What is the concept?
LRB music evenings are run as house concerts. These are well established with American audiences and becoming increasingly popular here in the UK.
A house concert is open to all music enthusiasts although it is a private gig – for which you are sent a personal invite. It is non-profit making and funded by guest donations and host’s subsidy. Guests make a suggested donation, usually £15, to the artiste on arrival or via our online system once they have contacted us in advance.
Our aim is to support live music by bringing together both established artistes and emerging talent to perform in front of an enthusiastic and appreciative audience in a relaxed setting.
How long has the project been going?
Live @ Little Rabbit Barn has been running since February 2011 although we held our first house concert back in 2008 with Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo. Emily subsequently won a Bafta for her BBC Wallander theme music and The Shadow Line, becoming a much in demand international artiste.
In summer 2011 we completed the adaptation of a timber building and LRB was launched by Eve Selis, the seven times Americana award winner from San Diego. We continue to host international award winning artistes alongside local bands other emerging artistes.
What inspired you to start the project and who came up with the idea?
I’ve always been a regular supporter of live music with a preference for smaller venues, well, ever since a certain Chris Rea had a big impact on me back in 1978 some 10 years before achieving wider recognition. With a preference for non-mainstream, I followed Chris’ journey enjoying guest passes, access to sound checks and studio. In 2012, I was fortunate for Chris to grant me a rare face to face interview for a feature edition of the Maverick, the leading independent music magazine. Back copies of this edition have long since sold out! Chris is without doubt an artistic genius and one the great blues guitarists and singer songwriters of our time. My passion for music evolved into hosting live music and creating our own a space.
What can we expect from each concert?
A short opening set from a local artiste; a 30 minute main support set and a full set from the headline artiste(s). Sometimes we host a double headliner plus support.
During the break before the headline set we serve complimentary food.
We operate a volunteer staffed merchandise table where you can talk with the artistes who are always pleased to sign and personalise their merchandise.
Our Mackie sound reinforcement system and professional sound engineer aim to deliver a high quality natural sound to complement the artiste and room acoustics.
We have a full LED lighting rig to further enhance the visual enjoyment of the performance.
Where do the concerts take place?
We have a converted timber barn with attached marquees that we set up for each event. After each event we take down everything down again – we really are a ‘pop up’ venue!
It is beside our house in Ardleigh, near Colchester so we have all facilities close at hand including parking, ample seating, heating and M & FM portaloos. Full directions to the Barn will be sent to you when you make a reservation for an event.
Who are we?
We are all music enthusiasts.
There is Jonathan & Lyn and Terry; between the three of us we organise LRB and host the evening. We have many volunteers that help not just on the evening, without whom we would not be able run the show. There is Chris and Karen and David who help with transforming the area ready for the artists and our guests and much more besides. Sally and Chris are our raffle girls! There’s Stan and Fran who manage our guest list and collect artist donations; they all help on artistes’ merchandise; there’s Lyn and her team that look after artist and guest hospitality and food. There’s Vicki, Richard and Brian who are always on hand to help wherever needed.
Artistes frequently tell us that we are better organised and run than many commercial venues. Yes that’s flattering, it is all our labour of love, but we do work hard to get things right!
When do the concerts take place?
LRB concerts are held monthly on a weekend. We book for Saturday night but very occasionally this may be a Friday to fit in with an artiste’s touring schedule.
Who performs at the concerts? Is there a particular genre?
We host some of the finest Americana, country and roots artists from USA, Canada and the UK. Defined by the Americana Music Association (AMA) as ‘contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw.’ It has enjoyed a huge growth in popularity in recent years thanks to the exposure of new artistes by Bob Harris who was recognised by the AMA for services to country music and Alan Cackett for Maverick magazine.
Why should people come to your events?
Little Rabbit Barn concerts will appeal to people who want to enjoy some of the finest Americana, country and roots artists from USA, Canada and the UK in an informal setting where the priority is the performance. For a suggested donation of £15 you could enjoy a Saturday night with live music, complimentary food, and you can bring your own refreshments. Please come and join us! “One of the most charming venues in the UK” enthuses San Diego singer, Eve Selis, about Little Rabbit Barn, “my favourite live performer” Bob Harris BBC R2 June 2014.