Cirencester Brewery Blues promoter John Drummond is a creatives champion
Brewery Blues promoter John Drummond had his dedication to showcasing local talent rewarded earlier this year when he was named as the Creatives Champion at the Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. Charlotte Shepherd met him.
AS AN ex-musician, John Drummond can think of no job that he is better suited to than promoter at The New Brewery Arts in Cirencester’s popular music venue, Brewery Blues.
“I get a huge amount of satisfaction from what I do,” he said. “For footballers the next best thing is management and it is similar for ex-musicians- the next best thing is promotion.”
Readers of Cirencester Scene were asked to nominate an individual who works “hard to promote talented local people”.
John collected his award at the annual Cirencester Chamber of Commerce Business Awards. “It was very exciting. I was extremely flattered. It is always nice to be appreciated,” he said.
Bearing in mind that John’s is a volunteer role, he has done an enormous amount to put Cirencester on the map as a launchpad for some careers in the blues and jazz industry.
“Cirencester has a huge rich vein of talent as was demonstrated at the Phoenix festival. Several of the artists who played there cut their teeth at the Brewery Blues," he explained. "Some including Ben Maggs and George Montague have gone on to be recognised as professional musicians. Brewery Blues is an established name in jazz circles and that is a great feeling for me.”
But John has also been instrumental in making Brewery Blues a destination of choice for national artists. “We do bring on local talent but some of our headline acts are nationally known. The winner of the British Blues awards Babajack have played here and they are back in January to launch their new album,” he said. "That’s a measure of how well-regarded we are.”
John, who was a singer for many years, was the driving force behind setting up Brewery Blues in 2009. “I was on the Board of Trustees at The New Brewery Arts. We had a fantastic venue called the Niccol theatre that was not used to its full potential.”
This theatre became the home of Brewery Blues, which maintains a club atmosphere at its show on the second Friday of every month. “It is very much a club environment. The audience can stand or sit. It’s a very different experience,” explained John. “The stage is down below the audience. It’s quirky and people like that. We also have a great in-house team headed up by Vick Curtis. It makes such a difference to have such a quality sound.”
Despite its name this is not just a club for lovers of the blues. The format of one headline act and three warm-up acts means that John is able to showcase an eclectic mix of talent. “We may have a blues band headlining, but could have reggae, blue grass and folk on the same bill. It is a real jamboree of mixed genres,” he said.
The formula seems to be working and almost four years after setting up, Brewery Blues is regularly selling out and “There really is an appetite for what we are doing,” said John.
“And everyone who plays at Brewery Blues wants to come back.”
• Go to www.newbreweryarts.org.uk or call 01285 657181.