East Anglian bands to benefit from free live session recordings at Ipswich venue

Out Loud Music director Joe Bailey (left) and Marcus Neal, Smokehouse Live co-ordinator. Picture: RA

Out Loud Music director Joe Bailey (left) and Marcus Neal, Smokehouse Live co-ordinator. Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

An independent Ipswich venue which champions East Anglian bands is set to provide professional audio and video performances for up-and-coming acts after securing arts council funding.

The recording space at the Smokehouse and Punch Studios, where the Smokehouse Live recordings can ta

The recording space at the Smokehouse and Punch Studios, where the Smokehouse Live recordings can take place. Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

Ipswich-based community interest company Out Loud Music, which runs the Smokehouse live music venue and Punch Studios recording and rehearsal space, secured £38,808 from Arts Council England, while Start East awarded £8,240 for the Smokehouse Live project.

It will provide 36 bands from across Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire with a professionally recorded live audio and video of a three-song session.

The bands will record the sessions in Ipswich, and can then use them for their own promotion and marketing.

Joe Bailey, director of Out Loud Music, said: “It’s been a labour of love over the last couple of years since starting the Smokehouse.

The Smokehouse venue stage in Ipswich where bands selected for Smokehouse Live can chose to have the

The Smokehouse venue stage in Ipswich where bands selected for Smokehouse Live can chose to have the recording. Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant


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“We’re so delighted to get [the funding] and the arts council have been incredibly positive in championing what we do – they see the value of the project for the whole region.”

The sessions will be recorded over the next three years, with bands from across Anglia able to apply now.

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The performances will then be available to view online with additional content such as band biographies and interviews.

It aims to help develop those bands as they progress, showcase the Smokehouse as a venue and creative space, and stimulate live music in Ipswich.

The Smokehouse, Ipswich, at South Street Studios. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

The Smokehouse, Ipswich, at South Street Studios. Picture: RACHEL EDGE - Credit: Archant

A pilot was launched in 2017 to assess whether the project could work, with 10 bands taking part. Artists to have been involved have since gone on to perform at Reading and Leeds and Glastonbury festivals.

Mr Bailey said he hoped it could continue beyond the three years through sponsorship to make it self sustaining, and could join its long-term programme, which includes community radio and music sessions for young offenders and those with learning difficulties.

Marcus Neal, project curator, said it will lead to the Smokehouse staging its own gigs where those bands could support touring artists. He said: “We’re trying to stimulate the live music scene, particularly in Ipswich but across Suffolk.

“We are really, really excited to be able to showcase the venue and be able to put on our own gigs.

“We’re going to put on shows on the first Friday of every month, bringing in bands from outside the region on those and adding local support.”

To find out more and to apply, visit the website here.

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