Music venue in Lowestoft is hitting the right notes
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Many live music venues, which were integral to the discovery of future stars, now stand empty across the UK.
These small to medium-sized venues provide a platform and invaluable experience between the smaller venues and the arena stage, for artists ascending the music industry's perilous ladder.
East Anglia has a strong pedigree for quality music venues with the Norwich Arts Centre, being named Britain's Best Small Venue by readers of the national musical magazine NME in 2014.
And bucking the national trend is Lowestoft's own live music venue – The Aquarium.
The Aquarium has a capacity of 900 - and being on the town's Claremont Pier adds a unique seaside charm to the music lovers' experience.
David Scott, owner of the Claremont Pier, said: 'We may not be as big as UEA but we are unrivalled in our local area, our sound system is one of the best in the country and we offer a very unique setting.
'The Aquarium has a wide spectrum of music to suit all tastes, from DJ sets, solo singers to big rock bands. The main issues we face are festivals – people pay £100 and can see 10 or so decent bands in one location,' Mr Scott said.
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'We have found our marketplace by putting on bands that wouldn't normally go to these festivals; as well as supporting local bands and offering them a chance to showcase their talents. Also, the Aquarium is more than a venue, we have roller skating, amusements, two function rooms and two restaurants; you have to have many strings to your bow.'
The UK live music industry is worth £1.6 billion. But despite this figure, venues with capacities of 100 to 900 are frequently closing across the country.
In London, 35 per cent of small and medium venues have closed since 2007 – including the famous 12 Bar Club.
Issues such as venue licensing, noise restrictions and the economic climate have all combined to cause the decline of those socially and culturally important venues.
The Claremont Pier has been in Mr Scott's family for 45 years and in 2013 Lowestoft band The Darkness sold-out the newly refurbished Aquarium within 20 minutes.
Mr Scott added: 'It has taken two years to become established but we have done our two years' probation and are aiming to build for the future. We want to target both young and older audiences, and want to break new music across different genres.
'Many years ago when my father bought the pier we used to have major gigs, so things have now gone full circle with us now being able to do the same with The Aquarium today.'
? Visit www.aquariumlive.co.uk or call 01502 573533 for more details.
What do you think of The Aquarium? Write, giving your full contact details, to: Journal Postbox, 147 London Road North, Lowestoft NR32 1NB or email firstname.lastname@example.org