Let’s face it. If you live in Milton Keynes, you probably have a terrible pub on your doorstep. You know the type – run down booze holes full of chubby, balding men in England tops.
But what do you do if you have one of these boozers as your local? Avoid it like the plague? Laugh about it to your mates? Put on football top, sink a few Stella and go and join the regulars in their dirty, cultural void?
Or you could go one better and turn your local filth pile into one of the city’s best music venues.
It sounds far-fetched, but it’s been done.
In 2008, Underpass Promotions took over the Crauford Arms in Wolverton. They had already promoted shows widely in the city, and used their new home to great effect – jamming in a killer soundsystem into the run-down pub, gearing up their promotions machine, and scaring off the old crowd with their loyal audience of rockers, punkers, emos, chavs, and anyone else who wanted to come and skank and mosh with them.
Today, it’s a far cry from the other dirty beer dens that litter our estates. It’s an alternative heaven which attracts big crowds to gigs every week and pulls in some of the best names on the alternative scene including Hadouken, Towers of London, Sonic Boom Six, 80’s Matchbox B Line Disaster, Sponge and more.
Thanks to their efforts, not only have they converted a local dive into a cultural haven, they have also put Milton Keynes back on the touring map. Take a look at the tours pages of NME or Rock Hammer, and there you will see our culturally devoid, concrete city listed among the country’s alternative music hubs. That’s good to see.
Better still, Underpass have shown what you can do in Milton Keynes when you have a good idea. They’ve fought to get themselves on the promotions map, herded people through the door, put on great live shows, and have ended up providing us with one less soulless chain pub, and given us a venue that the city to be proud of.
Underpass Promotions, we thank you.