You may have been there for a gig, or to attend The Gin Festival, but there is so much going on, we spoke with Craig Hill, Head Of Events & Live Music to find out more.

First and foremost your main drive is around youth projects, how does live music and other events help that objective? Yes, the bottom line is we are a Youth Charity and we are here to help make a positive difference to the lives of young people in Norfolk through our Drop In facility coupled with delivering our many varied youth activities both within OPEN and through our outreach programme and all the profit we make from our commercial activities goes to supporting that. During your time at OPEN, you have been committed to giving a platform for bands who are just starting out. How is this going? I’ve continued to support the ‘local’ scene and this I think is best illustrated by our OPEN House event, where 8 bands play from 6pm alternating between the Club Room and Banking Hall with no gaps or crossovers. #OH5 ( OPEN House 5 ) takes place on August 4th. Supporting Iocal bands is how I got

involved with OPEN You’re blessed with a wealth of space at OPEN; how does a gig in the Club Room differ from the Main Hall, apart from the obvious size? Both are great and seeing a band pack out the club to circa 300 can be just as enjoyable as witnessing a band sell out the banking hall to 1400+. What has been your favourite gig you

have hosted at OPEN? Sunflower Bean in the club was even better than I thought it was going to be , catching a band on the rise is always a thrill but hosting The Dead South was an equal match and especially when demand dictated a switch from the club to the banking hall. OPEN isn’t just a music venue. It’s also

the home for many other events like Gin Festivals and Corporate Boxing and so many more. That must create some interesting demands on the venue, as well as you and your staff. Yes and especially when some of the

events you mention happen on the same weekend or in close proximity. We have the support of a great team here and a venue that can adapt. You’ve recently had a tech upgrade. What difference has that made? It’s provided so many more opportunities for us to host an even wider range of events including a full musical theatre production of Priscilla Queen of The Desert. It gives us the opportunity to drape the Banking Hall resulting in flexible capacities for both seated & standing shows. Plus the recent addition of ‘in house’

catering then you really have an outstanding facility for every kind of event you can think of. Do you think that flexibility gives a point of difference from Norwich’s other venues?


Absolutely, we are an events venue even though people will know us for very different reasons whether that be conferencing, awards dinners, school theatre shows, live music or club nights and more.. What do you see as some of your “not to be missed” events over next 6 months? I’m really looking forward a great Halloween show 26th October. We have The Urban Voodoo Machine returning and we will be adding more live bands & DJs plus working alongside a theatre designer to turn the venue into something special. Earlier the same month Oktoberfest

We continue to develop great club nights too so keep an eye out for some amazing guest DJs as per our most recent ones most notably Sara Cox, Dave Rowntree, Huey Morgan and Rick Witter. And finally, give us the inside tip: what are some of the local bands you would recommend people keep an eye on? Birds Of Hell, Pete Murdoch is simply one of the most original songwriters we have. Morganway creating waves both locally and nationally a blend of Americana meets ‘70s US West Coast Rock , their debut album is just around the corner. Sink Ya Teeth are on a roll with a string of great single releases. There are of many more including The Wolf Number, Ducking Punches, The Thinking Men, Lightscape, Maya Law, The Vagaband to name but a few,

Kevin Maddams

Read the full interview online at

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