‘A Venue That Reeks Of Music’: Rescue Rooms UK Celebrate 20th Anniversary

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Nottingham, England is home to one of the country’s most iconic venues, the Rescue Rooms, which turn 20 this year.

To commemorate this milestone, as well as another big one – the 20th anniversary of Xtra Mile Recordings – Frank Turner will headline a special solo show, Feb. 25.

The sold out show caps off a week of special events at the Rescue Rooms, located on Goldsmith Street in Nottingham, featuring live music, DJ sets, club events, drag shows and bingo, Feb. 20-26.

Bringing the week-long birthday party to a close, Feb. 26, will be Panchiko, the band who reformed after an intense worldwide internet search to track down the artists behind a mystery CD discovered in a charity shop in Sherwood, as reported by Vice.

They return to Rescue Rooms to play the venue where one of Panchiko’s members once worked as a sound engineer – “a nice full circle moment fresh from selling out venues across the U.S. and UK,” according to a press release from Rescue Rooms operator DHP Family.

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The main room at Rescue Rooms.

The October 2022 U.S. run included a sold out show at Union Stage in Washington, DC, where Panchiko sold 500 tickets for a gross of $11,630, according to Pollstar Boxoffice.

Rescue Room’s 20th anniversary is also an opportunity to highlight the importance – and irreplaceable charm – of grassroots music venues, which, according to a new report from the UK’s Music Venue Trust, are “going over a cliff” following the pandemic.

Anton Lockwood, director of live at DHP Family, is adamant about the importance of venues like Rescue Rooms. He said, “It’s fantastic to be celebrating the 20th birthday of the Rescue Rooms this week! When we conceived of the venue all those years ago we wanted to create somewhere with great atmosphere, interesting programming and a thoroughly enjoyable gig going experience – and the success and longevity of the venue suggests we’re achieving that. We’re also proud of our varied club night program where the ‘rooms’ in the venue’s name showcase many and varied genres of great music.

“Of course it’s wonderful to list the artists who played Rescue Rooms on their way to fill stadia – but it’s also important to note there are many, many more artists who aren’t mainstream but still bring pleasure to millions of people – and it’s vital to provide great stages for them, which is a huge part of what we do. This is particularly meaningful in a time when music venues are under more and more pressure – so I’m delighted to bring a positive story about grassroots live music!”

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The Rescue Rooms are part of Nottingham’s musical identity.

Among the artists paying tribute to Rescue Rooms’ 20th anniversary are Amber Run, who described it as “a venue that reeks of music and wears it like a crown.”

Band member Joshua ‘”Joe” Keogh, explained what the venue means to the band, who also held jobs at the building in the past: “When we worked at Rescue Rooms, we used to go into the main room and dream that we would get to play it one day. Now we have, ten times over, and it still has that mystique.

“Never before have we needed shared experience more. And I can’t think of anything that’s impacted me more than a room full of people singing the same words to the same song at the same time. Venues like Rescue Rooms are the cauldron that create culture and bind people together.”

Artists Rescue Rooms has hosted since its inauguration into the Nottingham music scene in 2003, include The Killers, The Libertines, Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, Amy Winehouse, and Stormzy.

Arlo Parks, beabadoobee, Holly Humberstone, and Fontaines D.C. are just some of the more recent shows that further cemented Rescue Rooms place on the UK touring circuit.

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The fans have returned: Rescue Rooms Nottingham turns 20 this year.

In addition to the main venue, the weekly curated open mic night, Acoustic Rooms, is often one of the first opportunities for emerging local artists and student musicians to perform live, with previous performers including Jake Bugg, George Ezra, Dua Lipa, Animal Collective, The Rifles, Beans On Toast, Folks, Indiana, We Are Augustines, Kodaline, Tall Ships, Saint Raymond, Amber Run, D.I.D, EYRE LLEW, Liam Bailey, Natalie Duncan and Ady Suleiman.

Brighton quartet Black Honey, who will play Rescue Rooms April 1, explained what they love about the venue: “It’s like a nucleus for people to go and let off steam find commonality with people when they don’t usually feel welcome in “normal” spaces. Every touring band ever has walked through those doors so it has that heritage air. You know everyone you adore has made their journey there before you and that’s something you can’t manufacture with creating new spaces. It’s like one of those venues where you can feel how good last night probably was.”

Other returning artists with shows coming up are We Are Scientists, The Slow Readers Club, The Joy Formidable and A Certain Ratio.

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