Smoking concert

Smoking concert

Smoking concerts were live performances, usually of music, before an audience of men only; popular during the Victorian era. These social occasions were instrumental in introducing new musical forms to the public. At these functions men would smoke and speak of politics while listening to live music. These popular gatherings were sometimes held at hotels.

The term continued to be used for student, variety performances, especially those associated with Oxford or Cambridge. Annual Smoking Concerts were held at Imperial College London into the 1980's.

The saying "Booking for smoking concerts now" came into use at this time meaning that a person had recovered and was in the prime of health. This saying is used in the works of writer P.G. Wodehouse.


  1. Eva Mantzourani (Canterbury Christ Church University College), ‘The Aroma of the Music and the Fragrance of the Weed’: Music and Smoking in Victorian London

External links

  • Picture of a Victorian hotel with a smoking concerts advertisement.
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