IN the first in a series of articles, music promoter Kieran J Moore, who moved to Trowbridge from Devizes a few years ago, looks at where we can enjoy live performances once lockdown finally lifts.

He explained:

“We have four exceptional, professional live music spaces, that roughly double in size going up the scale. Which means, should we be able to get the whole town connected and working together, we have the basis for a really exciting, supported live entertainment set-up.

“Let’s start at arguably Trowbridge’s most famous venue still in use, The Village Pump, which has been in place for decades, and the smallest, with space for around 70. Around March 2020 the existing committee wanted to part ways with the Pump, having different priorities in their lives. In stepped myself and Sheer Music, who had used it in recent years to marked success.

“The venue has an excellent Yamaha branded PA system (amps, speakers and FX) and an 18-channel Allen & Heath analogue desk. This system is more than suitable to the space required and the venue is mostly suited to acoustic singer/songwriters/folk/acoustic duos and trios.

“The Pump hosted two sold-out shows in spring 2020, just before lockdown, when Gaz Brookfield’s UK tour came to town, and then local trio The Lost Trades launched with their debut gig.

“The most exciting part of the Pump is the almost secret feel you get when you enter it. The low ceiling as you walk in gives a small, intimate feeling. The dark walls make the space feel smaller than it is. Old horse bridles link to owners Wadworths, but the real gem is the suspended floor above the performance space, with around 30 tiered red velvet seats, that once belonged to at Frome cinema.

“ With its own small car park directly opposite, and there’s usually Mo’s kebab van outside after a night of drinking and singing. If Carlsberg made small venues…

“Moving up a size to capacity circa 100-120, we have Town Hall Arts. Centrally located between the train station and the cinema, the Town Hall is imposing and a simply gorgeous place to hang out while watching live music. The marble pillars, wood panelling and oil paintings pre-date its former use as a courthouse. Now the artsy feel of hanging lights, eco shop, art gallery and more creates a creative atmosphere.

“During lockdown it has had the original wood flooring remade to great effect, while a professional lighting and PA system have been installed in the old courtroom.

“The PA is an active db Opera system (tops and subs), with a digital X32 mixing desk, and Mackie Thump monitors. All of this is brand new and only had its first test run when Wiltshire Rural Music presented some pre-recorded live streams from local musicians at the end of January. The lighting was pre-existing dimmable fresnels and 12x LEDs kindly donated by Tim Cross of Crest Studios in Trowbridge.

“Overall this is a cracking venue, that needs to be experienced as soon as we’re allowed to return. I am hoping that either Sheer Music or The Pump will be able to present some socially distanced shows in May 2021. Time will tell.

“Moving up a gear again, we come to Trowbridge’s newest live music and entertainment space, Emmanuel’s Yard. This 300-400 capacity venue is the former Baptist Church on Church Street, just behind that cool antique shop with the skeleton standing guard. It had planned on launching in 2020, which never came to fruition. It boasts a fantastic HK active sound system and again an x32 digital sound desk.

“There’s no real lighting to speak of, but the atmospheric lights show it off aptly. I believe the room can be set up seated for intimate shows and standing for dancing. It comes with a balcony area too, which looks lush.

“I can’t comment on the atmosphere or bar or anything yet, because I haven’t experienced it. The first show I am aware of is guitar virtuoso and YouTube sensation Jon Gomm in October 2021. Subject to all the obvious.

“That leaves us with the largest venue in town, The Civic. Behind the cinema complex, and looking onto Trowbridge park, it’s a thoroughly modern, smart looking building, with a well presented bar that’s been given the reclaimed wood, shabby chic vibe.

“The large main space holds (I understand) between 600-900 standing, fewer seated. It regularly holds comedy, music, theatre, dance and community events.

“It has an exceptional lighting rig and an exceptionally powerful TurboSound sound system. Bizarrely it has an Allan & Heath analogue desk, making it slightly behind the curve of the newer spaces in town. The desk is still excellent though and there are racks of outboard meaning it still hits the highest of professional standards.

“One gripe/drawback is that the mix point or tech area is in a booth behind plate glass at the back and top of the room, which hinders what the room really sounds like when mixing. That aside I’ve worked here a few times and the staff and crew are excellent. A real jewel in Trowbridge, which with any luck will help the town regain some momentum.

“It’s also fair to point out that there are lots of smaller places in Trowbridge that also offer live music, giving small acts somewhere to start their careers.

"The White Swan is a much loved pub that has hosted live music for years; The Stallards regularly hosts open mic nights and allows original live music too; Leykers coffee shop has previously presented acoustic nights in its upstairs area. Even the front bar at The Civic has dabbled in smaller live music events, and I believe that new venue BeeTee’s, which is directly opposite the Town Hall, has the vision to host live music once their upstairs is re-fitted.

“There are probably more I am not aware of, and anyone is welcome to drop me a message via the Sheer Music FB page, and I can add them in.”