Preview: The Blue Room – A Phoenix Rises From The Ashes

Re-opens for business on with live bands on Friday
Re-opens for business with live bands on Friday night

It is probably Blackpool’s worst kept secret and the music community in the area has been given snippets of information over the last ten days or so through a new Facebook page, set up with the intention of bringing cheer and a huge sigh of relief for many. As we were feeling the hangover from the final curtain coming down at the legendary Blue Room as a live music venue, it has emerged that there is some very positive news, which will delight and excite everyone connected to the local live music scene – bands and fans alike.

The Blue Room reopens for business this Friday night and promises to be a one to remember. The legend will be reunited with its many followers and hopefully this time it will be here to stay.

It may not have been closed for long, but one thing we definitely know is that it has been sorely missed. For many, many years The Blue Room stood for all what was great about live music. It became a launching pad for upcoming bands in the area, of which several have gone on to bigger and better things, but it was also a spiritual home for music fans to gather and enjoy the best live music in town and gave them a sense of belonging. That was lost once it closed its doors for the last time a couple of months back. But on seeing that there was a big reaction to its sad demise, a new team has taken up the gauntlet of putting the much loved venue back on the map.

Fully refurbished, with a substantial upgrade on the old place and therefore giving bands the very best in facilities and surroundings to play, the future looks very bright and hope has been rekindled once more. There has been a few whisperings recently about whether it was or wasn’t going to open again, but it has been confirmed that things will in fact be back in full swing on Friday December 13th,  with a showcase of local young upcoming bands. What a massive fillip this is for local live music, both as a place to perform and for somewhere that folk can once again enjoy the cream of local bands and no doubt other bands from further afield. The dawn of a new era for the venue and for the town.

Local upcoming talent kicks off a new era at The Blue Room
Local upcoming talent kicks off a new era at The Blue Room

I spoke exclusively with Steve Pellatt, a local drummer for many years and a member of several bands, who has been given the task of getting the venue up & running again and back on its feet. He is currently the drummer for Manchester based Midas Fall, who are signed to the Monotreme Records label.  As gig bookings, promoter and events manager, Steve told me how excited he was about the future of the new Blue Room and how it all came about.

“I met up with the new owner not too long ago after being put in contact via my brother. I was asked to give some advice on putting on some gigs, generally getting the place in shape to put events on and booking bands for the venue. Having played in there for so many years I felt I was in a decent position to offer advice and my services”  said Steve.

“I feel I’ve gathered a fair bit of gig experience of how things operate as a standard, having toured in places such as Germany, Netherlands, Slovakia, Hungary and many other European countries. I’ve just come back from a tour last month promoting our new E.P, as well as many venues in the UK and have seen how promotion and event set up/management is carried out across the board really. Possibly of greater value, the annoying instance when things haven’t been set up properly”  he continued.

Having been a member of various bands from the age of 15 and a veteran of many Blue Room performances, Steve feels he is the man to get the job done properly, to keep the interest in live music at the forefront of people`s minds and with the bands interests paramount.

He told me, “I intend to make sure that my approach shall cover what is required for all gigs and no bands shall be left in the dark over things like load in times, stage times, set ups, sound and promotion. I have promoted previously, having created the ‘Music Counts’ evening for Trinity Hospice last year, so I am fully in possession of knowledge regarding a few of the last minute pitfalls that can occur promoting any gig/live music event”

Great soundbites from a man clearly focused and on a mission. Steve certainly demonstrates all the attributes of someone who knows how venues should operate successfully and keep everything well organised and ticking over. Communication seems to be his strength, not only when it comes to organising gigs for bands but also keeping the public fully informed and up to date on events at the venue. Maybe this what was lacking previously and ultimately forced its closure?

I asked Steve how will things be different this time and how will he keep The Blue Room in the public eye?

“Significantly, I believe from my experience I can immediately gather if something has been promoted properly, or if a gig needs certain work covering, be it online, in house, or via the newspaper etc. Essentially, if the time and effort has been made to draw a crowd for an event and everyone is aware of what is needed from them and for the peace of mind of the bands who have rehearsed and invested their time into getting people down to the gigs too” said Steve.

“We are in the process of installing a full new in house PA system – Mixing Desk, Speakers, Monitors, Microphones, the lot, plus on stage equipment such as Guitar Amplifiers, Bass Amp and Drum Kit. We will also be training up engineers for gigs and events, via Dan Atkinson at Rock Hard Studios. I am also in the process of sorting the in house promotion for all gigs, with posters and projected gig ads via the new on-stage projector, new branding for gig posters and a dedicated Facebook page”  he added.

I asked Steve, who was brilliant in freely being open and honest about future plans, about his strategy for live bands and how it would work.

“Well, I`m aware that previously the Blue Room at times did have all dayer events, eight band line ups on some evenings, which is all well and good for some but I feel that, initially, if we can steer towards putting on four acts maximum on an evening, that would work better”.

“We can integrate those coming in to drink and socialise,  people maybe there to watch a band and to those that are there specifically to see their mate`s band. I don’t want to deter anyone really from coming back to the pub and  indulge in gig overkill on any one single gig night.  Also I feel a smaller line up gives bands a greater chance to be see  and heard at the better slot times” said Steve.

It`s pretty obvious that Steve has thoroughly done his homework and research and knows exactly what is required to make the new venture work. Not only that, with his fellow team member, The Blue Room new landlord Ben Holland, they are both ambitious and have a vision.

The Blue Room, owned and backed by a local businessman, who has given both Ben and Steve the freedom and the tools to make this work. With such faith in their ability, it now deserves the backing of the public. A great deal of investment and planning has gone into getting this glorious venue back on its feet and to with the intention of it returning to its former glory. But this time, with a more modern outlook and far better facilities for musicians and punters alike. But more importantly, they are giving the chance to local upcoming bands to perform on the new stage. By announcing the opening line up of four young bands, it is a bold and positive move and one of intent. A move that I  personally applaud loudly and vigourously.

On this, Steve said,  “In order for there to be a band scene once again there really needs to be a venue like the Blue Room offering younger bands a chance to hone their craft and form a network of bands that know each other once again and it would be unwise and shortsighted to ignore this and rely on bands from the past to go forwards. It doesn’t work like that in my opinion, it’s not a long term solution. That`s why I`m putting bands on such as Jekyll, April Keen, The Atmospherics and Dust, for the first opening gig on the 13th December. I’ll be actively encouraging a night when we can get the younger bands supporting a band of greater experience and following ”

This seems like a great idea and one that will help the young and upcoming bands flourish in the area. Lack of venues willing to give these bands the chance to perform has always been a problem in the past, but with the Blue Room encouraging these fantastic young acts by inviting them to play and showcase their work,  it can only bode well for the future of the prospects of aspiring bands in and around the area. Steve seems to have hit on a winning formula and his vision is obviously shared by many. This will no doubt gain Steve, his vision and the Blue Room much credibility and respect throughout the whole music community. This remains to be seen obviously, but I`m sure it is the right approach and one that I feel will be successful.

The ambition of The Blue Room doesnt stop with local bands and Steve also feels by broadening their horizon in the future, it will give the venue a bigger and better reputation by attracting bigger bands through its doors.

Steve continued enthusiastically, “One of my goals and this is more of a long term project, over a period of time I would be looking to put fee/all ticket based acts on, touring bands on a par with The Mad Ferret in Preston. But Im fully aware that this is something that cannot be achieved overnight and will take a lot of time and groundwork in order to build contacts and a reputation in order to attract touring acts to The Blue Room. In addition, it will have to be something financially viable at the point that we can seriously consider it as an option for the venue. But If given the opportunity I would give my all to make this happen”

They say `Aim for the sky, to reach the stars`. Well The Blue Room has certainly announced a signal of intent. Ambitious?  Maybe .. Realistic? Well I think so. The reaction from losing this venue, even in its former guise was far reaching to say the least. A lot of people thought it beckoned the end for  live music in the area. But local live music organisers and lovers such as Jon Bamborough and Ed Blaney  have kept the flame burning by staging the fantastically successful Blackpool Music Festival back in October and given the chance to other venues, such as The Galleon, Uncle Toms Cabin and others to carry the torch and they are doing very well and thriving.

Steve continues the party on December 21st, with the comeback gig of The Sound Of Superstring after a long absence from the live circuit. A hugely popular local band, which should see a large crowd flock to the Blue Room.

He told me ” I think I speak for the majority that I`m delighted that bands and those interested in the local music scene will once again have the Blue Room as an option. The `Superstring` gig on the 21st should be a great night and will really help kick things off for a new era for the Blue Room”.

We at alblackpool and me personally in particular, would like to wish The Blue Room every success and share their visions and hopes. The town needs The Blue Room and in turn the venue needs the full support and backing of the whole music community and beyond. And in kicking off the proceedings on Friday with some brilliant young acts, it has every chance.

The Sound Of Superstring - Live at The Blue Room on the 21st December
The Sound Of Superstring – Live at The Blue Room on the 21st December

Many Thanks to Steve Pellatt  and The Blue Room for the use of images in this preview. For more information and to keep up with all gigs and future events at The Blue Room like them on their Facebook page

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    Blackpool based self-confessed music fanatic involved in the local music scene around the Fylde and particularly passionate about promoting and assisting new upcoming bands and artists breaking through.

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  • Uncle Nobby

    After the unfortunate and sad demise of Rock City as the town`s short lived new home for live bands, it left all music fans and bands alike wondering what to do and where to go next. Blackpool was left with very little to offer in the way of suitable and viable venues for live bands to perform and a void was created. That was until the Blue Room reopened!

  • Steve Guest

    Nobby. Cant argue with you there dude. We are still waiting to hear about news on Rock City..after I gave it the big fanfare. Im just happy to see live venues making a comeback. And if anyone was going to make a big impact on its return, it was always going to be The Blue Room. And I for one am thrilled to bits and will continue to support any live venue that makes the effort to stage local bands in their premises.

    The opening night at The Blue Room was electric.

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