New Kid on the Block
There’s a new kid in town, albeit one that has been around a very long time. Yes, The Seven Stars has opened its doors but this time with a fantastic new twist. Acting as a cultural hub for all things Welsh, Saith Seren aims to promote the best in country, be it through sustenance, conversation or entertainment. I spoke to local promoter Bob Spectrum about what we could expect from this new venue as regards music.
Tell me about Saith Seren…what makes it different from other venues?
“On the surface, Saith Seren is similar to a lot of other pubs in Wrexham; it has Wrexham Lager on draught and a range of cask and Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) approved drinks so it kind of fits in with the Royal Oak, Golden Lion, Nags Head and Horse and Jockey vibe. It’s a traditional Wrexham pub that’s been on the circuit for years. A few years ago with banks being turned into pubs and budget brands flooding in, Wrexham was in serious danger of losing its cultural identity. I think many people are bored of these now and we are seeing a return to tradition. People are more interested in quality than saving a few pence on a pint or meal. Most of the new pubs in the town centre all have a sense of commonality running thorough them which is great.”
What makes Saith Seren unique is that it’s a Welsh Cultural Centre. It is also ideally suited to live music; it has a stage, plenty of room for people to watch and the bar is away from the main action so people can still enjoy a chat and a drink if they want to. I think the fact that it will focus on Welsh language and Welsh culture is what will give it a unique sense of branding.”
What sort of bands will be booked to play…just Welsh/local or from all over? Is it going to be a welcoming environment?
“There will be a focus on Welsh bands, there’s no denying that. For us there’s load of bands who seem to be by-passing Wrexham who are big on the Welsh circuit. With the exception of Focus Wales, Welsh language music is under-represented in Wrexham and we want to use Saith Seren as a platform to readdress that. Sen Segur, Cowbois Celtaidd and many others are already confirmed and we also have local bands like The Scene and Orient Machine playing who have massive local followings. For us regardless of what the focus is we just promote good quality music. We don’t treat any venue or gig any differently from the next. Everyone has to be special, everyone has to be an event!”
What crowd are you aiming for?
“Part of our focus as a business this year is all about breaking down barriers so whether this is about introducing Welsh language music to our current audience or vice versa we want a venue that is open to everyone, where people can just have a good Saturday night and enjoy the music.”
How do you think it will benefit or hinder other such nights… how do you stand out from the crowd… could there be a case of over saturation?
“There are so many other nights on in town it’s easy to state over-saturation but we found last year that by bringing bands in from out of town, people would come from out of town.
One thing we do is look what else is on in town and sometimes plan round that. We love stuff like A Gathering of Folk in the Oak Tree and Central Station’s Rope nights for example, we are always there! I feel there is plenty of room for everyone to co-exist and grow together. We all have a common goal to make Wrexham a great town so let’s do it!”
How do you keep things fresh…there are only so many bands in local area for a small town to have so many venues?
“There are always new bands out there, just waiting to be discovered. It’s so ironic that a great band like The Reads have sold out Telfords in Chester but hardly ever played here.
It would be easy for us to book our mates bands every five minutes but we are always on the outlook for something new. The Reads are a great example of this. Similarly, We//Are//Animal will make their Spectrum debut in Saith Seren in March for example. We will continue to support local music as we have always done but always be adding new stuff.
I hope that Saith Seren will allow us to re-introduce local people to live music. It will be bringing Welsh bands into Wrexham who wouldn’t normally play here so that will make it unique in itself. But that’s not to say it will be just Welsh bands; we are talking to bands from England as well as Scotland as we speak. We simply want to build a reputation for good live music and turn people on to new things. Saith Seren when it was the Seven Stars had a reputation for live music. I think that will return pretty quickly.”
The first Spectrum Presents gig @ Saith Seren features Freedom of Expression (F.O.E.) on Saturday 4th February and is free entry.
Andrew is an editor and writer for wrexhammusic.co.uk and promotes the wrexhammusic.co.uk nights.