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Ipswich’s Smokehouse venue and South Street Studios celebrates first birthday with free concert and BBC show

PUBLISHED: 18:00 18 September 2017

Underline The Sky performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich. Picture: JODIE BURNS/BURNT OUT MEDIA

Underline The Sky performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich. Picture: JODIE BURNS/BURNT OUT MEDIA

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An Ipswich music venue, recording studio and rehearsal space which has hosted more than 200 bands in 12 months is celebrating its first anniversary with a live BBC broadcast and free concert.

The Smokehouse, Ipswich's music venue at South Street Studios. Joe Bailey at the venue. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Smokehouse, Ipswich's music venue at South Street Studios. Joe Bailey at the venue. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The 80-capacity Smokehouse venue based at South Street Studios – home of community interest company Out Loud Music – is marking the occasion with a concert on Tuesday, October 2.

BBC Introducing in Suffolk, which champions emerging artists in the county, will be broadcasting from the venue from 7pm, before the free concert kicks off at 8pm featuring sets by Impilo and NotFamous.

Joe Bailey, director of Out Loud Music who runs the site, said he was thrilled with how the first 12 months had been.

“We are celebrating having over 70 gigs on last year since opening, over 200 original bands which is very important and over 3,000 audience members in one year,” he said.

The Smokehouse, Ipswich's music venue at South Street Studios. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Smokehouse, Ipswich's music venue at South Street Studios. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I think it shows there is a need for a dedicated live music venue in Ipswich. The most important thing is to work with other organisations and promoters to create a thriving scene.”

Among the highlights have been regular sold out nights organised by punk promoters Uncomfortable Beach Party, as well as gigs by Sam Duckworth (former Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly) and DJ Format, who has recorded with Jurassic 5.

Crucially, the venue has been able to host gigs by bands on UK tours, and team up Suffolk bands in support slots.

Other successes include recording bands in the region which have gone on to be played on BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music.

In My Disguise performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich. Picture: Robbie StevensIn My Disguise performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich. Picture: Robbie Stevens

But the team remains busy on latest plans for the year ahead, including opening a second studio for IO Radio, creating a lower budget recording studio for college level bands to be able to record and expanding its Smokehouse Sessions series of studio videos which have each generated between 2,000 and 6,000 views and helped bands secure slots at Reading and Leeds, Latitude and Glastonbury festivals.

Mr Bailey added: “Sometimes I do have to pinch myself. I tend to be in the background at gigs but just seeing bands enjoying themselves and saying nice things about the sound and staff. Seeing audiences enjoy themselves is just brilliant – I have to pinch myself it’s happening here and that it’s been accepted with open arms.”

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