Great Britain

Rhythm and blues night back in Darlington in time for 25th anniversary

A RHYTHM and blues club is back performing in time to mark its 25th anniversary next month.

Darlington RnB Club, which has been running since 1995, is celebrating its quarter-century at The Forum on Friday, October 9, as the venue reopens to live music.

After six months away due to the pandemic, the RnB club is taking centre stage at the Borough Road venue with The Theresa Watson Band, who are well-known on the North-East blues scene.

For the first seventeen years, the club held events Darlington Arts Centre until it closed in July 2012.

It then moved to the Dolphin Centre for just four months but did not settle due to sound problems that could not be rectified.

Mike Prendergast, master of ceremonies, said: "It's great that we can finally get back to live music. For me personally, I've been attending live music events since 1971 and these last seven months have been the longest I've gone without going to a gig.

"I'm really looking forward to the RnB Club gig, especially as it's our 25th anniversary gig and something a few weeks ago we didn't think we'd be able to hold.

"It will be a lovely night with a great live band, and meeting up again with like-minded friends - I can't wait."

The club is now based at The Forum Music Centre, which has introduced a one way system, social distancing and hand sanitiser to allow for gigs.

The venue is also working at a reduced capacity – down from 200 standing to just 36 seated.

Tickets to the RnB Club, as well as others, are sold on a per-table basis of two or four.

Different tickets can also be bought to see performances live streamed into the bar, for those who do not feel comfortable in the main hall.

Managing director of the venue Allison McKay said: “We are pleased that various groups, like the RnB Club, are back. They have come to have a look around and have seen what we have put in place to keep everyone safe and are comfortable with that.

“It’s been difficult adjusting. For me, my passion and motivation for running a music venue like The Forum is seeing the community together. Now, we are working against that. It’s about keeping people apart.

“The reduced capacity just doesn’t cover our costs – we are running at a loss but bands and artists need to earn a living too. We can’t expect them to play for less.”

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