Top 10 family friendly music venues
Camden has a rich musical history and is home to iconic venues such as Electric Ballroom, Dublin Castle and the Jazz Café. Not many of these are child-friendly, however, so parents often ask us where they can take their family to experience live music for the first time. Here is our top 10:
1. King’s Place
King’s Place has some fantastic Sunday morning concerts for young children. From ‘Putting on the Spitz’, a journey of jazz through the ages, to an Alice in Wonderland cello octet and Shlomo’s ‘Beatboxing Adventure for Kids’ - they hit all the right notes. Their programme for the EFG London Jazz Festival even includes ‘Jazz for Toddlers’.
The Roundhouse has established itself as one of the most incredible live performance spaces in London, programming the biggest names in music and dance. Celebrating its 50th birthday this year, not all of the programme is child-friendly, however one event in particular caught our eye: Roundhouse and the Royal Ballet present ZooNation’s The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party sounds like a wonderfully madcap adventure!
Lauderdale House has been undergoing refurbishment this year and there is much excitement for the grand re-opening this autumn. It’s never too early to introduce children to music and all ages are welcome to attend the free lunchtime recitals provided by resident pianist Stephen Hose and the Billroth Quartet. The latter’s violist, Simon Ballard, is also a fantastic photographer, so you may end up with a family portrait while you’re there!
4. The Forge
While not an obvious choice for family outings despite the beautiful setting, the Forge offers such a diverse programme, from Cuban fiestas to ‘Funk at the Forge’ that we had to include it. Children are welcome every night except Fridays and Saturdays when concerts are restricted to 18+. Keep an eye on their weekend afternoon programming, especially during the EGF London Jazz Festival.
YMM is a Saturday music centre for all the family based at La Sainte Union School on Highgate Road. You can catch us out and about at many local events, whether leading the opening parade at the Kentish Town Festival or entertaining the crowds at the weekly Parliament Hill Farmers’ Market. Pop in to the weekly cafe concert from 10.45-11.00am where you will be treated to a performance by one of our 35 ensembles or, if you’re lucky, an impromptu masterclass by our world-class tutors.
If you’ve ever driven down Hampstead Road towards Euston, there is no doubt you will have noticed this musical feast for the eyes. London’s largest saxophone shop, which shares space with brass specialist Phil Parker and woodwind paradise, The Vibe, also host gigs and masterclasses by top international musicians where you can ask questions such as “who inspires you?” and “how do you manage your saliva?”
Parliament Hill is famous for spectacular view of London, however wander down the hill on a summer Sunday and you are sure to discover some wonderful live music. Despite looking like a throwback from Edwardian England, the current structure was actually built in the 1990s and has hosted brass bands, jazz groups and even ABBA’s Benny Andersson performing a ‘comeback gig’. Every summer, YMM hosts ‘Picnic in the Park’, a family get-together with hula hooping, face painting and music on the bandstand from our big bands and guitar groups.
Celebrating the best of Kentish Town and hosted by the Community Centre, this one-day extravaganza (usually in May) includes two stages featuring local musical acts, as well as food stalls, workshops and a carnival parade led by musicians from William Ellis School and Young Music Makers.
Local historians may be aware that Kentish Town was originally a settlement along the River Fleet, which flowed through the area and today runs underground. The festival, founded by four local churches, celebrates the creativity running through Kentish Town. There are workshops, such as songwriting and screen-printing, and gigs in local cafes throughout the weekend. On the final Sunday, St Luke’s Church hosts a BBQ in its Oseney Crescent garden. This annual family event is well worth a visit to check out local talent.
10. St Pancras Church
Churches are a fine place to enjoy family music events, and St Pancras Church in the heart of Euston is no exception. The autumn series offers a wide variety of repertoire from Bach and Beethoven, to Saint-Saens and Shostakovich, with a bit of traditional Klezmer organ music thrown in for good measure. Concerts are free and run every Thursday from 1.15pm-2.00pm.