The Rainbow Venues began as a rundown Victorian pub/courtyard space in 2004 and is now a Birmingham institution located in the city’s own rave mecca of Digbeth. A cavernous venue comprising of 11 separate spaces, The Rainbow features a large main warehouse with an adjoining intimate, low-ceiling area called The Blackbox and a small garden stretch. Overlooking the main warehouse and up the stairs, a mezzanine bar waits, leading out to a fully crafted wooden terrace.
The Textile Factory, another venue within The Rainbow Venues, echoes the raw industrial look of The Rainbow Warehouse with elevated ceilings, natural light, raw brick and a unique outdoor space. Under the over-reaching curve of The Rainbow’s embrace, The Arena is an old builder’s merchant yard adjacent to the disused Railway in Digbeth.
It’s through Birmingham’s legendary nights, such as Below and FACE at The Rainbow pub/courtyard that enabled the venue to evolve into one of the best party spots in the UK.
Previously, The Rainbow Venues pub/courtyard was predominantly favoured by reggae and roots music – house music was far from what it is today. One Sunday, the original landlord enabled the infamous Below to throw a day party, which gained huge popularity. Eventually, authorities caught on to how frail the pub became and the landlord could no longer afford the repairs.
In short, Lee McDonald took on the pub/courtyard and transformed The Rainbow into the city’s most creative music spaces to-date.
On August Bank Holiday 2016, we say goodbye The Courtyard space. Here’s a reminder of some of the key moments that went down:
1) Multi platinum award winning solo artist Joss Stone performing in The Rainbow Courtyard. She enjoyed a piece of art on the wall so much that Adam Shelton took it off the wall to give to her. Her tour bus parked outside for three days — we were feeding her pancakes and she didn’t want to leave!
2) The Rainbow Courtyard was where Jamie Jones played one of his first gigs, which led to the Paradise star becoming a staple act in future shows in the years that followed.
3) A lot of international acclaimed acts have performed in The Courtyard, including Marco Carola, Maceo Plex, Apollonia, Loco Dice B2B Dubfire, tINI, pretty much the whole Desolat label crew, Sven Vath playing an impromptu 5-hour set.
4) When 30,000 people signed a petition against noise abatement to raise the roof. UB40 came and supported the gig!
The Rainbow Venues bids farewell to The Courtyard this August Bank Holiday, where it all began 12 years ago. On this one momentous occasion, we take the roof off for one last dance.
Share online and with your favourite Courtyard memories!