The Piper, a new and unconventional grassroots music venue and pub is due to open in St Leonards on 22 June this year.
And with the first set of live dates already announced including Bo Ningen, Dub Pistols, and Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind, The Piper looks like it could be just what the area needs to bring more top-quality touring bands to town.
With Blackmarket VIP now the established Old Town live haunt, Crowleys finding its feet with a new look and a great new sound system, The Crypt making a return to the town centre, and the White Rock Theatre beginning to draw the attention of live promoters following it’s recent refit, The Piper in St Leonards looks set to ensure the whole town is now covered for live music.
At a time when an increasing number of small music venues have been closing down across the country this is fantastic news not only for Hastings, but the industry as a whole, as it proved there are still people out their prepared to invest the time and money necessary to run a proper gig space.
Located on Norman Road, The Piper did have a previous incarnation as the much-loved ‘Norman Arms,’ although this sadly closed down a few years ago, much to the disappointment of the local community.
The new owner Chris Barnett and his business partner Andy Barker took on the restoration project to create what will now be the only grassroots music venue in St Leonards for standing audiences. Their ambition is that it once again becomes a cornerstone of the community, providing live entertainment for local residents visiting music fans alike.
Chris has worked in the music industry for over 30 years, managing bands, record labels and music events across the UK and will be booking up-and-coming eclectic and alternative national and international artists from a variety of music genres to play at The Piper.
To open proceedings the acclaimed indie-rock band TOY are the first act to play on opening night (22nd June) with psyche-soul-garage DJ legend, Rhys Webb from The Horrors on the decks.
Other confirmed acts performing at The Piper in the coming months include;
Friday 28th June – Bo Ningen
Thursday 4th July – Lavinia Blackwall (Trembling Bells)
Friday 5th July – Dub Pistols
Saturday 6th July – Keb Darge’s ‘Sixties Rebellion’ with special guest Vince Ray’s Loser Machine
Saturday 13th July – Rhys Webb presents ‘The Cave Club’ with special guests TBC
Saturday 20th July – The Heliocentrics
Friday 4th October – Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind
— Find gigs and tickets on the venue events page.
Owner Chris Barnett says: “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.”
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 classes, art classes and any other activities the local community want to get involved in.
When designing the space owner, Chris and Andy, worked closely with the council to ensure they preserved the four-storey, 1930’s late Art Deco building’s beautiful original features and respected its history, whilst also creating a space that felt modern and was in keeping with rest of the local area.
The venue takes its name ‘The Piper’ as a gentle nod to the debut studio album by Pink Floyd, and the only one made under founding member Syd Barrett’s leadership, ‘The Piper at the Gates of Dawn’.
Syd Barrett, actually performed his last ever gig on Hastings pier with Pink Floyd 51 years ago, and to mark the venue’s opening, internationally respected sculptor, Suzie Zamit from Hastings will be creating a bust of the erstwhile singer to be displayed in the pub.
The Piper will be open throughout the day, from from 10am until 11pm Sunday to Thursday, and 12am on Friday and Saturday, at the management’s discression.
The Piper, 1 Norman Rd, St Leonard’s-on-sea TN37 6NH