The O2 Academy

The O2 is the largest Oxford venue to stage indie gigs, and it is a venue regularly used by big name touring bands. It contains two performance rooms. The upstairs room (Academy2) is slightly smaller than the lower room (Academy1) but both are large venues in their own right, have raised stages, large sound systems and powerful stage lighting, changing rooms for performers, security staff and a wrist band system. It has a cloakroom on the ground floor, and a medical room for first aid. If you require ear plugs, they can be obtained from the bar. The box office is open during the day making it easy to buy tickets for events in advance. Please note, they now have bag and body searches on the way in which can mean long queues to get through the doors.

Location and Transport

190 Cowley Road

The O2 Academy is on Cowley Road, a little past Tesco. It is 20 to 25 minutes walk from the town centre and there are plenty of buses along Cowley Road. The nearest car park is the Union Street pay and display car park behind Tesco.


The ground floor venue (Academy1) is completely accessible and there are no kerbs to negotiate. It also has a fully accessible toilet which can be accessed using a Radar key, or which staff can provide access to if required. The upper venue (Academy 2) can only be accessed by stairs and is currently inaccessible. Unfortunately, most of the indie gigs take place in this upper venue.

Did you know...?

Origins: The building which the O2 occupies was once the Co-op Supermarket, with the upstairs room rented out for functions which, in the late 1970s, included punk gigs. Since becoming a full music venue, it has had various names and was previously known as The Zodiac.