THE CAVERN EXETER – SMALL VENUE. RAD GIGS. BIG, UNDERGROUND SOUNDS.


Quite frankly, the venue is a living legacy of music history. A chamber for the wacky and the wonderful devoted to music.

Something quite Rock n’ Roll romantic about the fact their first show was on St Valentine’s Day 1991 with US punk band Quicksand.

The Cavern opened in ‘91 with an idea to bring international talent to Exeter and simultaneously give a platform to Exeter bands.  As the longest-running music venue in Exeter, it’s fair to say they nailed it.

Amps not Stamps

Although the venue has hosted gigs for 30 years, the history of the place dates back to 1890, when it was built as a Post Office. Perhaps only in receipt of fan mail now, The Cavern has been an electrifying platform for world-renowned bands like Muse, Coldplay, and Biffy Clyro, who graced its stage during their nascent years.

In fact, the small but mighty underground venue has marked the beginnings of some of the biggest rock bands in the world.

It is an intimate space with a capacity of 220, where emerging UK and European bands take the stage, and established bands connect with an up-close audience. The atmosphere here is unparalleled, a testament to the unique experience only independent music venues can offer.

Image Credit: The Cavern Exeter 

Rising from the Ashes

Following a devastating fire in 2016, the venue was lovingly restored and reopened in 2017, thanks to the support of its community. This revival marked a new chapter in its story, continuing to support and energise the underground and independent music scenes in Exeter.

More Muse-ic

In 2022, Muse returned to The Cavern for a special secret gig, part of Jim Beam’s “Welcome Sessions.” This nostalgic homecoming celebrated their journey and underscored the venue’s significance in nurturing talent. The Cavern released a limited-edition charity T-shirt, with proceeds supporting the venue, further highlighting its cherished place in the music community.

Image Credit: Darren Branch 

Small yet mighty

The size of the venue adds to its legacy and success. Fair to say the size of the grassroots music venue is part of its success. Yes, the city has larger venues (Exeter Phoenix is a plectrums-throw-away, but the Cavern is ideal for up-and-coming bands and the niche events that would not fill such venues as Exeter Phoenix or the Great Hall.

Image Credit: Chelsea Branch 

Without this size venue, there would be nowhere for small bands to play with bigger touring bands from other parts of the world.

What’s coming up this year?

Nosh before mosh

The Fat Pig, 2 John St: long-established people and dog-friendly backstreet pub with a reputation for pouring quality locally brewed beers alongside fine home-cooked food.

Red Panda– a frequent recommendation from Exeter residents and visitors alike (and about 20 yards away from the venue)

Image Credit: Chelsea Branch

Steaks N Sushi: Hidden in a street behind The Guildhall shopping centre, this gem offers a truly extensive list of Japanese dishes….and steak!

More about the venue

Image Credit: Chelsea Branch

Capacity: 220

Cloakroom: Yes

Seating Area: Yes

Admission: £Free-£20.

Location: Walk to the middle of Gandy Street. You will find the venue down the alleyway on the right.

Train: The closest train station to The Cavern is Exeter Central train station, which is a 5-minute walk. Turn left as you exit the station and walk past the museum. Turn left onto Gandy Street and make a right. The venue is down the alleyway.

Also close by is Exeter St David’s train station, approximately a 20-minute walk.

Bus: Sidwell Street bus station, Exeter’s main bus terminus, is a 10-minute walk from Exeter Phoenix.

Click here to learn more about how you can directly support the venue by purchasing the Muse charity T-shirt.

If you’re a music venue, artist or local business based in Exeter, contact us at hello@involvingmusic.com to be featured on our music tourism website.

Chelsea Branch

Chelsea Branch, a roots, rocksteady, reggae and everything in between enthusiast. First gig was to see the Ordinary Boys at the Lemon Grove (Exeter) at 16 after taking a liking to their Ska-inspired track 'Rudy's in Love' (and the frontman, Preston). After University, she spent seven years in brilliant Bristol, revelling in its dynamic music scene—a move very much inspired by a first-time visit to St Paul's Carnival. She now lives in Exeter alongside her partner Bev, embracing Devon country life and swapping sound systems for sea swimming and scriptwriting. Though her 'All the Reggae' Spotify playlist remains pinned, she believes exploring music genres is essential to a good life. Currently, she's turning the volume up for a real mix of artists and genres, from Idles to Olivia Dean, Jack Johnson (albeit his ''In Between Dub'' album) to Julia Jacklin. Her passion for music and local knowledge of Exeter supports Involving Music in amplify emerging artists' voices and celebrating grassroots music venues.

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