New Ipswich music venue to host gigs before major work starts

Bessie Turner

Bessie Turner will be among the performers - Credit: Bessie Turner

The team behind a new music venue planned for a vacant Ipswich church have confirmed it will be used as a pop-up venue until the summer before renovations start.

And details have been unveiled for artists performing there this weekend as part of the town’s Welcome Back Weekend activities to attract town centre footfall.

Out Loud Music community interest company last month secured a lease from Ipswich Borough Council and a £300,000 grant from the Suffolk Inclusive Growth Investment Fund to convert St Stephen’s Church, the former Tourist Information Centre, into a new music venue.

The space was used during Sound City Ipswich last autumn, but the plans will secure it as a 225-capacity venue on a permanent basis for music, poetry, comedy and other performances, while being used a cultural hub and community cafe during the day.

Now, the Out Loud Music team has confirmed the revamped venue will open in January but plenty of music will be on offer before then.

TV Priest performing at St Stephen's Church

TV Priest performing at St Stephen's Church during Sound City Ipswich 2021. - Credit: AMANDA KINGSTON

A spokesperson said: “The church is due to close in late summer 2022 for renovation works with a reopening date set for end of January 2023.

“In the meantime, the church will be used for a further series of pop up events following success using the space for Sound City Ipswich in 2021."

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Gig-lovers won’t have long to wait before the next performances there with a new free event called ‘Brighten the Corners’ on offer this weekend as part of the town’s Welcome Back Weekend extravaganza.

The free gigs will take place on Friday and Saturday, kicking off on Friday night with Bury twosome Collars, Essex performers Anna’s Bones and York-based indie rockers Bull.

St Stephen's Church

St Stephen's Church during Sound City Ipswich 2021. Picture: AMANDA KINGSTON - Credit: AMANDA KINGSTON

On Saturday, Suffolk-based Suds will be performing followed by Ipswich hip-hop duo Soundscape Green, Ed Sheeran-supporting Bessie Turner, Noon Garden, Prima Queen and rapper Shunaji.

The Baths, the historic venue which hosted the likes of Cream and Led Zeppelin in its heyday and also staged a successful comeback during Sound City last year, will also be hosting live music with This is the Kitt on Saturday night.

At The Smokehouse, multi-instrumentalist Fran Pitcher and Grace Calver perform on Friday night before The Grey take to the stage on Saturday.

For tickets and more information visit or