The Forum

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Event Venue

The Forum, Royal Tunbridge Wells - famous live music event for concerts

Address/Location

Fonthill
The Common
Royal Tunbridge Wells
Kent
TN4 8YU

Contact

Tel: 08712 777101

Event Venue

From spring water dispensary to nationally acclaimed live music venue in Royal Tunbridge Wells!

Just over the road from the historic Pantiles is one of the few buildings permitted to exist on The Common, and one with an interesting history.

The Forum, Music and Arts Centre, sits on “Fonthill” which is rumoured to be the site of the cottage occupied by Mrs Humphreys, who served Lord North with a glass of chalybeate water as he rode through the area in 1606. In fact, look closely by the main road and you will see an ancient spring and cold bath, both now protected by railings.

Originally a forge, this business expanded to include coach and carriage works. Space was also lent to the Town Fire Corporation. The family cottage extended into a boarding house.

The current building on this site was built in 1939, opening in late May, just months before World War Two. It replaced several old buildings that had evolved over two hundred years.

Within living memory people do recall visiting the 'Fonthill Restroom' as it was after The Funfair on The Common, or to wash hands after blackberrying, and for a time in the 1980s the building was let out and used as a Brass Rubbing Centre. 

It was empty in 1993, when a group of school friends took it on. Having already hosted live music gigs around the area in assorted halls, pubs and hotels for five years “The Rumble Club” was looking for a permanent home.

Fonthill has served them well for the past 25 years! A basic conversion in a fortnight changed the restroom into a grassroots music venue. Since then The Forum has played host to a wide range of acts, from music to comedy, theatre, film and art, as well as meetings, parties and weddings.

With a total capacity of 250 it has been on the touring circuit for many acts in their early days - Green Day, Oasis, Coldplay, Biffy Clyro and Adele are among the thousands who have played here.

Access to quality music has encouraged many locals to take up playing instruments and form bands – amongst those gaining success are Everything Everything, Slaves and Lady Bird.

The venue continues to attract national praise, and acts - just in 2018 shows for the Silver Anniversary have included Pale Waves, Frank Turner, Spring King and Ash.

As well as shows at the venue, Forum staff and volunteers are involved in many other events around Tunbridge Wells. The most significant is the annual arts and music fringe festival UNFEST - based at The Forum but including pop ups around the town. Expect art, theatre, spoken word and a wide range of music in unexpected places depending on the curators, every late May Bank Holiday weekend!

The spirit of UNFEST carries on during the summer, with The Forum open most Sunday afternoons for music, food and pop up activities. These free afternoons are a good introduction to the venue, running from late May until Heritage Open Days in September.

The Forum also helps outside producers, for example in 2018 Forum staff assisted Blackdeer Festival to introduce local elements to their Americana Festival, the start of a long term working relationship.

2017 saw Tunbridge Wells host its first ever PRIDE march, and The Forum became the base for the day’s activities, just one of many community events the venue supports.

The Forum is one of the coolest places to visit in Tunbridge Wells, as testified to by our young blogger, Ben.  

Opening Times

See Website (1 Jan 2019 - 31 Dec 2019)

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