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Ipswich venue kept alive by supporters to host online festival

PUBLISHED: 19:30 06 July 2020

The Smokehouse in Ipswich has been supported by more than 300 people pledging funds during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Smokehouse in Ipswich has been supported by more than 300 people pledging funds during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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An independent Ipswich music venue kept afloat by loyal supporters has announced a live-streaming all day music festival this week – its first gig in four months.

The Smokehouse owner and manager Joe Bailey said the return of live music was fantastic for the venue. Picture: DAVID LANGDONThe Smokehouse owner and manager Joe Bailey said the return of live music was fantastic for the venue. Picture: DAVID LANGDON

The Smokehouse, which closed at the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March, has confirmed it is hosting a series of socially-distanced gigs and pre-recorded sets at the venue on Thursday from 11am to midnight.

MORE: Ipswich Smokehouse launches Crowdfunder to secure future during lockdown

Called Lock East Live, the festival will be streamed online and showcase bands and artists from East Anglia.

Among those are Steve Lamacq-championed Anorak Patch; Ipswich hip hop outfit Soundscape Green; sludge rock duo Kulk; pop performer Amy Milner; Ipswich rapper Kade and pop-punks Underline the Sky.

It represents the first live music the venue is hosting following a successful online Crowdfunder drive to raise £12,000 to help keep it afloat.

The Smokehouse in Ipswich had been forced to close its doors during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: STUART GILSONThe Smokehouse in Ipswich had been forced to close its doors during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: STUART GILSON

Smokehouse manager Joe Bailey said lockdown meant its packed schedule of spring and summer gigs had to be cancelled, meaning the support was vital.

The £12,755 pledged by 335 supporters will support the team of freelance bar staff and sound engineers who have been facing financial uncertainties from lockdown.

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A business grant from Ipswich Borough Council and emergency grant from Arts Council England have also helped the community interest company pay its overheads during that time.

Mr Bailey said: “To get live music back within the walls of The Smokehouse is fantastic.

“We’ve all missed live music massively and we’ll try to do what we can to help promote the talent in our area.

“It will certainly be different for the artists and audience working in the digital domain.”

On the Crowdfunder page, Mr Bailey pledged the venue would “come back stronger from this”.

As well as the online all-day festival, Lock East has also featured the Smokehouse team working with acts to develop videos and audio recordings for a new online platform promoting new material created in lockdown.

The concert will also be helping raise funds for the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE).

To find out more about the project and how to watch visit the website here and to donate follow the links on screen.


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