Exmouth's Famous Old Barrel suspends live music
By ExmouthPeople | Friday, January 13, 2012, 19:23
EXMOUTH'S FAMOUS Old Barrel – one of the town's most important music venues – is suspending gigs from Saturday 21 January. Landlady Natalie Ralph is vacating the Barrel due to a dispute with the brewery. A management team, appointed by the brewery, will take over running the Barrel at the end of the month. It's currently unclear if the pub will remain as a live music venue…
Exmouth's Famous Old Barrel – gigs are suspended from Saturday 21 January
The pub's live music heritage stretches back many years, but it's currently unclear if gigs will continue
Perfect Strangers performing last year at the Famous Old Barrel. The venue is unusual for Exmouth in that it has a purpose-built stage and performance area, much appreciated by local musicians
"We're disappointed and gutted," said Natalie. "We've built up a really good music scene here, but the brewery weren't supporting the way we were taking the pub. They didn't want us to do what we were doing.
"We were going for a slower game, building up a trade, whereas they wanted something more instant. We felt that Exmouth needed a proper music venue and that's where we were going with it. Unfortunately they've not supported us and managed to get us out.
"It's the speed of it that has shocked us – we only got given 14 days. We didn't have time to sort things out. We've got lovely staff and everyone's affected by it. Everyone's put a lot of work into the Barrel, all the musicians and things, and we're all like a big team. The biggest disappointment to us is the events that aren't going to happen now."
News of the gig suspension came through Exmouth's local music network earlier this week, spearheaded by an email from musician and promoter Richie Evans. "Nat, Val and family are fantastic people and deserve the dignity of being shown enormous respect for what they have done for the local musical community," he said. "For their remaining time at what has been a great venue for Exmouth, let's fill as many of their gigs as possible between now and then and swell their coffers to help them on their way."
Richie's comments were echoed by another local musician, Ron Crisp. "It's a shame – Nat and Val are nice people and really gave it their best shot," said Ron. "I have been down to commiserate with them. They are still quite shocked by the whole thing, but are helping bands to make alternative arrangements where they can. In the meantime, I suggest we all support their last few gigs."
There are a number of gigs at the Barrel before the suspension. These include the Old Barrel Open Mic Jam Session (Monday 16 January), a special performance by Souled (Tuesday 17 January), The Nashville Rash (Thursday 19 January), Lazy Lizard (Friday 20 January) and Adam Sweet (Saturday 21 January).
And, as a finale, there's an Old Barrel Open Mic Jam Session (Monday 23 January, starting 7pm), hosted by local musician Jeff Lewis. "We need to give Nat and family a good send-off," said Jeff. "We want everyone who has ever played at the pub to be there... be early, let me know if you want a spot, and please tell your mates!"
The brewery was unavailable for comment as we went to press with this story.