This week, we find out more about Le Public Space in Newport.
We spoke to manager, Sam Dabb, who tells us all about moving premises after 25 years, becoming a Community Benefit Society, and what they'd like to see changed in the UK's live music industry.
- Le Public Space, 14 High Street, Newport, NP20 1FW
- Established: 2017 (1992 at the original location)
- Capacity: 100
To start us off, tell us a little bit about yourself and the venue...
The venue was originally opened in July 1992. We spent 25 years in our original home putting on bands of all genres from all over the world. In 2016 our landlady let us know she wouldn't be renewing our lease so we started looking at ways to continue.
We decided we wanted a more accessible, more community based venue and that we wanted to offer a space to other facets of the creative arts. We set up as a community benefit society and in July 2017 we opened the first floor of our new venue. We have a fully vegan menu and are a fully accessible community hub, as well as a venue. We are in the process of renovating three further floors and hope to add a gallery, cinema, rehearsal studios, photography studios and much more, all for community use.
My role is a bit of everything. I book bands, oversee stuff, order beer and I even clean the toilets!
Has the venue gone through any major changes since it opened (location, renovation, style of music etc)?
Yes. We became a Community Benefit Society and relocated in the summer of 2017. This means we are owned by our regulars.
How many gigs or club nights a week do you host?
We host three gigs and two club nights, on average.
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?
Do you host events besides gigs and club nights?
We host all kinds of events, such as life drawing sessions, quizzes, music bingo and so much more! All of our events are listed on our website.
If you could change one thing about the live music industry, what would it be?
I would like to see more support from government bodies and arts councils for upcoming artists and venues themselves.
Has your venue ever been threatened with closure? If so, what could have been done to prevent it/support you?
We relocated in 2017 as the landlord wanted to sell the building, so we reopened where we are now as a Community Benefit Society. We had to spend money on the old building for soundproofing in 2012, and as the Agent of Change policy was not in place at this time, it meant that we lost this money.
What's been your proudest moment working at your venue?
Opening the old venue, and seeing how much the old venue's regulars love the new venue.
Skating Polly at Le Public Space.
Tell us about one of your favourite recent shows that the venue has hosted…
The return of Larry And His Flask after a 3 year hiatus (7th August 2018). They are an oregon-based rockabilly punk band that have played for us many times before their hiatus.
Are there any interesting facts/stories about the venue that people might not know, but should?!
Quite a few of our bar staff are in bands and it's always been that way. If you name a successful band from Newport I can probably tell you which member worked our bar!
Le Public Space was also the UK's first ever venue to supply Fightback Lager - where a donation from every pint sold goes to the Music Venue Trust, a UK registered charity acting to protect, secure and improve our venues. Ask for it at a venue near you!