Small UK mu­sic venues

From a laun­derette in Durham, to a church, for­mer school and even a book­shop, read­ers rec­om­mend their favourite haunts for in­ti­mate gig ex­pe­ri­ences

The Guardian - Travel - - Church, London 13 • Ashburtonarts.org.uk Suzy Rece -

Af­ter queu­ing, we were wel­comed in and pointed to the bar – cans of beer on a tres­tle ta­ble. The lit­tle church is beau­ti­ful. Great gig – My Dar­ling Clemen­tine, fea­tur­ing gui­tarist Martin Bel­mont, a founder mem­ber of Gra­ham Parker & the Ru­mour. Hank Wang­ford was in the crowd. All for £15, with the added bonus of sit­ting in on a bench in the church­yard that states: “John, Paul, Ge­orge and Ringo sat here dur­ing their mad day out in 1969.”

This live venue just off Ox­ford Road is split over three floors, and gigs are in the first­floor ball­room, with its domed ceil­ing and gothic wall­pa­per. It hosts a range of up and com­ing bands that span a wide sec­tion of mu­si­cal tastes. Get down the front or watch from benches at the back. Ei­ther way, you will feel con­nected at this great venue. Trof pro­vides the food, which is healthy and good value.

Ash­bur­ton Arts Cen­tre, Devon The lit­tle town’s Methodist chapel was bought by its com­mu­nity and con­verted into an arts cen­tre, now run by vol­un­teers. You wouldn’t know it from the pro­gramme: ev­ery­thing from dance to orches­tra to jazz and acous­tic gui­tar. I love sit­ting at a small can­dlelit ta­ble me­tres from the per­form­ers. Or peer­ing down from the gallery of this old chapel build­ing. Beth Row­ley was a re­cent high­light and an­other night the crowd loved danc­ing to the 17-piece Dock­side Latin Orches­tra.

Get down Star­crawler at Manch­ester’s Deaf In­sti­tute

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