It has been a while since I’ve been to a gig at my local venue, The John Peel Centre in Stowmarket. I spent four years volunteering there once upon a time and seen it grow from the knackered old cinema/pool hall it once was into the fine venue it is today, albeit with some practical design quirks. For example, there is no backstage area nor green room.
The upstairs bar with its lovingly fashioned wooden bar top, made from the buildings original salvaged window frames and fronted by photographs of some of John Peel’s record collection (photographs I might add which I took!) became the green room and what was once a store cupboard downstairs converted into a bar.
Lest you think this is a case of bad planning, it is not. For ever since its conception The John Peel Centre had planned to occupy not just the old corn exchange but also the adjoining building which fronts onto Stowmarket high Street – formally the NatWest Bank. It has taken time, but the keys to that building were recently handed over to the directors.