Monica Ferguson, Chief Executive’s Blog
Celebrating Stage 2
Since Stage 2 opened in September last year, we have had some cracking gigs from emerging artists in what has turned out to be a great little space.
Some of my personal favourites have been Vince Freeman and Silverfall. If you didn’t catch the gig, you missed a storming set by Vince who has been shortlisted for the Indie awards and a blistering performance by Silverfall – a hugely talented young band that is destined for big things if their performance in Stage 2 and their support slot for Never The Bride is anything to go by.
My favourite Screaming Blue Murder comedy night has to be the 5th December when Robin Ince headlined the show with his insightful and intelligent wit and we had the added bonus of one of Jim’s delicious curry’s before the gig.
One of our Leverhulme Artists, Martyna packed Stage 2 to the rafters and introduced us to an amazing 15 year old support artist Rachel Furner who certainly got the crowd warmed up and we are definitely going to keep our eyes on her for the future.
Joanna Eden was also a delight on the Jazz Stage with her mix of standards and her own songs it was easy to see why she’s been given the opportunity to open as support for Jamie Cullum, Nerina Pallot and the Buena Vista Social Club.
Kris Drever from the trio Lau gave us a truly special acoustic set with his lilting Orcadian accent and easy stage presence encouraging us to go back and forth to the bar in a relaxed folk club style event.
In fact I have been to so many great nights in Stage 2, I have found it difficult to tear myself away from The Stables lately! I also know from your feedback that some of the events I did miss, I really kicked myself for and without doubt the young violinist Ben Baker is someone by all accounts we need to get back to The Stables soon.
It was a hugely exhilarating journey to build Stage 2, but even more rewarding to now enjoy some of these amazing young artists that I am sure will one day be playing the main stage at The Stables, if not the Albert Hall or Wembley Stadium!
The whole point of Stage 2 is for us to experiment with new artists and sometimes we don’t get it quite right. I know that some of the Screaming Blue Murder comedy has not been to everyone’s taste, but everyone needs to start somewhere and the thing about live performance is that the same set can be differently received one night from the next, depending on the make-up of the audience, so that is why we have tried a variety of seating formats to try and get the ambience right for each type of event and we are keen to hear your feedback on how you prefer the room setup. You can use The Stables feedback form for any comments you have about Stage 2.
In November we also launched our Café in2 where you can enjoy fresh locally sourced produce cooked by our Executive Chef, Jim Wilson and his team and I am delighted that so many of you have expressed your enjoyment for both the food and the entertainment. I know I have been thankful of the new facility when I’ve stayed on to see a show after a full day’s work and a plate of pasta has just hit the spot! Mind you, it is now getting increasingly difficult for me just to pop in and order food at the last minute without an advance reservation such has been the success of Jim’s menu.
I hope you will continue to spread the word and enjoy Stage 2 this coming season with a new menu in the café and a hot selection of new artists. Watch out in particular for Pete du Pon on 3 May, Samay on 28 May, Park Bench Social Club on 6 June and Toscha Comeaux on 1 July. I certainly got excited listening to their demo material and I am sure they will set Stage 2 alight.
I will definitely be around for most of the Stage 2 gigs so I hope to see you there and look forward to hearing which gigs stand out for you as highlights.
Check out what's on in Stage 2 here.
Click here for The Festival programme!
Unique venue for Corporate and Private Hire – click on picture for full details.
The Stables Café in2. Click on the picture above to see the menu, meal deals and more information.