Live music has always been Adam Dakin's passion and he is now ready to turn up the volume at his Derby pub.
The Maypole was one of two (the other being The Hickory in Halberton, Devon) to win a £10,000 Music Makeover in PRS for Music's annual competition to support live music venues.
Inapub was invited to see the transformation take place under the stewardship of Adam and sound expert Liam St Ledger (pictured with Adam below). When we arrive engineers are applying the finishing touches to the installation of a new PA system in the pub's lounge.
His booty also includes new microphones, a drum kit, electric guitars, a bass and the required amps. It means the pub will be given a boost as both a performance and rehearsal space.
Adam, who performs in bands and worked in the film industry before taking on his first pub with Trust Inns just under two years ago, explains: "It has been a mad rollercoaster but this install means I will have the best system in Derby. Musicians and technicians will want to come and use it. A band could walk in here with nothing and play."
Among the first to play were indie five-piece Dog is Dead (below), who headlined a launch night last month. More bands will follow as the pub establishes itself as a cornerstone of the live music scene in Derby.
"We provide a high quality of music and a massive variety," Adam continues. "We have had all sorts: solo rock bassists, nuns singing hallelujah, cellists playing. It is not just guitars, we encourage all sorts."
But it is not just about the live acts. Adam also provides a space for musicians to practice in the pub's back room.
"I charge them £2 a head to cover the cost of electricity.
It's a back-scratching thing. The bands that do rehearse here do free gigs for me every now and again.
"I want to set up lessons in the back room as well for all standards, and instruments will be included."
His vision is to recreate the welcoming feel he experienced at a pub in Ireland where guests were encouraged to pick up an instrument and play.
"Anyone can walk in and pick up a guitar or play the drums — and I usually join in with them. I want an ego-free pub," he adds.
The kit is of a high spec but landlords looking to follow a similar path should not be afraid of the technology, according to sound engineer Liam St Ledger.
"They have now got industry-standard gear which will increase the reputation of the venue, including a digital desk as opposed to an analogue one," he says.
"This gives them much more power and flexibility and it can all be controlled from an iPad.
"It's not hard to learn and there are great story videos online. There is enough out there on the internet to help you choose the right gear and if you are still worried there are sound guys out there who can help."
The kit is a further string to Adam's bow and he adds that his performance skills have already benefited his new career.
"Having that background in performance has helped. The biggest compliment I got was for being such a good host, remembering names — the small things go a long way — and for being a walking jukebox. People come in now and demand songs off me."
Another way to make a noise: Dead Wax Social, Brighton
One of the newest venues in Brighton-based pubco Laine's growing collection is a music venue that has gone back to basics, but like The Maypole, encourages customers to get involved.
Dead Wax Social — named after the run-out groove on a record — plays only vinyl, from decks on the bar, DJs or customers bringing in their own records.
Music is matched with craft beers and artisan pizzas on appropriately sized seven or 12-inch bases.
It was set up as a tribute to the independent record stores and labels that had such success in the seaside city.
Laine's chief executive Gavin George was inspired to create the concept after watching the film Last Shop Standing, which featured three Brighton record shops, two of which have since closed. He says: "Sadly the two shops that have since shut after years of trading were Rounder and Borderline.
"Both shops were a big part of the lives of many of the musicians and DJs who grew up in the city.
Brighton-based superstar DJ Norman Cook, pictured above, has played at the venue.
"The independent music business generally has always been an important and very vibrant element of Brighton culture, so Dead Wax Social is an homage to that," adds Gavin.