First look inside - historic church opening up for Sound City Festival

Sound City festival co-director Marcus Neal is delighted to be using St Stephen's Church in Ipswich for the festival 

Sound City festival co-director Marcus Neal is delighted to be using St Stephen's Church in Ipswich for the festival - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Ella Wilkinson

See inside historic St Stephen's Church, which is being fitted out for a new role later this week, as a venue for the Sound City Ipswich Festival.

The landmark Ipswich building was the town's Tourist Information Centre for many years, but did not reopen after the first lockdown in 2020.

However, now the building, which dates back to the 15th century, is set to host bands and DJs across the festival. It is being set up as a temporary cafe bar with both indoor and outdoor seating.

St Stephen's Church in Ipswich being fitted out as a venue for Sound City Ipswich Festival

St Stephen's Church in Ipswich being fitted out as a venue for Sound City Ipswich Festival - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

The church will be open with music and drinks from Thursday, September 30 to launch the festival right through to the early hours of Sunday, October 3.

"The addition of St Stephen’s will give us a real all-day presence in the town centre" said Sound City co-director and programmer Marcus Neal.

‘It’s the first time we’ve had our own town centre bar and as we’ll be using both indoor and outdoor spaces it will be important to our impact locally, as well as helping to keep the town centre visibly alive at night.

St Stephen's Church in Ipswich being fitted out as a venue for Sound City Ipswich Festival

St Stephen's Church in Ipswich being fitted out as a venue for Sound City Ipswich Festival - Credit: Charlotte Bond/Archant

"It will provide festival attendees with somewhere to call into after the other shows have finished and discuss the day’s events - a buzzing place for both attendees and performers to unwind."

The festival is taking place at locations around the town on Friday and Saturday, October 1-2, also including iconic venue The Baths - formerly St Matthew's Baths Hall. 

Parris Robbo will perform in St Stephen's Church during the Sound City Ipswich festival 

Parris Robbo will perform in St Stephen's Church during the Sound City Ipswich festival - Credit: Parris Robbo

One of Ipswich's oldest buildings, St Stephen's was built in the 15th century and used as a place of worship until 1978. It is now owned by the borough council.

Ipswich councillor Colin Kreidewolf has said it's hoped the festival could be just the start for a new role for the church as a venue and a hub for events in Arras Square.  

St Stephen's Church

St Stephen's Church in Ipswich town centre - Credit: GOOGLE MAPS

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Artists appearing at St Stephen's during the festival include Fraulein, Sarpa Salpa, Parris Robbo, Chubby and The Gang, Georgie, Ayo, She's in Parties, Bug Teeth, Floral Image, Deep Tan, Khazali, Grove, TV Priest, The Cool Greenhouse and PVA. There will also be DJs at the end of both evenings.

Poppy Johnson of Bug Teeth, who will perform at St Stephen's Church during the Sound City festival

Poppy Johnson of Bug Teeth, who will perform at St Stephen's Church during the Sound City festival - Credit: Reel Connections/Katherine Mager Photography

The Ipswich Star is a media partner for the Sound City Festival.

For more details and to book tickets, visit the festival website. 

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