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Dates announced for return of Sound City Ipswich music festival

PUBLISHED: 18:46 19 November 2019

Swimsuit Competition performing on the Cornhill for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: PHILIP CHARLES

Swimsuit Competition performing on the Cornhill for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: PHILIP CHARLES

Philip Charles

A debut music festival and conference which aimed to promote Ipswich as a destination for touring artists is set to return next year.

Dingus Khan performing at the Corn Exchange for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: STUART GILSONDingus Khan performing at the Corn Exchange for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: STUART GILSON

Sound City Ipswich took place on October 4 at venues across the town, where 28 artists performed to hundreds of people.

The event included an industry-focused conference during the day promoting the town as a viable destination that more touring artists should visit, before a free BBC Introducing gig on the Cornhill and concerts at The Smokehouse, Manor Ballroom and Corn Exchange venues in the evening.

The sell-out event will return on Friday, October 2 2020, with a launch gig on the Thursday on the Cornhill.

Organiser Joe Bailey, Smokehouse venue owner, said: "We were overwhelmed by how well it went and really inspired by how it all came together.

Sound City organiser Joe Bailey said the event generated a buzz around town. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSound City organiser Joe Bailey said the event generated a buzz around town. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

"It was great to see people genuinely loving the music and experience at the different venues and know there was a really exciting buzz around the town."

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Traditionally touring bands will bypass Ipswich to play London, Cambridge or Norwich, unless they have a longer spell on tour, which the Sound City team hopes can be reassessed by showcasing the town's venues.

Mr Bailey said: "We want to establish music as a part of the cultural heritage of our town and we have got an opportunity to add to it.

Swimsuit Competition performing on the Cornhill for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: PHILIP CHARLESSwimsuit Competition performing on the Cornhill for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: PHILIP CHARLES

"It's very important to embrace that and hopefully this will provide evidence that medium-size venue [250-450 capacity] is needed, and make sure that step from The Smokehouse and Steamboat Tavern to the Corn Exchange and Regent is bridged with some infrastructure investment.

"If people continue to embrace these initiatives they won't have to travel our of the area to London, Cambridge or Norwich for the latest emerging or established artist."

Some of the local talent which performed at Sound City Ipswich, such as Bessie Turner, have been invited to the Sound City Liverpool event in May - the sister festival which supported the set-up in Ipswich.

By focusing a spotlight on Ipswich, there are also hopes it will encourage those bands from outside of the county to return.

WH Lung performing at the Corn Exchange for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: CHRISTOPHER BARKERWH Lung performing at the Corn Exchange for Sound City Ipswich 2019. Picture: CHRISTOPHER BARKER

Arts Council England funding helped support this year's event, with work to secure further grant funding and sponsorship for next year already underway.

For more information on next year's festival and upcoming events, register via the website here.

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