The iconic music performances that once took place at The University of Sussex and Brighton Dome

Why oh why don’t we all live in the 90s?


In the modern world, Brighton is known for its thriving live music scene, impressive concert venues and all round solid night life.

But turn the clocks back a few decades, and the campus venues that we all know and love like Falmer Bar and the old East Slope hosted some of the most influential pop stars of their time.

1960s

The Swinging Sixties: an era of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. With the founding of the university in 1961, a whole host of acts graced us with their presence in the following decade. Chuck Berry and Jimi Hendrix played Falmer in 1964 and 1966, apparently extremely drunk both times, and Pink Floyd in 1967 and 1968.

At the Dome, highlights included Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald in 1967, a duo jazz-lovers can only dream of seeing.

Image may contain: Hair, Guitar, Performer, Guitarist, Leisure Activities, Musical Instrument, Person, Human, Musician

Serenade me Jimi (swoon)

1970s

The flared fashion of the 70s may be on a resurgence, but the acts that performed in the 70s can never be matched. The Who kicked off the decade the right way, followed by multiple performances in and around Brighton by the one and only David Bowie.

Possibly the most famous Brighton Dome moment may be in 1974 when they hosted the Eurovision finals and, Mamma Mia was it good. ABBA won with their hit 'Waterloo', thus kickstarting their musical career. The Clash topped off the starry 70s performing at Falmer to a hoard of scruffy students who, unsurprisingly, all decided to stay rather than to go.

Image may contain: Drummer, Percussion, Musical Instrument, Musician, Person, Human

(the) who were you if you didn't go to this gig

1980s

This decade gets an honourable mention, but the bankruptcy of the Students' Union meant that the performance repertoire was lacking. Unlucky to the classes of 1981 to 1989.

1990s

Possibly the most iconic era of them all, the 90s provided high quality entertainment for the masses of grungey, eyelinered teens attending Sussex. The Prodigy headlined the sold out 1991 Christmas Ball, followed by Pulp and Radiohead in early 1992 who performed at East Slope to a vast crowd of 'common people'. Blur completed the incredible line up by performing in 1993, something almost every student would have given an arm and a leg to see.

Image may contain: Paper, Menu, Text

A slightly Blurry photo of the 1993 setlist

2000s

The angel that is Amy Winehouse graced lunchtime at Falmer Bar with her presence in 2002, a performance that came just before her 2003 release of 'Frank'. Five years later, Brighton band The Kooks played to hundreds of students at East Slope Bar giving all the feels with their indie-rock dance-worthy music. The Mystery Jets topped off the decade in 2008 performing a set that made us all wish we were 90s babies.

2010s

The refurbishment of The Attenborough Centre attracted a whole new collection of performers with Squid, who are all Sussex alumni and Tim Hecker playing the auditorium this year in 2019. The Bombay Bicycle Club played an intimate set in 2010 with the audience all sitting cross legged around the performers, in true hippy Sussex style.

Image may contain: People, Crowd, Audience, Person, Human

Sitting on the floor to Bombay (photo: Harriet King)

Who knows what the 2020s will bring. Perhaps Falmer Bar and Mandela Hall will revive its live music scene? No pressure Sanjeev.

Photo credits to The University of Sussex website unless stated otherwise.