Sheffield positioned as one of the UK's leading 'Music Cities'

  • New report gives first ever snapshot of Sheffield's thriving music sector
  • Sheffield boasts 465 active bands, 65 recording studios and 69 venues
  • Report recommends further collaboration to catapult Sheffield's talent pool into professional careers


Sheffield has the potential to be the UK's leading Music City, according to a new report commissioned by the University of Sheffield.

Music: A snapshot of Sheffield's music sector (PDF, 2.8MB), was compiled and written by Sheffield's Sensoria Festival. Building on Sheffield's famous musical heritage, the report outlines how Sheffield is a leading Music City with 788 organisations active in the music sector, 465 active bands, 70 rehearsal rooms and innovation across all music genres – including electronic, folk, free noise and rock. The report audits data from across South Yorkshire, as well as incorporating in-depth interviews with key leaders from across Sheffield's music scene.

BridgeLaunching the report, Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Cultural Engagement at the University of Sheffield, said: "Sheffield is a city of makers; its creativity is reflected in the input from both universities, the range of festivals in the city and its spirit of independence. This report begins to ask how we can bring current talent from under the radar and enable growth in a time of harsh economic realities, establish our talent on a world stage and pave the way for the next generation of musicians."

The term 'Music Cities' was first coined by Music Canada. The international organisation researched cities across the world and identified a basic framework of elements that apply to Music Cities - based on the quality of artists, spaces, engaged audiences and music-related businesses. 

Music Canada is currently visiting Sheffield as part of this year’s Sensoria Festival, which will launch the new Sheffield-based report.

Sheffield is a city of makers; its creativity is reflected in the input from both universities, the range of festivals in the city and its spirit of independence.

Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of City & Cultural Engagement

Jo Wingate, Director of Sensoria, The UK's Festival of Music, Film & Digital, said: "We know that Sheffield has a rich music history and an outstanding music scene – that’s why Sensoria gets better each and every year. This report gives us the full music industry snapshot for the first time and shows how Sheffield is well-positioned to be the UK's leading Music City."

Music: A snapshot of Sheffield’s music sector makes recommendations for the future growth of Sheffield's music industry including:

  • More availability of mid-sized music venues
  • Collaborative campaigns to promote all aspects of Sheffield’s music scene
  • More support for the production sector – increasing the industry's economic impact

The report is the first of a trio commissioned by the University of Sheffield focusing on the city's potential growth areas. Two upcoming reports will explore the economic impact of Sheffield's art and beer sectors.

Download Music: A snapshot of Sheffield's music sector (PDF, 2.8MB)

The University of Sheffield

With almost 26,000 of the brightest students from around 120 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

In 2014 it was voted number one university in the UK for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education and in the last decade has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes in recognition of the outstanding contribution to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life.

Sheffield has five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.

For further information, please visit

Sensoria Festival

Sensoria is the UK’s festival of film and music. Sensoria's natural home is Sheffield – a city renowned for its creative and technical innovation and one rich in musical heritage. The festival has risktaking and innovation at its core – it is informal and informative; Sensoria loves to provide access, raise aspiration and work to encourage new talent on an ongoing basis.  The programme includes a heady mix of screenings, performance, talks, events and exhibitions. The SensoriaPro part of the festival also delivers high quality ongoing activity for professionals and emerging talent within the music and film industry.

For further information, please visit