Following a £22,000 investment, this Saturday (8 June) sees the launch of the refurbished ‘Room 2’ at Bedford Esquires and the completion of the Grade II listed venue’s renovation.
With a newly installed stage and state-of-the-art lighting and PA, the 220-capacity room will host live music, screenings, club nights, comedy, conferences and more in the former Wesleyan chapel.
As other live music venues are shutting up shop, Esquires Bedford on Greyfriars is going from strength to strength, bucking the national trend and attracting exciting, emerging acts to the town.
“When we took over three years ago, the whole building had been neglected for a long time,” said owner, Gareth Barber.
“Our plan was to make Esquires one of the best live music venues in the UK and with the completion of this room we feel we’ve achieved this.”
Earlier this year, Esquires was chosen by BBC 6Music to host one of their Independent Venue Week (IVW) shows with DJ Steve Lamacq paying the venue a visit.
As the IVW website points out, ‘Despite Bedford’s proximity to bigger towns and cities such as Luton and Cambridge, Esquires continues to punch above its weight, in no small part due to the work and commitment of staff and promoters alike.’
“Places like this are at the heart of thriving towns,” Steve Lamacq told the Bedford Independent back in February.
“It’s vital that they get the audience support to ensure they can keep the doors open. More and more venues are closing, leaving up-and-coming artists with fewer and fewer places to play live and fewer and fewer places for gig-goers to see live music.”
This weekend’s launch celebration kicks off with a showcase of four new local bands, headlined by the Basement Strippers, followed by one of the legendary Silent Discos.
And former Pad regulars will be thrilled to know that the much-loved ‘Loaded’ indie disco will see a revival on the first Saturday of every month.
“It’s two years since we sold the Pad,” said Gareth. “This room will enable us to bring those kind of club nights back to Bedford at Esquires.”