Following the significant number of new shoebox-type halls that opened in the last decades of the 20th century, the first decades of the 21st century have seen large concert hall design and construction dominated by halls in a surround format. This typology is characterised by the audience surrounding the concert platform, with a significant percentage of the audience seated to the sides of or behind the platform. These halls often use vineyard-style terracing. This paper discusses some advantages and disadvantages of surround halls, with respect to both acoustics and wider performance aspects. The perspectives of audiences, performers and hall operators are considered. Factors include acoustical quality, equality of audience experience, multiple performance genre use and ticket revenue. In particular, the implications of locating a high percentage of the audience behind the concert platform are examined. This is because, in most surround halls, a significantly higher percentage of the audience is located behind the platform as compared, for example, to shoebox halls.
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