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New sound systems needed at Gloucester Guildhall to attract big name bands

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 27, 2014

  • Welcome to the Marathon play at the Guildhall - but bigger bands are sought

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AGEING sound systems at the Guildhall in Gloucester ‘need to be brought into the 21st century’ to attract big bands to the venue councillors have claimed.

The venue has attracted some huge names in music over the years including Lily Allen and former The Smiths legend Johnny Marr.

But unless the sound system is improved there are fears big names will not be attracted to use the venue.

Gloucester City Council, which runs the Guildhall, has now vowed to look into how the equipment can be upgraded.

Councillor Kate Haigh, Labour group leader of the city council, said: “Nothing lasts forever and with equipment, things move on quickly. Some of the sound equipment is 20 years old and it is not what bands are looking for when they looking to perform at our fabulous theatre.

“Some of the biggest bands have performed there such as Muse, Radiohead and Primal Scream. They loved coming to the Guildhall to try stuff out before going on elsewhere.

“But bands want proper equipment so they can achieve the best for the audiences and they won’t come if it isn’t right.

“It is time to update the equipment so it can be the best small venue in the south west. We want to maintain its stature.”

Fellow councillor Mark Hobbs (L, Moreland) said: “The Guildhall always had a reputation of getting big bands in. They always used Gloucester as a springboard. Well now we need to put the life back into the Guildhall again.”

Veteran councillor Pam Tracey (C, Westgate) said: “I used to go to the Guildhall as a girl and we used to queue all down the street just to get in. It was the in place to be in the city. Anyone who couldn’t get in used to climb up a drain pipe and we’d like them in through the window.

“It has been run down and has gone down hill since. We need to use it more.

“I’d like to see a youth club back in there on Saturdays.”

Things are looking up for the Guildhall, city council leader Paul James told councillors at a meeting last week.

Mr James, who sits on a board which looks at the Guildhall’s prospects, said: “We are reviewing the quality of the equipment. We are aware of the issues and there is a process that we are going down.”

He also praised the recent appointment of former Citizen journalist Dan Charles as the Guildhall’s new programming manager. He said: “He comes from a good pedigree and I am sure he will be a great success.”

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  • gloscityguy  |  January 27 2014, 5:22PM

    the venue is brilliant, but it is simply too small. you could pump a million pounds into it and you won't get the big names down. the best you could ever hope for in a venue that size is a tiny warm up gigs artist have before they go on tour. but for Gloucester to be a tour date? it's never going happen at the Guildhall, and would be foolish to try and achieve it. throwing money this city doesn't have might update the equipment, but it won't be some sort of miracle cure that means big names will come and play. that is far more about having the right connections than how much money you spend. so sure spend money on getting it up to date, but be realistic, and don't let the Guildhall become a bottomless pit for our money if you are trying to achieve the impossible by throwing money at it.

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