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Newbury’s community ACE Space now in it’s 10th year of presenting regular monthly gigs





ACE Space is now in it’s 10th year of presenting regular monthly gigs with a folk/roots/Americana flavour from local, national and international musicians. Lockdown resulted in 15 months of no gigs and audiences were slow to return, with average audience numbers reduced to 65 per cent of pre-lockdown level. Numbers have steadily improved and the 2023 saw the average sized audience just one short of the pre-lockdown level.

Stephen Ottner from the ACE Space team looks back at 2023 and forward to the line-up for new year.

Favourites from the Unplugged open mic nights HenrickxRoy performed ‘ terrific support slots’ Picture: Richard Markham
Favourites from the Unplugged open mic nights HenrickxRoy performed ‘ terrific support slots’ Picture: Richard Markham

2023 got off to a terrific start with two sisters from Melbourne, Charm of Finches, with a sell-out. Only their second tour outside of Australia, just a short tour fitted around appearing at Celtic Connections in Glasgow and The Folk Alliance in the US. The other international artists were Carter Sampson, from Oklahoma, and Amelia White, from Nashville, in June and the three Swedish sisters, Baskery, in November. Baskery’s stunning performance at BunkFest in September certainly helped in ensuring the second sell-out gig of the year.

From across the UK there were well-established musicians such as Banter and Jodie Marie and well-established ones in new line-ups, such as Coracle, Will Pound & Jenn Butterworth and Something Sleeps. Also new groups who are “on the way up”, such as Good Habits and The Wilderness Yet

Local musicians were well represented too. From Oxford, Americana bands Steady Habits and The Kirals and from Reading, with more of a folky bent, Dan Kemp and Tomorrow Bird. Tomorrow Bird were part of the ‘Live’n’Loccal’ night along with indie band Who Ate All The Crayons and hard rock band Circus of Heathens. Favourites from the Unplugged open mic nights, HenrickxRoy and Ben Baron, also did terrific support slots.

The ACE Space team are particularly excited about the line-up for 2024 with the return of Charm of Finches, Baskery and Track Dogs who have all sold-out their previous gigs at ACE Space. Already sold-out is the February gig with Show of Hands. Legends of the folk world who have filled the Albert Hall six times, a rare opportunity to experience their music in such an intimate venue. Another legend of the folk world, Reg Meuross, is booked for March with special guest Katie Grace Harris.

The Hackles
The Hackles

Lovers of Americana music won’t want to miss The Hackles, trio from Oregon, husband and wife duo The Weeping Willows from Melbourne and The Roselly’s, a family band from Ross-on-Wye. If your tastes are more folky, then West Country trio The Lost Trade’s should not be missed. The first gig of 2024 with Simon Mayor & Friends spans folk, classical and swing, delivered with a good helping of humour. Rounding-off 2024, with suitably seasonal music, will be Janice Burns & Jon Doran.

While most of the groups appearing at ACE Space are not household names the standard of musicianship and originality is of the highest order. All original music with no tribute or cover bands.

The Weeping Willows
The Weeping Willows

ACE Space is a volunteer run community hall whose trustees are passionate about live music. In addition to the monthly gig the first Friday of each month is the open mic night Unplugged. Through 2023 the trustees have been fund raising, with support from the Good Exchange, to add a multi-access toilet to the hall. The fund-raising targets have been met and the new facility added in 2024.

Visit www.acespace for more information on events and other activities on offer.



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