OPINION: Support North Devon's fantastic live music venues - Andy McAuley

North Devon Gazette

Hello all. Going to a live gig, seeing a band or artist in a small venue and feeling, for an hour or two, lost in the power of music is something that has been missed and is slowly coming back.Â

I have had some great experiences at small venues, having drum sticks thrown at my head or me and my mates chatting with the lead singer one of my favourite bands thinking we could be best mates!Â

In North Devon there are many venues and pubs that are developing a reputation for live music and giving a stage and platform for Grass Roots music. It’s so important for bands and musicians to be able to perform and share with us their passion. Like I said last week, going to Saunton Road Studios every Sunday to their open mics was magic and a great opportunity to see new talent emerging.Â

I’ve visited many pubs and small venues over the years and they all have their own qualities and are happy to include emerging talent on their ‘What’s On’ lists.Â

Venues such as The Palladium (the Pally) in Bideford have always got a wide range of bands/artists playing and have featured the up and coming.Â

Latitude in Barnstaple is fast becoming known as a venue for good live music and food.Â

I’ve had a couple of fun nights at The Golden Lion Tap in Barnstaple in their back-room bar and stage.Â

The Red Barn and The Bar Electric in Woolacombe have a season of open mic’s, live music and DJ’s. Â

The King’s Arms, Georgham have had some great live acts in their intimate, friendly bar.Â

The Pier in Ilfracombe don’t shy away from loud and live.Â

The Quay in Braunton have had an impressive and successful summer season of live music.Â

These are just a few of our venues and I’ve missed out loads but most pubs are diversifying and putting in small stage areas and decent sound systems which is great for musicians.Â

How do we support these venues and others like Broomhill Garden, The PloughArts, Down The Rabbit Hole, The Queens Theatre and The Landmark?Â

Check out all these venues socials and see what they have going on, you may be surprised, like and follow what they do. Check out the venues live streams and become a member.Â

Plan ahead is my tip; get yourself prepared for a night out, buy tickets from the venues. I have to give myself some good prior warning in going out these days! (Cheers Phil)Â

Go to an open mic, have a coffee and a drink, buy some merchandise off the band (if they have any), follow the bands or artists socials if you're into them. You never know they could be the next big thing.Â

If you want to go a step further check out Music Venue Trust which is a UK registered charity which acts to protect, secure and improve Grassroots Music Venues.Â

Our North Devon venues have been on the ropes over the last year and a half and if wasn’t for the hard work and dedication of the owners and current supporters, the worst could happen. A live music programme enhances venues and pubs and can be a creative hub for our North Devon community.Â

So, over the next few months I want to champion our venues, meet the people running them and write about all that talent that’s out there wanting to play, sing, rap, shout and scream and give us a good time.Â

Listening to music during these rubbish times has been my saviour, I want to pay back what it’s given me and hopefully you, and if this helps, happy days.Â

Till next time, Keep rocking, rockers.