'Our last resort' – Ipswich music venue's desperate plea for cash to reopen

The Music Room's Covid secure layout in Island House, Duke Street, Ipswich. 

The Music Room's Covid secure layout in Island House, Duke Street, Ipswich. - Credit: The Music Room

A popular music venue in Ipswich has made a last-ditch plea for donations to help it reopen - after being hit hard by the coronavirus crisis.

The Music Room, formerly Premier Pool, said a £1,500 monthly Covid grant to help it through the pandemic is only covering about 20% of its rent payments.

Darren on The Music Room's stage in Ipswich

Darren Smith on The Music Room's stage in Ipswich - Credit: The Music Room

Events manager Darren Smith, who is also a musician, has donated funds from his new album to try and help the 450-capacity venue, which was only able to open briefly last year with a limit of 80 seated customers.

But it has now launched a crowdfunding page online to try and raise more funds. 

"We always saw crowdfunding as a last resort," Mr Smith said.

"The managers have poured in their own money to keep going but we're at the end now when we just see other venues getting Covid grants.

"Hospitality has been hardest for most of the last year. It's understandable as places like nightclubs and music venues cannot really socially distance. 

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"I really hope when we do reopen that people are willing to go out and support their locals."

Darren Smith, events manager at the Music Room in Ipswich. 

Darren Smith, events manager at the Music Room in Ipswich. - Credit: Darren Smith

Mr Smith also lost his main income as a musician and events manager during the pandemic, saying that everything has "come to a standstill".

"In the first lockdown I took a job in Sainsbury's," he said.

"I also did some DJing online. Musicians and the arts have all been hit really hard the last year."

He said many venues "won't be able to survive" if there is another lockdown, as it's been "really tough" to keep going during this last year. 

Yet determined to stay positive, the 34-year-old has booked bands throughout 2021 - including two linked to Iron Maiden. 

The last crowd at the Music Room in Ipswich in February 2020

The last crowd at the Music Room in Ipswich in February 2020 - Credit: The Music Room

Gypsy's Kiss, formed in 1974 by Iron Maiden's David Smith and Steve Harris, will be at The Music Room on Saturday, July 10 along with Buffalo Fish, which ex-Iron Maiden guitarist Terry Wapram also plays in. 

So far, The Music Room has raised over £400 but needs more if it is going to reopen on Saturday, May 21 with live music. 

To donate, click here

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