The Smokehouse has been moving from strength to strength since opening in October 2016. In those last three and a half years our venue has supported hundreds of artists from the region by offering a platform at the town’s only dedicated live music venue as well as showcasing bands from mainland Europe, the US and Australia. Not only does The Smokehouse operate as a music venue, during the daytime it is also used for many community projects. It provides a safe and engaging space for young people with additional needs and disabilities, adults with mental health issues and disabilities, and projects for vulnerable young people in our community.
We made the decision to close our doors on Monday 16th March, which not only meant a swathe of gig cancellations, but everything else shutting down on site, which involves many vulnerable people accessing our facilities throughout the week. Nearly everyone on site is self-employed so this was a difficult decision to make on all bases.
Currently, all gigs are either cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future (please check our website or facebook events for further details). We will be reviewing the situation on a week by week basis taking into account the government's advice.
We are so proud of how far we’ve come in such a short time. We regularly have bookings filling the calendar two to three months ahead, priding ourselves on offering a fully staffed venue to hire for just £50. As well as supporting local promoters and artists we have built a reputation for booking touring artists from across the UK - some of whom are filling venues ten or twenty times the size of The Smokehouse but are supporting grassroots venues and in doing so are adding significantly to the town’s cultural offer and giving valuable evidence for our longer term goal to open a larger venue in Ipswich to provide the next rung up on the ladder.
All of this however has come to a standstill - we have cancelled and rescheduled many many upcoming gigs and the uncertainty around how long the closure will last has led to questions around how long we can maintain the venue.
Culturally speaking, the loss of this platform for artistic expression and social space for like-minded people is a massive blow to the town.
Financially, the cancellation of these shows not only means a loss of income for the bands and promoters but also the loss of guaranteed income for our freelance staff including sound engineers, lighting operators, bar staff and administrators.
We have been fortunate to receive some government funding that will cover rent for the next few months but as a venue we rely on bar income not only for essential overheads such as rent, electricity and other services but to pay our freelancers and to support the growth of the venue.
These are difficult times across the whole industry, for venues, artists and promoters. There are venues across the world facing the same challenges as we are. We are facing an uncertain future after building such a strong reputation.
Without our dedicated staff and volunteers and the support from all you gig goers, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
This is why we are asking for your support. A small donation from you could contribute to securing the future of our venue.
We will come back stronger!