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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
Seating Area: Yes
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 firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured on our music tourism website.