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Sound City Ipswich to host online music festival celebrating local acts

PUBLISHED: 07:30 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 08:27 30 September 2020

Recording a pre-recorded set at The Smokehouse for the Sound City Ipswich online event 2020. Picture: MARCUS NEAL

Recording a pre-recorded set at The Smokehouse for the Sound City Ipswich online event 2020. Picture: MARCUS NEAL

Marcus Neal

A music festival aimed at promoting Ipswich as a destination for touring artists will be held online on Friday, after coronavirus forced the cancellation of this year’s event.

The line-up for the online version of Sound City Ipswich 2020. Picture: SOUND CITY IPSWICHThe line-up for the online version of Sound City Ipswich 2020. Picture: SOUND CITY IPSWICH

Organisers behind the Arts Council England-backed Sound City Ipswich confirmed in July that the industry summit and festival set to take place this Friday had been called off because of the pandemic.

And while the event will return on October 1, 2021, it has been confirmed that from 1pm-11pm this Friday a digital version of the event will still go ahead.

MORE: Sound City Ipswich to return in 2021

It will feature a mix of pre-recorded performances and live sets being streamed from The Smokehouse venue – one of the four venues across the town originally set to host bands.

Festival manager Joe Bailey confirmed 20 acts have been lined up, and will focus on homegrown talent.

Joe Bailey (left) and Marcus Neal who organise Sound City Ipswich and run The Smokehouse venue said the aim of the online festival aims to continue momentum for the live muesic scene disrupted by Covid-19. Picture: RACHEL EDGEJoe Bailey (left) and Marcus Neal who organise Sound City Ipswich and run The Smokehouse venue said the aim of the online festival aims to continue momentum for the live muesic scene disrupted by Covid-19. Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“It was so important for us to keep up the momentum after the success of last year’s event and we are really excited to be able to take the festival online,” he said.

“Sound City Ipswich will return in physical form in 2021, but in the meantime we are looking forward to celebrating the wealth of local talent online.”

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Acts announced include Caswell – who supported Ed Sheeran in Chantry Park last year – as well as Flip Top Head, VV Experience, Ayo, Martell, Loula Yorke, Pin Ups, Native James and Seekah Lytess.

The Smokehouse in Ipswich will host a series of performances. Picture: STUART GILSONThe Smokehouse in Ipswich will host a series of performances. Picture: STUART GILSON

Last year’s inaugural sold-out event aimed to showcase Ipswich as a destination for touring bands with a summit of industry professionals, before hosting 25 artists at The Smokehouse, The Manor Ballroom, Corn Exchange and a free BBC Introducing stage on the Cornhill.

The Smokehouse has carried out Covid-19 risk assessments alongside Ipswich Borough Council and the Music Venues Trust to ensure the performances can be carried out safely.

The venue has been supported by a £12,000 crowdfunding campaign as well as emergency grants from the council and Arts Council England to remain afloat during the pandemic shutdown.

It began live-streaming gigs over the summer featuring upgraded high-definition cameras, to help continue promoting live music in the town.

Recording a pre-recorded set at The Smokehouse for the Sound City Ipswich online event 2020. Picture: MARCUS NEALRecording a pre-recorded set at The Smokehouse for the Sound City Ipswich online event 2020. Picture: MARCUS NEAL

MORE: Success of first Sound City Ipswich prompts return for future years

Marcus Neal, programme manager at The Smokehouse and Sound City Ipswich, said: “Despite our venue being closed to audiences we want to continue to support live music in any way we can and fortunately Joe had the foresight to build live streaming into the venue’s infrastructure from the outset.

“This current situation has forced everyone to seek out what is important locally and it has allowed us to look more at the regional scene.”

Music begins at 1pm on Friday and can be viewed at the Sound City Ipswich webpage here and associated social media platforms.


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