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Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow
Photograph: Westwoodst /

The world’s best city for live music is apparently right here in the UK

It’s home to some of the country’s most legendary gig venues

Amy Houghton
Written by
Amy Houghton

‘Gig tripping’ is apparently one of this year’s biggest travel trends. According to travel agency Planet Cruise more and more tourists are jetsetting to new cities with the purpose of immersing themselves in the local music scene, from sticky dive bars to massive arenas and plush jazz clubs. Now that’s a hobby we can get behind. 

With that in mind, researchers at Planet Cruise did a bit of digging to find out which city is the best in the world for concerts, gigs and festivals. They looked at the number of live music bars, live events and music arenas as well as the average cost of a hotel and discovered that Glasgow is the best music destination on the planet for live music. 

The research revealed that the Scottish city offers almost 62 gigs per 100,000 people and has the highest number of music arenas per 100,000 people in the world (4.31).

Locals and musicians are already acutely aware of the Scottish city’s reputation for a good time. Among its many music hubs, iconic Barrowland Ballroom recently emerged as Time Out’s best music venue in the UK, as chosen by the British artists that have played there. 

Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai said ‘it sounds amazing and is steeped in history’, while Neil Barnes from Leftfield told Time Out that the crowd there is ‘more open to the vibe of the music, more ready to let themselves go and enjoy the experience’. 

Glasgow is also home to the OVO Hydro, which is the largest purpose-built music venue in Scotland and has hosted big names like Prince, Madonna, Adele and Beyoncé. It’s also got the legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, the O2 Academy, The Garage and TRNSMT, a huge annual festival that this year is being headlined by Liam Gallagher and Calvin Harris. 

Lyon in France came second on Planet Cruise’s list, while Zurich, Switzerland landed third. Despite all the outstanding live music, world-class festivals, super talented DJs and banging club nights worth travelling for, Glasgow was actually the only UK spot to make the top ten. 

Did you see that 40 British schools have been named the best on the planet?

Plus: these five picturesque areas have been shortlisted to become Scotland’s third national park.

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