‘A light bulb switched on’ - Norwich pub landlord talks of city’s epiphany over threat to live music

The Brickmakers on Sprowston Road. Photo: Norwich

The Brickmakers on Sprowston Road. Photo: Norwich - Credit: EDP pics © 2011(01603) 772434

A loved Norwich pub and music venue hopes to launch a Friends group to boost its income and build a community of music fans.

The landlords at the Brickmakers, on Sprowston Road, said in September they would step down in January after lease talks with owners Ei Publican Partnerships failed. Those talks are currently ongoing.

But the announcement has since galvanised a wider movement to protect the city's music venues, with meetings arranged and groups set up to highlight issues facing pubs and venues.

Now, Brickmakers landlord Charley South said they hope to launch a Friends group for the pub, which would see people required to donate £1, or more if they chose, to join.

The team at the Brickmakers. Photo: Archant

The team at the Brickmakers. Photo: Archant - Credit: Archant

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People could then opt to be put on a mailing list where they would receive a monthly newsletter with gig and event information and offers, as well as an invitation to an annual celebration.

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Ms South said, should an agreement not be reached with Ei come January, people's money would be refunded.

'Whatever is generated will help us keep paying the bills and make up any shortfalls we have,' she said.

It is hoped the group will be launched in the coming days, with more details set to be released soon.

Ms South said the last few weeks had been something of an 'epiphany' for the city.

'I think suddenly a light bulb switched on for everyone, and they all thought 'our music venues need us',' she said.

'It's almost like Norwich has been sleeping.

'There's a massive community out there that do support live music, but people have families and life and for some it goes to the wayside.

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'With all the focus on the music scene, not just us but across the board, in the last two or three weeks it has definitely brought it to the fore.'

She said a recent meeting organised at the Brickmakers to talk about music in Norwich generally had been attended by people from various corners of the scene - including owners at both big and small venues, industry representatives and gig-goers.

'I think this is only going to get bigger,' she said.

A spokesperson for Ei Publican Partnerships has previously said: 'We are continuing to explore every opportunity in an attempt to find a solution which would allow our publicans to continue trading at the site.'