The stunning 140-year-old venue, located in the heart of Stirling, was named on the ‘best of’ list alongside the likes of The Barrowlands in Glasgow and London’s Palladium and 02 Brixton Academy.
The magazine asked some of Britain’s top musical artists who have been playing live for over a decade to choose their best venue to help produce the ranking.
Saul Davies, from indie-rock band James – who have released 16 studio albums selling more than 25 million copies – selected the Albert Halls.
The Liverpool-born musician, who spent some of his childhood in the Stirling area, recalled his memories of performing at the venue with the Stirling Youth Symphony Orchestra at 14 and then playing there years later with James, calling it a ‘life-affirming moment’.
James and Saul’s connection with Stirling doesn’t end there, with the group writing part of their 2016 album Girl at the End of the World, in Stirling’s award-winning Tolbooth – sister venue to the Albert Halls.
Heartbeat of Stirling’s thriving cultural and creative scene
Convener of Stirling Council’s Finance, Economy and Corporate Support Committee, Cllr Margaret Brisley said: “It’s fantastic to see Stirling’s Albert Halls recognised alongside some of the UK’s most iconic and popular musical venues.
“The Albert Halls is an incredible venue that has been a key part of Stirling’s civic and artistic life for 140 years, hosting a diverse array of concerts, performances and events.
“Saul has performed at iconic venues and major festivals across the world, so we’re really proud that our very own Albert Halls is his favourite. It’s clear the venue has a special place in his heart, starting from his time in the Stirling Youth Symphony Orchestra.
“While the Albert Halls has a great history, the great news is that it’s going from strength to strength, attracting top artists and performers and regularly selling out in advance.
“A recent highlight was last year when it proved a fitting stage for the Scottish Album of the Year Award, further enhancing its reputation.
“We are committed to continue investing in the Albert Halls and our other cultural venues to ensure they continue to be the heartbeat of Stirling’s thriving cultural and creative scene.
“We always knew Stirling’s Albert Halls was among the best in Britain – but it’s great to see it made official.”
Background on Stirling’s Albert Halls
Situated in Stirling city centre, the Albert Halls is an impressive and striking Victorian-era venue. The doors of the building were designed by local architect William Simpson and first opened in 1883, with guests were welcomed to a performance of Handel’s Messiah.
Nowadays, this grand and imposing building plays host to a wide array of show-stopping performances and a diverse range of events in its large main hall, which is set over two floors with a balcony. These range from high-profile music concerts to orchestral performances, theatre, comedy, dance and performance art shows; fayres, wedding ceremonies, conferences and civic events.
In 2022, the Albert Halls hosted the Scottish Album of the Year Award that was won by Mercury prize nominated Fergus McCreadie, while recent sold-out shows at the Albert Halls include Del Amitri, a double headline show of Celtic Rock bands Skerryvore and Manran, and Strictly’s Giovanni Pernice. Lulu, Paul Young and Scottish Opera will all take to its stage later this year.
It has also been the proud home of the Bloody Scotland International Crime Writing Festival since it began in 2011, providing a stage for stars in the field such as Val McDiarmid, Ian Rankin and David Baldacci.
The Albert Halls is central Stirling’s annual Hogmanay Celebrations. In 2022 it staged a special daytime event for families, ‘Hogmanay At the Halls’. The sold-out event showcased music by Admiral Fallow, Lewis McLaughlin and local group The Cobalts.
As well as being a platform for major acts, Stirling’s Albert Halls is committed to providing a stage for local groups to showcase their talents and organisations that support young musicians, including Stirling Orchestra, Glee (an annual inter schools challenge for local primary schools) and Strathcarron Singers.
For info on upcoming shows at the Albert Halls, Tolbooth and other venues in Stirling, visit www.stirlingevents.org.