In recent years, Lincoln music venues have been closing down left, right and centre. However, it looks set to revive as a number of venues and bars have opened up, including The Platform and The Strait And Narrow.
James Hammond, the Venue Box Office Manager at the Engine Shed, said that opening The Platform was something that the venue has “always wanted”.
He explained: “We’ve had loads of smaller, unsigned bands and local bands wanting to play the venue and it’s something we’ve never been able to do with the venue capacity being 1,600.
“It’s very difficult for an unsigned band to sell that venue well enough, so the introduction of The Platform has really helped us to start being able to showcase the kind of acts that we want to put on as a venue.”
The Platform has already been used for the likes of comedy gigs and music concerts, though Ian Spenton, Club and Promotions Officer at the venue, believes there is potential for more.
Spenton said: “The space is quite versatile and it’s something that we are looking to develop as we move forward. We’re really kind of working towards looking to how we can use the space as widely as possible for a variety of different acts.”
However, one of the problems with the venue is its location. Spenton explained: “Some people turn up and they don’t know where The Platform is so they’ll be buying a ticket to come and see something at the Engine Shed and not realise that it’s at The Platform.
“We’ve had a bit of an issue with the marketing of it because it’s inside the venue it’s quite difficult for us to get a grasp for people to get a handle of where it is and what it is.”
He added: “We figured the best way of dealing with that is by putting on the events and actually getting people into the space and then they’ll know about it and be able to talk about it.”
Spenton explained why The Platform is ahead of its competition: “I guess there’s lots of smaller venues that can do things similar to us. We’ve got a bit of a head start with all the equipment and the technical expertise that we’ve got working behind the scenes.”
Another venue that puts on regular music is The Strait And Narrow. Located on the Strait at the bottom of Steep Hill, owner Jez Nash explained the type of acts the bar puts on: “We promote local stuff, up-and-coming local artists and then we sort of have top end artists as well because no-one is really doing it [in Lincoln]. There’s a gap in the market.”
The Strait And Narrow puts on a number of nights dedicated to music: “On a Sunday, we have ‘Live, Local and Unplugged’, which is up-and-coming, acoustic-based local artists.
“It’s a good way for them to get on stage in a venue, give them a bit of a fee and get them started and we have some really good, really talented acts.
“On the other side of the coin, on the last Thursday of every month, we do something called ‘Strait Out Of Lincoln’, which is an obvious parody on hip-hop ‘Straight Out Of Comden’. We have reasonable to big names in hip-hop, including Mr B, Professor Elemental, Dr Badfunk, Big Daddy Kane.”
He added: “No-one else is doing it, no-one is bringing those big quality performers into town.”
Despite other venues in Lincoln putting on similar events, Nash said that he doesn’t consider them to be competition: “We don’t tend to look at what everyone else is doing. We look at how this place works, what our customers like and what we think the best thing is to give to them.
“The only thing we might do is if we’ve got somewhere over the road doing a live music night on a Wednesday say, we won’t run against that because that’s not what we’re about.”