This week, we find out more about The Brook in Southampton.
We spoke to Liz Rickard, Marketing & Publicity Coordinator (and self proclaimed 'Press Monkey'), who tells us about their wide range of live events, the disproportionate distribution of wealth within the industry, and famous songs written at their bar.
- The Brook, 446 Portswood Road, Southampton, SO17 3SD
- Established: 1994
- Capacity: 550
Tell us a little about the venue and your role there.
Our Music Venue is called The Brook - 'Southampton's Friendliest Live Music Venue'. The capacity is 550 (600 but we cap at 550 for audience comfort). Our team includes Dylan Clarke - Director/Manager, Nick Lewis - Director/Manager, Liz Rickard - Marketing & Publicity Coordinator.
Has the venue gone through any major changes since it opened (location, renovation, style of music, etc)?
In 2004 The Brook underwent a renovation that extended the capacity from 300 to 600.
How many gigs or club nights a week do you host?
Anywhere from 3 to 7.
Which band that's played your venue has gone on to be the best known?
Which band that played your venue deserved/deserves to be better known than they are?
Jerry Williams, who recently performed at the venue.
Do you host events besides gigs and club nights?
We host comedy evenings, original and emerging acts, plus tribute band nights.
If you could change one thing about the live music industry, what would it be?
- Arts funding to be fairly distributed with music venues included in the category, therefore benefitting as much as theatres, opera houses (which receive a significant amount of Arts Council England support), etc.
- Business rates to be equal for music venues, as they are for theatres and arts centres.
- Fairer distribution of wealth - highly paid record producers compared to lowly paid musicians trying to get started, is disproportionate.
Has your venue ever been threatened with closure? If so, what could have been done to prevent it/support you?
The wolf is never very far from the door! Footfall is down, business rates have just gone up, as has every other cost. Music Venues need rates that are in line with theatres. And, if theatres receive Arts Council Funding, then so should grassroots music venues.
What's been your proudest moment working at your venue?
A successful night of new, emerging music for our first Independent Venue Week - seeing lots of younger people through the door and the place and bar buzzing.
(Photo: Dylan Clarke)
What's the best show you've put on recently?
Balcony Bar Sunday Sessions - the place was full, kids were happy and entertained, great DJ & Live Music, the bar was busy - and taking money!
Are there any interesting facts/stories about the venue that people might not know, but should?!
Passenger penned the very successful "Heart's On Fire" at the end of our bar!
The real and whole reason The Brook is here is because we had a vision to get John Martyn to play in our front room - and he did - then he came back for a further four brilliant performances, and The Brook became a memorable music venue!