Over a year ago I begun writing a blog about the live music venues available in Trowbridge. This was prior to lock down, prior to the world turning on its end.

The intention was to highlight the quality of the spaces that Trowbridge has, which subsequently seemed rather pointless when we couldn’t actually visit them. However after local councillor, Stewart Palman shared a status from Town Hall Arts, and the subsequent conversation, I thought it was worth revisiting the overview and adding in some that I neglected!

So where do we start? Very briefly, we have 4 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 us start at arguably Trowbridge’s most famous venue that’s still in use, The Village Pump.

The venue has been in place for decades and a potted history can be read here. More recently, around March 2020 it was known that the existing committee wanted to part ways with the Pump, having different priorities in their lives. In steps Kieran Moore (me) of Sheer Music, who had previously used the venue in recent years to marked success.

The venue itself 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 song writers / folk / acoustic duos and trios.

In fact, the venue hosted 2 sold-out shows in Spring 2020, just prior to lockdown, when Gaz Brookfield’s UK tour came to town, and then local trio The Lost Trades launched their band, at the venue with their debut gig! Picture below.

The most exciting part of the venue 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. The old horse bridals link to Wadworths, but the real gem is the suspended floor above the performance space, with 30(?) tiered, red velvet seats, that once upon a time were used at Frome Cinema.

With a capacity of approximately 70, which is comfortable, without being overcrowded, making it Trowbridge’s smallest dedicated live music venue. With its own small car park directly opposite and just outside of the town centre, the venue doesn’t suffer from any town centre related problems, and there’s usually Mo’s Kebab van outside after a night of drinking and singing. If Carlsberg made small venues…

Here are some shots of the venue from different angles, to give you an impression of the space.
More info: https://thepumptrowbridge.co.uk/

The Lost Trades, performing live at The Pump.
The Lost Trades
View of The Pump, from the roadside.
Gaz Brookfield, at The Pump, Trowbridge
Gaz Brookfield, view from the balcony.
Nigel Mines, The Pump, Trowbridge.
Nigel Mines, practise live recording Autumn 2020. View from tech booth.

Moving up a size to a capacity circa 100 – 120, we have Town Hall Arts.

Centrally located in town, between the train station and the cinema, the Town Hall building is imposing and a simply gorgeous place to hang out while watching live music. The inside of marble pillars, wood panelling and oil painting belies its former use as the more formal court house. Nevertheless the artsy feel of hanging lights, eco shop, art gallery and more besides creates a creative atmosphere where you feel comfortable buying a hot chocolate or a craft beer.

During this lockdown period the venue has had the original wood flooring remade and presented to great effect, whilst a professional lighting and PA system have been installed in the old ground floor 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 system is brand new which only had its first test run when Wiltshire Rural Music presented some pre-recorded live streams from local musicians earlier this week. (25th / 26th 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 to entertainment. 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, but keep tabs on everyone via their social media. The live recordings will be available very soon, keep an eye THA, WRM & Tamsin!

Some recent pictures by myself, better ones to come. For more info visit, https://www.trowbridgetownhall.com/

Lighting mid-install. Courtroom, Trowbridge Town Hall.
Lighting mid-install.
Stevie Nicole live recording for Wiltshire Rural Music.
Stevie Nicole-Brown, live recording for Wiltshire Rural Music.

Moving up a gear again, we come to Trowbridge’s newest live music & entertainment space, Emmanuel’s Yard.

This 300-400 capacity venue is actually the Baptist Church on Church Street. Located just behind that cool antique shop with the skeleton standing guard. It too had planned on launching in 2020, which never came to fruition. Nevertheless, the venue 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 in the pictures I took over a year ago show off the venue aptly. I believe the room can be set up seated for intimate shows and standing for dancing. The room also 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, however, the first show scheduled there that I am aware of is guitar virtuoso & YouTube sensation, Jon Gomm in October 2021. Subject to all the obvious. >Facebook event page.<

More information, visit their website, https://www.emmanuelsyard.co.uk/.

View of the stage at Emmanuel's Yard, Trowbridge.
View of the stage at Emmanuel’s Yard, Trowbridge.
View from the stage, at Emmanuel's Yard, Trowbridge.
View from the stage, at Emmanuel’s Yard, Trowbridge.

So I guess this leaves us lastly with the largest venue in town, The Civic.

Located just behind the cinema complex, and spilling out onto Trowbridge park, it’s a thoroughly modern, smart looking building. It has a well presented bar, that’s been given the reclaimed wood, shabby chic vibe.

The large main space holds (I understand) somewhere between 600 – 900 standing, but fewer when seated. This venue regularly holds comedy, music, theatre, dance, community events of all sorts.

It has an exceptional lighting rig (I can’t remember which desk powers it…) 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 major gripe / drawback is that the mix point or tech area, is located in a booth, behind plate glass at the back & top of the room, which really hinders what the room really sounds like when mixing. That aside I’ve worked here a few times and the staff & crew are excellent. A real jewel in Trowbridge, which with any luck will help the town regain some momentum.

Pictures stolen from Google, sorry. I don’t have any of my own! More info, https://thecivictrowbridge.co.uk/

View from stage, Trowbridge Civic
View from stage, Trowbridge Civic
View of stage at Trowbridge Civic.
View of stage at Trowbridge Civic.

It’s probably fair of me to observe and point out that there are lots of places in Trowbridge that also offer live music. The White Swan is a much loved spit-and-sawdust biker 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 the converted “Best Fry” now called BeeTee’s which is directly opposite the Town Hall also has the vision to host some live music once their upstairs is re-fitted!

There are probably more spaces that I am not aware of, and anyone who reads this is welcome to drop me a message via the Sheer Music facebook page, and I can add them in. It might be worth doing a more insightful look at the smaller pub venues the town has at a later date, once I can get in and take pictures!

kieran@sheermusic.co.uk.

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