INTERVIEW: The Grove | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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How many times have you seen one of your favourite up and coming bands announcing a tour only to be disappointed that the North East wasn’t included? That may be about to change, thanks to the opening this month of a brand new 400 capacity venue in Newcastle’s East End.

The Grove (tongue firmly in cheek, we assume) is located in a historic building between Byker and the Ouseburn Valley, and will place itself between snug venues like The Cluny and larger independent event spaces such as Boiler Shop, a gap that’s currently missing amidst the city’s event spaces.

Two North East music scene stalwarts, Charlie Dancer and Cole Gilroy, are behind the project. Having extensive experience both as artists as well as promoters and within the wider industry, the pair are ideally placed to deliver a venue which puts artists and audiences at the forefront of its ethos.

With an open music policy, and a desire to host “people’s memorable moments”, Charlie explains that they’re keen for the venue to be seen as a welcoming space for all. “The key thing is that we want to be a resource and asset to the region. We have great promoters operating in the city bringing touring artists to Newcastle – our hope is to support them in doing so by being that medium sized venue, with affordable hire rates and the technical capacities to host a higher calibre of artist. That means the right sized stage, the right spec of speakers and desk, and at a sellable capacity that would enable such promoters for the risk to be viable.”

The key thing is that we want to be a resource and asset to the region

Good news for your on-the-up touring band then, and local artists and promoters are encouraged to get involved too. In fact, two of the venue’s events during their opening week will feature popular regional artists – eclectic ensemble Dilutey Juice and enigmatic noise makers The Peevie Wonders have the honour of being the first artists to tread the boards on Friday 17th March, while indie pop songwriter and producer Cortney Dixon and bedroom pop artist Cosial perform on Friday 24th. 

As well as hosting live gigs, the venue will be a multi-use space; situated within the walls of a historic stable building, with exposed steel, timber and engraved brickwork, the space lends itself to anything from wedding receptions and conferences to a place for workshops, craft and game events and exhibitions. “The very nature of the building feels very special – it feels intrinsically Northern and screams of old industry and the graft of those before us.” Charlie enthuses, explaining that an enclosed courtyard and roof terrace offer valuable outdoor space.

The venue opens on Friday 10th March with a weekend of DJs and food stalls featuring Kristian Atkinson (Zerox) and food from Fire & Dough Pizza on Friday, Night Dancing Crew provide the soundtrack for a day-to-night party on Saturday and there’s a doggy social on Sunday. Regular weekend pop-up food events featuring local traders and DJs are also planned, alongside drink and draw events, quiz nights and touring artists like alt. rock quartet The Clause (Saturday 25th March). 

The Grove has been a project long in the pipeline, and the work undertaken to get it to its current position has been significant. Ultimately, Charlie and Cole are excited for the next phase. “The very concept of what we want to do feels a bit ridiculous and we both have moments of imposter syndrome but the reality is there isn’t the time for us to be self-congratulatory or feel smug – we have a mountain to climb to get it to the place we want it to be. We are mainly just really buzzing for everyone to come check our place out.”

The Grove is located at 1 St Michael’s Road, just off Albion Row and opposite Two By Two Brewery Tap Room, about 100m up the road from The Free Trade Inn.  


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