Rocking Horse Rehearsal Rooms opened in Durham City in February 2011. Starting with just 2 small rehearsal rooms, the facility has grown to 5 rehearsal rooms and a recording studio. Establishing itself as a major hub for the North East music community, with many great emerging and established bands, who have developed their craft in our rooms.
Our recording studio has worked with over 300 artists of all genres, helping many up and coming musicians to create their first recordings. We've also local institutions such as Durham University and Durham Cathedral. Working with Rhythm Dynamics, we have provided drum tutoring for over 50 students of all ages.
Our voluntary 2 year intern scheme has helped the development of 4 young aspiring sound engineers - alumni have used their experience with us to kick start their careers, progressing into roles in the music industry.
The studios have also provided affordable PA, equipment and sound engineering services for events across the county. We've created videos of local musicians, from live sessions up to full music videos, as well as producing our own YouTube channel. We've provided a venue for our bands to host various gigs, we also recorded several 'live at Rocking Horse' vinyl albums.
After over 12 years in Durham City, the landlords made the decision to demolish our building and redevelop the site. Our campaign to save the building included a petition signed by over 3500 people. We also received support from our local MP, the parish council and many other local organisations and groups.
Unfortunately the planning permission was granted for the redevelopment in December and we received our eviction notice in April. This means we have to vacate our current site by the 30th of November.
Sadly this will result in the loss of the majority of the investment and effort we have put into this building and our bespoke soundproof studios.
After over a year of searching, we have finally found a new building in Coxhoe. It's a significant upgrade on the current site as there's more space and it will be better suited to our needs. The new site will have more rooms and they will also be larger. The building will have improved facilities such as additional toilets, communal areas and more outdoor space. The largest of the new rooms will be big enough to host gig's with a significantly increased capacity, which we hope will act as a cultural hub for the local community.
Work has already begun on the construction and we're aiming to have the new building up and running before our demolition, with a couple of rooms open for booking by August. Rocking Horse will then be dismantled room by room, recycling as much materials as possible, before the completion of the Coxhoe site.
We will be constructing the new Rocking Horse rehearsal rooms ourselves, with the help of volunteers from our music family. A certain amount of the building materials at our current site can be recycled, but sadly we will be unable reuse most of it.
Rocking Horse needs your help. By contributing to our cause, you will help us to continue to enhance, enrich and support musicians in the North East. Your donation will be used to purchase the materials needed for the construction of the new rooms, such as plasterboard, timber, rockwool and electrical fittings. This will allow us to reconstruct the rooms and make them acoustically suitable for recording and rehearsing.
"Both of my children have gained enormous benefits from attending Rocking Horse studios. My daughter receives drum tuition there, whilst my son has used the facility to practice with various bands.
The facility is unique in our city. It contributes to trying to promote a vibrant and healthy local music culture and is especially important to the younger people of Durham."
Paul T, Durham.
"I've enjoyed using the rehearsal rooms/recording studio with several bands/projects since 2014. It also gives me the opportunity to make connections with other musicians I may not have got to know otherwise."
Neil T, Spennymoor.
"I am one of the young sound engineers that Rocking Horse have mentored. I got involved with Rocking Horse at the age of 16, knowing absolutely nothing about sound engineering or music production. Rich and Neil proceeded to show me the ropes of the business and allowed me to assist in recording sessions alongside my A-Level studies.
Within a year, I was running my own recording sessions and stepping into a career in sound engineering, and after two years at Rocking Horse I went on to study Music Technology at the University of Huddersfield. I have since graduated with a 1st class degree, worked in two professional recording studios and am now enjoying a career as a Music Technician in a top Sixth Form College and as a freelance music producer, sound engineer and media composer.
None of this would have been possible without Rocking Horse Rehearsal Rooms, and it's extremely sad to think that without this vital music provision in Durham City, today's young people may miss out on the opportunity to become music professionals."
Toby R, East Rainton.
"Rocking Horse has provided an invaluable service to the community for many years. It is the home of indie music scene in Durham, which brings invaluable benefit to the town from a cultural perspective.
It has been the driving force behind many local bands which have contributed massively to the local music scene across the north east, putting Durham on the map."
Matthew R, Wallsend.
"This rehearsal space is not only an asset to the local music community but it allows access to disabled musicians like myself and has wheelchair access with a disabled toilet available. To take this away would remove my opportunity to rehearse and perform with a band and show that disabled people can be musicians too.
Rocking Horse Rehearsal Rooms do more than just take up space they enhance the local community of musicians who have nothing else to live for and is the only rehearsal space in Durham...."
Alex K, Newton Aycliffe.
"My son has done drum lessons there for several years, he has Autism and playing drums is a way of him regulating his anxiety. Without access to this facility locally, his anxiety would increase again (as it did during lock-down) and we would have to access additional support from psychology therapies which is costly. The studios is a central music hub, well located and accessible for those across the county."
Jayne O, Durham.
"I have been in many bands over 10 years of playing live and all of them have used Rocking Horse to rehearse. Without them, we would have had nowhere to practice and no chance of getting to a gigging standard of playing.
On a personal level, the confidence I gained as a musician through having a regular and reliable place to practice that is local and easy to access is invaluable and I know many local musicians feel the same way. Many of them have recorded music at the rehearsal rooms which has led to significant steps in their careers.
Rocking Horse has changed my life and the lives of so many bands and musicians in Durham. Not only that, but through these bands being able to get to a gigging standard and be supported by Rocking Horse, they can encourage local pub trade as friends and family in the area flock to see them. Our local pubs value us and count on us to provide high quality entertainment, which we simply cannot do without a local place to rehearse.
Rocking Horse is a modest cultural icon of Durham City, without which much of the music in our town centre would disappear."
Julian L, Durham.
"I am a musician and thanks to having access to rocking horse as a rehearsal space have been able to tour all over the country, as well as in Europe and North America. Practice rooms provide a vital function to the culture of a city and Rocking Horse has provided a welcoming, friendly and affordable space for hundreds of bands to rehearse and record."
Nathan S, Durham.