Ipswich music venue awarded £34k to boost Covid recovery

Joe Bailey at the Smokehouse in Ipswich, which has been awarded government cash

Joe Bailey at the Smokehouse in Ipswich, which has been awarded government cash - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The director of Ipswich's only dedicated live music venue says receiving more than £30,000 in government cash will help attract more bands and artists.

Out Loud Music CIC, which manages the Smokehouse, is one of 11 Suffolk organisations to receive funding from the Culture Recovery Fund.

Joe Bailey, director of Out Loud Music, said the organisation would "really struggle" without the money.

The cash has been made available by the government to support theatres, galleries and other venues bounce back from the Covid lockdowns.

A total of £1,081,714 has been distributed in Suffolk by Arts Council England.

The Smokehouse, based in South Street Studios, off Norwich Road, was opened in 2016 by Out Loud Music and director Mr Bailey.

The venue has hosted hundreds of acts since its opening and the Out Loud Music team organised the Sound City multi-venue festival in Ipswich in 2019 and 2021.

Out Loud Music has also set up a number of schemes for the community at the Smokehouse.

Mr Bailey is also festival director of Sound City, a music festival in Ipswich

Mr Bailey is also festival director of Sound City, a music festival in Ipswich - Credit: Charlotte Bond

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Mr Bailey said the venue was starting to plan for the new year after a Covid-hit 18 months.

He said: "Without this, we would really struggle to continue our unique work in Ipswich, providing original live music performance, opportunities for volunteering, and paid work within our organisation.

"Coming off the back of Sound City Ipswich in October, it was essential to keep up the momentum bringing culture and music back to our town and this grant means we can plan and program into the new year, ensuring local artists, up and coming bands and established artists can come to our venues and enrich local life.

"Our team of volunteers, freelancers, and core staff will have security and know that they are not just valued by us but also by our community and funders. We look forward to our winter schedule and our plans for the new year."

Hazel Edwards, South East area director at Arts Council England, added: "With these latest awards, organisations which are at the very heart of our communities can continue to adjust to this new landscape – so audiences from all backgrounds can get back to making the most of everything that they have to offer."

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