Involving Music


Photo Credit: Shaun.L Getty Images

Nestled in the heart of Devon, Exeter is not just a city infused with vibrancy and history; it’s an eclectic epicentre for music enthusiasts.

With an array of charming venues, Exeter is a small but mighty city to be explored. A place where music and culture intertwine, arguably as much as northern music map markers, Liverpool and Manchester.

But before we drum on about Exeter’s music scene, let’s start with some history.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Branch

History worth note:

The city’s fascinating timeline dates back to the Roman era. The Romans established a fortified settlement around AD 55, building walls to help protect the city. Today, around 70% of the original structure remains.

The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter is a fascinating example of Gothic architecture. Construction began in the year 1114 and features the longest uninterrupted vaulted ceiling in England.

Worth mentioning here is the historic Exeter Quayside. Once a bustling port filled with merchants, mariners, and craftsmen, it now features antique shops, restaurants, water sports and walking paths, making it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

Interesting stuff, now take us to the music:

Exeter’s music scene is as diverse as its history. The iconic Cavern has hosted names like Coldplay and Muse.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Branch

Then, of course, Exeter Phoenix, just 200 yards up from the Cavern and turning 25 this year (2024). In 1999, it launched as a multi-arts venue dedicated to ‘bringing the best cultural experiences to Exeter and the Southwest.’

The diverse and visionary acts it attracts make the Exeter Phoenix a magnet for Southwest music lovers.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Branch

Now, if you were to ask anyone in Exeter where they saw their first gig, often it’s the Great Hall. Bob Marley, U2, Pink Floyd, and Kaiser Chiefs, to name a few. Located at the very heart of the University of Exeter Streatham Campus, it is one of the largest entertainment venues in the Southwest.

If you’re after an inviting atmosphere, The Angel Bar perfectly complements Exeter’s quirky musical culture and vibrancy. 

The bar has evolved from a Victorian-era establishment into a modern-day musical haven, making it another fantastic addition to Exeter’s culture and nightlife.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Branch

Photo Credit: Sebastian Williams

Nearby, the Grandeur of Powderham Castle hosts a packed calendar of events and festivals year-round, showcasing everything from indie bands to classical concerts.

But it’s not just about the big names; the grassroots venues are the real heartbeat of Exeter’s music scene. Places like BootleggerThe Angel and The Old Firehouse offer intimate settings to discover local talent and emerging artists.

Eats before beats:

Exeter’s culinary scene hits all the right notes. You are spoiled for choice for a pre-gig meal or a post-concert wind-down.

The city offers a variety of eateries to suit all tastes. For a quick bite, head to The Exploding Bakery for a taste of artisan pastries. 

Need a quick fix before the Cavern? Head to Red Panda for the best, most delicious and nutrient-packed Asian street food, ever. 

Photo Credit: Chelsea Branch

Music is for the soul, and so is Harry’s food. Set in the heart of the city, it has been gratifying appetites for 25 years. Head to Harry’s on Longbrook Street #HarrysbeforeHarmonies.  

The Dinosaur Café is an excellent Turkish meze bar full of character, which is also found in the food. Here, you can enjoy tasty couscous and kofta, but the spicy fritters take centre stage.

Photo Credit: Chelsea Branch

The ‘we might as well while we’re here’ hearty and delicious 14″ square pizzas are real crowd pleasers at the Old Firehouse.

Head to Al-Farid at the Cathedral yard for an exclusive Arabian fine dining experience along with a traditional Hookah/Shisha Bar.

And, if fine dining harmonises with your evening, The Conservatory offers an exquisite menu in a relaxed atmosphere.

Don’t forget to wander through the West Quarter and explore Gandy Street, where quirky cafes and bars offer the perfect backdrop for discussing the night’s performance.

A bed for your music-filled head.

After a night of music and exploration, you can relax in one of Exeter’s many accommodations. (At least when the ears stop ringing!)

Exeter offers boutique hotels like the Hotel du Vin and cosy B&Bs such as the Raffles Hotel. There’s a place to rest for every traveller. For those looking to stay close to the music, offers comfort and convenience, located just a stone’s throw away from some of Exeter’s top music venues.


For music lovers, Exeter is not just a place to visit; it’s an experience to be lived. A trip to Exeter promises a harmonious blend of memories in music and culture. Your stay will be nothing short of unforgettable.

And it doesn’t stop at its vibrant, urban charm. Exeter is embraced by the stunning Devonshire countryside and near the Jurassic Coast’s World Heritage Site. For outdoor enthusiasts, it offers the perfect spot for adventure and exploration.

Getting here:

By bus: Exeter has an extensive bus network. With a handy interactive bus map and Park & Ride services, navigating around Exeter and the wider Devon area by public transport is both eco-friendly and convenient. For more information, visit, where you’ll find everything you need to plan your journey.

By road: If a road trip is more your style, Exeter’s excellent road links make driving here straightforward. However, as advocates for sustainable music tourism, we’d encourage you to leave your car behind, avoid the traffic, and arrive refreshed and ready to sing/dance/mosh/stand at the back and enjoy the show.

By air:  Exeter Airport connects this historic city to the rest of the UK and beyond. However, here at IM, we promote sustainable music tourism, so we would always recommend considering the above before booking any flights.

Want to be featured?

If you are a venue, artist, eatery, or accommodation provider in Exeter, get in touch with us to be featured on our website and social media platforms.

At a gig or live music event in Exeter? Tag @involvingmusic in your posts and pictures, use the hashtag #involvingmusicexeter to be featured on our platforms!

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