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Smokehouse in Ipswich to host re-opening party to 'celebrate its importance within community' and thank supporters after Covid-19

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Ipswich's Smokehouse venue is holding a re-opening event to thank crowdfunders, supporters and volunteers during the Covid-19 shutdown.

The venue, based in South Street and run by community interest company Out Loud Music, relied on community support to stay afloat during the 18 months it was shut during the pandemic.

It raised £13,000 from 337 supporters in 69 days, which allowed it to continue sharing virtual gigs online before restarting gigs, recording sessions and its community projects when easing of restrictions allowed.

The Smokehouse venue in Ipswich. Picture: Caitlin Whittaker
The Smokehouse venue in Ipswich. Picture: Caitlin Whittaker

On Friday night, the venue is holding its belated re-opening party.

A spokesman from the venue said: "Like every other music venue during the pandemic, The Smokehouse begrudgingly closed their doors to the public, for a total duration of 18 months.

"While continuing to share virtual gigs online, we desperately wanted to open the doors once and for all. The loss of this platform for artistic expression and social space for like-minded people was a massive blow to the town.

"Yet, two years later, beneath the hopeful June sunshine, The Smokehouse will officially celebrate its reopening after having to postpone this party twice. Thanks to those who supported us via a crowdfunder in 2020, this was all made possible.

"The Smokehouse party will be a great celebration of the venue and its importance within the community of Ipswich, alongside staff and supporters alike, with food and drink for everyone and brilliant music."

Headlining the party will be synth and drum duo Soccer96 - two thirds of the Mercury Prize-nominated jazz rock trio The Comet is Coming, with support from Norfolk-based electro artist Maria Uzor and vinyl DJ Ben Horner.

Soccer96 are headlining the Smokehouse re-opening party. Picture: Fabrice Bourgelle
Soccer96 are headlining the Smokehouse re-opening party. Picture: Fabrice Bourgelle

The Smokehouse and Out Loud Music team are also the driving force behind the cross-town Sound City Ipswich festival, and the revamp of St Stephen's Church into a new arts venue and community space, due to undergo work this summer and open in January.

To find out more about the Smokehouse re-opening party and tickets, visit www.thesmokehouse.org. Tickets include a wood-fired pizza and two drinks.