Sound City Ipswich: Sell-out festival shows what town 'can offer'

Bessie Turner at Sound City Ipswich
Image caption Local singer Bessie Turner, fresh from supporting Ed Sheeran in Chantry Park in August, was at the town's Corn Exchange

A sell-out multi-venue festival has highlighted the demand for music events in a town, organisers said.

About 800 tickets were sold for Sound City Ipswich shows on the Cornhill, at the Smokehouse, Corn Exchange and Manor Ballroom.

Marcus Neal, one of the organisers, said the event, which saw 23 bands and performers take part. showcased what Ipswich "can offer".

"The aim is to open new spaces and build a case for more venues," he said.

It follows four Ed Sheeran concerts watched by 160,000 people at the town's Chantry Park in August, marking the end of the Suffolk-based singer's record-breaking Divide tour.

Image caption The Cornhill, which underwent a £3.6m revamp last year, hosted one of the stages
Image caption Four-piece indie band Swimsuit Competition played on the Cornhill stage

"We want to bring the music industry to Ipswich to show them what we can offer," said Mr Neal.

"If Ed Sheeran was starting out now in his career he'd have just one venue to perform in."

Mark Davyd, who runs the Music Venue Trust charity, promoting grassroots and community artists, spoke at a conference in Ipswich ahead of the event.

'Quite exceptional'

He highlighted analysis showing the town, which has a population of about 133,000, lacked large music venues.

"Depressingly, Ipswich came out as the town or city with the largest population that doesn't have a 250 to 400 capacity venue, which makes it quite exceptional really," he said.

Image caption Dublin-based band The Murder Capital performed at the Manor Ballroom
Image caption Crowds arrived early at the Cornhill to enjoy a full day of music

Richard Haugh, of BBC Music Introducing in Suffolk, said he visited Liverpool earlier in the year and had seen how it had benefited from a similar event.

"Ipswich is so often overlooked and it's brilliant to see the town celebrate its musical heritage," he said.

But he said there was still a need for larger venues with capacities of up to 300 "so bands could make it to the next stage" in their development or career.

Image copyright Sound City Ipswich
Image caption The bands played at four venues across Ipswich

The event was supported and sponsored by Ipswich Borough Council, BBC Music Introducing, Arts Council England, Suffolk New College, Blackstar Amplification and sE Electronics.

Image caption Eloise was among the artists to play at the festival
Image caption Dingus Khan, from Manningtree, Essex, at the Corn Exchange
Image caption Snapped Ankles close Sound City at 02:00 BST at the Corn Exchange

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