Will we see a reborn Ipswich music scene?

Georgie sings at St Stephens Church for the Sound City Music Festival in Ipswich. Picture: DENISE BR

Georgie sings at St Stephens Church for the Sound City music festival in Ipswich in 2021 - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

As independent music venue week gets underway, Ipswich has another reason to attract people into the town. 

The team behind Sound City, the Smokehouse, are using the reborn Baths in Civic Drive for a live music week from Tuesday, February 1 until Saturday, February 5.

The venue was used during the 1960s and 1970s for gigs during the winter and as a swimming pool during the summer and is now hoping to stay as a music venue once again. 

Led Zeppelin played there in November 1971 as part of the Bluesville gigs in Ipswich held at the Manor Ballroom and the Baths Hall.

Eric Clapton's band Cream also played along with Jethro Tull, Kenny Ball, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds and Spencer Davis.

It's hoped more gigs in the town will also help the night-time economy once more. 

Last year at Sound City, Ipswich town centre saw a drive in trade for other business like pubs, restaurants and cafes from the two-day music festival. 

Sarah Barber

Sarah Barber, portfolio holder for the town centre at the borough council - Credit: Gregg Brown

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Sarah Barber, portfolio holder for the town centre at the borough council, thinks it will bring more people into the town centre and "grow" the music scene. 

She added: "It will have a very good, positive effect."

Councillor Colin. Sound City on the Cornhill in Ipswich Picture: CHARLOTTE BOND

Councillor Colin Kreidewolf at Sound City on the Cornhill in Ipswich - Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND

Fellow Ipswich borough councillor Colin Kreidewolf said it will go a long way to "reestablishing" the Baths as a music venue. 

Along with helping bring people into Ipswich for live music, Mr Kreidewolf said.  

"It will attract people from out of the town and they will use other establishments," he said. 

David Kindred, the former photographer at Ipswich Star, who took pictures of many of the big bands that came to the town, said that it's great seeing the return of the Baths. 

But he added you would be unlikely to see the return of big acts like Ed Sheeran appear at the Baths now when bigger music acts play stadiums. 

"People didn't travel as far during those days," he said. "And these bands would do town after town."

He said when the Beatles came they did not seem to realise they were in Ipswich as they would just have to go somewhere else on tour straight after the gig. 

He also explained how the music scene was different when Buddy Holly, Jerry and the Pacemakers and the Rolling Stones came to the town. 

Then, Mr Kindred said, big bands like the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix who played there only had around 20 minutes on stage before another variety performance would come on with a comedian like Des O'Connor or a ballad singer. 

"It was more aimed at families," he said. "It took everyone by surprise when the crowd rushed the stage for the Rolling Stones."

In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, the Regent was also known as the Gaumont Theatre.