Kentish Town Forum, 9-17 Highgate Road, London, NW5 1JY (map) (layout)
Tel: 0844 847 2405
Nearest Tube : Kentish Town
Best pub for a pre-gig drink: The Assembly House
The Kentish Town Forum is: A Vauxhall Astra
Interesting fact: Van Morrison was the last artist to perform here when it was the Town and Country Club, and the first to perform when it became The Forum
Buy tickets for the HMV Forum
How do I get to the HMV Forum? Come out of Kentish Tube Station, turn right, and the HMV Forum is five minutes walk down the road on the left hand side.
Is there a cloakroom? Yes, £2 per item, expect long queues in winter.
Should I get there early? Headliners are usually on at 9:30. In winter especially, allow extra time for the coat queue. If you are downstairs things can get tight around the stairs leadnig down to the central area in front of the stage. Persevere and push yourself through as there is plenty of room down there, it's just the stairs area that gets bottlenecked.
Is there anywhere to eat nearby? Mostly kebab shops around Kentish Town, so either eat before you get there or try the Assembly House.
Kentish Town HMV Forum Venue Guide
This venue used to have general admission, rather like the excellent London Astoria, but when Mean Fiddler refurbished the venue it became standing downstairs and unreserved seating upstairs, so you’ll have to choose which you prefer before you buy your tickets. Downstairs has a decent sized area in front of the stage which provides great views. Facing the stage there is a bar to the left of this as well as around a corner to the right. At the rear are some steps up to a raised bar area, which again offers good views.
The HMV Forum is a little like the much-missed London Astoria in size and atmosphere. I saw the Arctic Monkeys here, and despite having to queue outside for a very long time, once inside there was no problem with congestion and the sound and views were fine. We watched the support act (Klaxons) from the raised area around the bar, which offers good views of the stage but feels a little removed from the action. From here we also had an amusing time watching a number of people whiteying outside the toilets, the excitement obviously all too much for them.
It is easy enough to get a decent spot in the lowered area in front of the stage, which we did before the Monkeys came on, although a few people managed to get stuck on the 4 or 5 steps leading down to this, not a good place to be when the gig kicks off as you can’t move around much. From the pit you feel very close to the action and very much involved with the gig - you need to be prepared to jump around a little, but there was no serious moshing when I was there.
Upstairs consist of benches with leather cushioning – quite comfortable and good views of the action, but personally I always find the upstairs sitting areas at gigs to be a little impersonal and too far removed from the action. It doesn’t help when bands failt to even look up and acknowledge you when you are stand upstairs, and it can feel like you are simply looking down on other people having a good time.
The HMV Forum is a very good mid-sized venue, good bar staff mean it is easy to get a drink, the viewing and acoustics are good, and they get plenty of good names here. Recommended.
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This place is great but you should go to the Oxford before a gig at Kentish Town Forum not the Bull and Gate. 8/10
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View from the stage at the Kentish town Forum
The Futureheads at the Kentish Town Forum
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