New live music venue to open in St Leonards

The Piper, in Norman Road, will open its doors on June 22. Chris Barnett, owner, and Jack Hobbs, general manager
The Piper, in Norman Road, will open its doors on June 22. Chris Barnett, owner, and Jack Hobbs, general manager

A new grassroots music venue and pub is to open in St Leonards.

The Piper will open in Norman Road on June 22 inside the former music venue The Norman Arms, which closed down a few years ago.

The Piper, in Norman Road, will open its doors on June 22. Jack Hobbs, general manager, and Chris Barnett, owner

The Piper, in Norman Road, will open its doors on June 22. Jack Hobbs, general manager, and Chris Barnett, owner

The building was purchased by Chris Barnett, who has worked in the music industry for more than 30 years.

Alongside his business partner Andy Barker, Chris has been working to fully restore the building to provide live entertainment in a small music venue.

He said: “In my youth, thanks to small venues and good promoters, I was lucky enough to catch bands like the Manic Street Preachers, Pulp, Oasis, The Verve and The White Stripes long before they broke. As hundreds of small music venues continue to close, this is becoming less possible and I hope to change that for the residents of East Sussex and beyond with the opening of the Piper.

“The Piper will be a destination venue for people who want to hear cutting edge music in a cool, quirky environment with reasonable prices and a wide array of food and drink options to choose from; giving them the buzz of the big city with the calm and ease of the coast.”

Formally of Oakley, in Hampshire, Chris has spent more than 30 years managing bands, record labels and music events across the UK.

In October 2017, Chris said he finally decided to move to Hastings to pursue his ‘big dream’ of opening a destination music venue.

As Hastings was the last place Pink Floyd founding member Syd Barrett played with the band in 1968, the name of the new venue is a nod to the debut studio album made under his leadership called The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.

To mark the venue’s opening, sculptor Suzie Zamit, from Hastings, will be creating a bust of the singer’s head to be displayed in the pub.

The opening night will feature live music from indie-rock band TOY with psyche-soul-garage DJ Rhys Webb from The Horrors on the decks.

When designing the space, Chris along with business partner Andy Barker, worked closely with the council to ensure they preserved the four storey, 1930’s late Art Deco building’s original features and respected its history, whilst also creating a space that felt modern and was in keeping with rest of the local area.

Alongside the live music shows, which will take place in the 175 capacity first floor function room, the ground floor area of the pub will be open daily from 10am offering drinks and locally sourced food.

With limited function spaces in the area the owners also plan to invite local community members to use the function room for other events such as comedy evenings, film nights, birthday parties, yoga, art classes and any other activities people want to get involved in.

The Piper will be open throughout the day, from 10am until 11pm Sunday to Thursday, and midnight on Friday and Saturday, at the management’s discretion.

Other confirmed acts performing at The Piper in the coming months include:

Friday, June 28 – Bo Ningen

Thursday, July 4 – Lavinia Blackwall (Trembling Bells)

Friday, July 5 – Dub Pistols

Saturday, July 6 – Keb Darge’s ‘Sixties Rebellion’ with special guest Vince Ray’s Loser Machine

Saturday, July 13 – Rhys Webb presents ‘The Cave Club’ with special guests TBC

Saturday, July 20 – The Heliocentrics

Friday, October 4 – Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind

Ticket prices start at £5 and go on sale today at dice.fm.

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