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Could new music festival put Ipswich on the map?

PUBLISHED: 05:00 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:22 29 July 2019

Underline The Sky performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich, which will be one of the venues for Sound City Ipswich. Picture: JODIE BURNS/BURNT OUT MEDIA

Underline The Sky performing at The Smokehouse in Ipswich, which will be one of the venues for Sound City Ipswich. Picture: JODIE BURNS/BURNT OUT MEDIA

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A brand new music festival and conference is set to take place across Ipswich this autumn in a bid to encourage touring bands to visit the town.

Sound City Ipswich logo. Picture: SOUND CITY IPSWCHSound City Ipswich logo. Picture: SOUND CITY IPSWCH

Sound City Ipswich will feature 21 bands performing across three venues, with the aim of uniting the town behind the cause.

During the day a conference featuring artists, venues, promoters and industry figures will showcase Ipswich as a viable location for touring artists to play.

There will then be evening gigs at the Corn Exchange, Manor Ballroom and The Smokehouse featuring local and touring bands.

Other activities such as coffee shop acoustic gigs, DJ sets, workshops and a free BBC Introducing gig are also being lined up.

Ed Sheeran outside The Swan in Ipswich as an up and coming star. Picture: JEN O'NEILLEd Sheeran outside The Swan in Ipswich as an up and coming star. Picture: JEN O'NEILL

Joe Bailey, Smokehouse owner and event organiser, said: "We're really excited to partner with Liverpool Sound City to bring a multi-venue festival to our home town of Ipswich.

"We've been helping incubate the local scene over the last two and a half years with The Smokehouse and it's a really exciting prospect to be taking this forward on a larger scale.

"We hope to create an aspirational day for artists and audience members alike, showcasing some of the best regional talent alongside national artists shining a well-deserved spotlight on the town."

The Sound City event team said the town has historically been bypassed in favour of Norwich and London, and had been hampered by a lack of dedicated venues.

Joe Bailey of the Smokehouse venue said it would shine a well deserved spotlight on the town.Joe Bailey of the Smokehouse venue said it would shine a well deserved spotlight on the town.

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The arts council-funded festival aims to change those perceptions, and wants more than 1,000 people will attend the gigs.

Mr Bailey added: "We would expect the festival to cause an upturn in the town's night time economy and bring more life to our town centre.

"We hope the festival will attract larger numbers of visitors to the town and prove the need for investment in the area's music infrastructure, leading towards the creation of more live music venues, increased engagement in live music and for Ipswich to culturally thrive; whilst supporting the development of bands and artists in the eastern region."

Rod Stewart performing at Portman Road in Ipswich, 2019. Picture: DANIELLE BOODENRod Stewart performing at Portman Road in Ipswich, 2019. Picture: DANIELLE BOODEN

The Corn Exchange and Regent traditionally only attract heritage acts which tend to play more UK dates, while Ipswich Town Football Club has hosted occasional big concerts such as Rod Stewart, Elton John, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pink in previous years.

Chantry Park will see homegrown superstar Ed Sheeran perform over four nights this summer, but has not been used for any high profile concerts since JLS and Little Mix in 2012.

Sound City CEO Dave Pichilingi said: "Sound City has always been about making friends and building relationships regionally, nationally and internationally.

"Our mantra is always to champion the best emerging creative and business talent we can find.

Red Hot Chili Peppers at Portman Road in 2006 are one of the high profile acts to have performed in the town. Picture: ANDY ABBOTTRed Hot Chili Peppers at Portman Road in 2006 are one of the high profile acts to have performed in the town. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

"The Smokehouse has provided an amazing spotlight for the breadth of talent that is coming from Ipswich and the region.

"It is our aim, through the Sound City brand and our partners, to magnify this and give it the credit and attention it deserves on a wider platform.

"We are very excited about this launch event and looking forward to building something beautiful together over future years that can feed into our other UK events as well as those abroad."

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