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Smokehouse lighting a fire under Ipswich music scene

NXT News & Features
14 February 2020

THE IPSWICH music scene has been stagnant for many years due to lack of infrastructure, according to Joe Bailey, manager of The Smokehouse (cap. 88), who says he’s taking a different approach to running the venue.

Opened in 2016, The Smokehouse doesn’t just showcase local and emerging talent, it helps nurture it from the ground up, in turn investing in the future of the local scene.

“We’re a not-for-profit community interest company [CIC] so we use our facilities [which include Punch Studios] to train young people in audio, lighting, production and hospitality, which then leads to pathways to employment,” Bailey tells LIVE UK.

The venue’s CIC status also means they only need to charge a £50 hire fee, which goes towards paying the sound engineer, so local promoters and bands have the chance to put on their own nights.

While, bands from the Eastern region can apply to have a professionally filmed and recorded live session in the studios as part of The Smokehouse Live, a project funded by Arts Council England and Start East.

Among local artistes who have already benefited from the scheme are Bessie Turner, The Naked French and SUDS – a current favourite of Bailey’s.

Last year, The Smokehouse added to their promotional platforms for up-and-coming artistes, launching Sound City Ipswich, the town’s first multi-venue festival and music industry conference, and embraced Independent Venue Week.

“Each event was so special and highlighted the untapped potential in the town. My personal highlight is seeing the audience really enjoying themselves and knowing that this is just the start of something big happening for our town,” says Bailey.

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