect size (400) for acts we promote in London through Brighthelmstone. It also has incredible sound, excellent stage views from all locations and a great bar and restaurant below the venue. They have also been incredibly helpful and kind when I have run the live showcases across 6 venues for our friends The American Music Association UK each January. It’s nice to be nice and on that note they also have some of the most friendly door security in London.


The Railway Inn in Winchester


What’s not to like? A proper decent boozer downstairs and excellent upstairs live room. Our friend Oliver Gray shares very similar taste in music and has promoted the likes of Richmond Fontaine, Chuck Prophet and Peter Bruntnell among others in this great space. It is worth checking out SC4M if you are based in Hampshire… they love Americana just like us.


Metronome in Nottingham


A relatively new addition to the Americana scene, but as our friends James and Glenn have been stalwart supporters of great music over the years at Cosmic Americana we had to give it a mention. The space is awesome and Cosmic Americana has both Jesse Malin and Courtney Marie Andrews booked in the venue soon, two artists I can’t recommend highly enough.


Mid Sussex Music Hall in Hassocks

A shameful plug! Brighthelmstone’s newest venue, where (so far) we have presented Danny & The Champions Of The World, Robert Vincent, Rosie Flores, Noble Jacks, The Long Ryders and Chris Difford before the world ground to a halt. We cannot wait to open the doors again and have Frazey Ford and Gun to look forward to later this year, as well as our annual Ale and Americana Festival.