For the love of live music and having a good boogie! Written by Amy Falla,

Published on February 15, 2024

For the love of live music and having a good boogie! -

Dear Ipswich, I hope you are well.

I’m a believer that you really can make a dancefloor anywhere, whether it’s dancing on a sticky pub floor, in a field, or an old swimming pool or historic church! Surrounded by people with shared energy and passion, the slightly awkward toe tapping and head bopping can quickly be transformed into letting loose together on the dancefloor, just with the drop of a beat.

Going to a gig at The Smokehouse is like being in someone’s front room at a house party, it’s sweaty, intimate and you have to pop outside to get some air regularly

Right now, I’m very excited about the thriving live music scene and new music venues in Ipswich, thanks to the brilliant team behind Brighten the Corners. I first got involved with the live music scene in 2018, volunteering as a photographer at The Smokehouse, which I really enjoyed as it was a great way to find community and meet other young people passionate about music here in Ipswich. The Smokehouse was the first music venue set up by the Brighten The Corners team, opening back in 2016. They now also run St. Stephens Church, The Baths and host Brighten The Corners music festival in June.

Going to a gig at The Smokehouse is like being in someone’s front room at a house party, it’s sweaty, intimate and you have to pop outside to get some air regularly, where you’ll likely end up chatting with some lovely locals and bond over music tastes. My highlight was seeing Ishmael Ensemble play in The Smokehouse in 2021, who have since become one of my all-time fav bands. Since then, they’ve really grown, and it was great to see them return to Ipswich to play a much bigger stage at Brighten The Corners last year.

The Baths is another venue, which opened in 2021 in the site of an old swimming pool and it has a rich music history dating back to the 60s and 70s. It’s a fantastic atmosphere for both live music and DJ sets, with low ceilings and a large dance floor space. My best memories of dancing here are during Brighten The Corners music festival, with a motley mix of people, all there because they love great music, and these events create such a strong feeling of connection between whoever is playing on stage and the audience. Highlights at The Baths include dancing at midnight to Jamz Supernova during last years BTC festival, getting swept up in a mosh pit at the Deadletter gig and being absolutely transfixed by the poetic vocals of Kate Staples, from This is The Kit.

St. Stephens Church is the latest venue to open in the heart of the town, it’s a beautiful old church (previously Ipswich’s Tourism Information centre), with amazing acoustics, and thoughtfully designed features, including the bar and toilets (so good they recently won an architecture award!).

I love how inclusive and welcoming the music scene is in these venues, everyone looks out for each other, and these are safe spaces for everyone to enjoy. I really hope more young people can experience visiting them, embracing the grassroots music scene. I’d recommend going to see as many different genres of music as possible, even if you don’t think it’s your taste, embrace the experience and you maybe find yourself a convert to cosmofunk (a new genre I love thanks to the Takeshi’s Cashew gig in autumn).

If live music isn’t really your thing but you love dancing, I’d also recommend checking out DanceEast’s weekly dance classes. Disclaimer, I am a bit biased as I work here, but I’ve been going to the Contemporary Level 1 class since September, and it’s a serotonin boosting hour of joyful movement to a great playlist of uplifting music.”

Amy Falla

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