The organisers of a brand-new multi-venue music festival in Ipswich have said there is a need for more small- to medium-sized venues in the town. Liverpool Sound City partnered with the Smokehouse in Ipswich to demonstrate the town’s live music capabilities.

The event sold-out with around 800 tickets bought to see performances at the Smokehouse, Corn Exchange, Manor Ballroom and The Cornhill.

Marcus Neal, one of the organisers, told Event Industry News people normally have to travel to Cambridge or Norwich to enjoy live music. “We want to build a case for getting more venues in Ipswich. The Smokehouse is an 88-capacity venue, but the Corn Exchange holds over 1,000. There’s no middle ground for bands to step up.”

Bessie Turner by Christian Barker

Mark Davyd is the CEO of the charity that represents small and medium-sized UK venues, Music Venue Trust, and he spoke about research that showed the town lacked larger music venues, even though it has a population of approximately 133,000.

He said: “Depressingly, Ipswich came out as a town or city with the largest population that doesn’t have a 250-400-capacity venue, which makes it quite exceptional really.”

Richard Haugh from BBC Music Introducing in Suffolk explained the importance of towns offering venues with such capacities “so bands could make it to the next stage” in their career.

Mr Neal continued: “People in Ipswich are frustrated at the lack of infrastructure for live music, so we want to raise awareness and inspire other local people.

“We definitely want to do it again next year. We had a free-to-attend Sound City-branded stage in the town centre so we could really shout about what we were doing.”

Lex Amor and Wu-Lu by Miff Pleasant
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Molly joined the editorial team in March 2019. She has several years’ experience working in broadcast and journalism, as well as marketing and PR. Past experience includes working for the BBC and independent publishing houses. If you have a story you think Molly might be interested in, please email: