BBC Radio 6Music Festival Case Study

Client – BBC Radio 6Music

Location – Victorian Theatre


The BBC 6 Music Festival is the station’s flagship live music event and in 2021 they chose Alexandra Palace Theatre for their first ever festival to take place behind closed doors.

Despite live music venues being closed to the public for over a year, the producers felt strongly that the festival should go ahead and present a “plethora of new performances that will remind you just how great live music can be.”

Alexandra Palace was chosen both because of its iconic status as a live music venue and it’s beautiful Victorian Theatre which made for a unique and versatile studio space. The festival’s headline sets from Brit nominated Belfast boys Bicep, Grammy nominated singer songwriter Laura Marlin and local Muswell Hill boy and Mercury Award Winner Michael Kiwanuka, were all recorded within the Theatre, as were interviews with the artists themselves.

One of the unique things about the Theatre is that it has fully retractable seating and therefore plenty of floor space, which 6Music decided to utilise to build three different stages, one for each artist. Indeed, every area of the space was harnessed, with the empty Circle holding additional lighting (to give the affect of lasers) for the Bicep set as well as a 360 degree set up for filming. Even the East Court was used as a breakout space, this large atrium being particularly handy for ensuring social distancing was adhered too.

From Friday 26th to Sunday 28th March, the spellbinding performances were broadcast on 6 Music, BBC FOUR, BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer. An incredible project to be a part of, this was an emotional watch for the Ally Pally team and live music fans alike: as we slowly ease out of lockdown (hopefully for the last time) we eagerly await the moment we can all be at the Palace again, experiencing the thrill of ‘live’ again (including welcoming Michael back to a sold out gig in The Great Hall in May 2022).

“The Alexandra Palace Theatre was the perfect venue for the BBC Radio 6Music Festival in 2021! The character and striking architecture within the theatre provided a versatile backdrop for our performances. The texture of the suspended decay throughout the space allowed our production team to create both the soft, warm aesthetic required for Michael Kiwanuka and the striking and raw canvas for the Bicep production design. Filming in the round enabled us to utilise the room in full, both capturing the beauty of the venue but also allowing a commentary on the lack of a live audience due to covid. The venue team were exceptionally helpful from initial enquiry through to final load out and really helped to ensure the production ran smoothly. We loved working there and look forward to using the spaces again in the future!”
Jack May, Project Manager – Live Music & Events, BBC

“We loved having 6 Music in the theatre. It’s my go-to radio station and their festival is an event we’ve always wanted to host. The performances from Laura, Michael and Bicep were out of this world, we know how much people have loved them, and we’ve watched them over and over ourselves. The Theatre is a special place and it was brilliant to see how the 6 Music Festival team adapted it so well to create an atmosphere and feel that was really unique to each artist. They aligned so well with our fabulous team, making it a really brilliant experience from start to finish. We look forward to working together again, continuing the incredible link between the BBC and the Palace, and making great experiences like this for everyone to enjoy.”
Lucy Fenner, Commercial Director, Alexandra Palace