In an age where pubs, clubs and music venues struggle to keep their flame alight, there is a phoenix burning bright in the heartland of Wales. The Patriot in Crumlin has survived the challenges and has risen to become a focus for live rock music with bands travelling from far and wide to step on stage and ply their wares. Overcoming challenges and becoming an attractive prospect didn’t come easy for this humble venue and the secret to that success? Let’s find out.
The Patriot has a proud tradition and the modest team of five who run the venue haven’t lost sight of that but to take the business into a healthy position, a change of focus was needed. That change of focus was to create a venue where bands would want to play and where music lovers would be welcomed and not face exorbitant charges for the pleasure.
The driving force behind this progress - Angela Draycott is a true visionary in the business. With a business pedigree and a love of music, her learning curve has been steep but her passion and motivation to create a music hub in the centre of the community is unbending. ‘Community’ is something Angela is passionate about, recognising that the local community is as important as the gig-going one. Her wish to be supportive of those around her, whether musically or personally is built on modesty and honesty and her drive is to build the customer base.
The venue we see now features a professional stage with lighting and PA, a comfortable vibe and above all - a welcome that would shame most village pubs. These assets have been built and nurtured by the in-house team and those who proudly consider the venue to be a shared responsibility regardless of being a punter or employee. A year after taking the task on, Angela said it best when she described what makes the place tick –
“I make a point of speaking to everyone. The venue is always chock full and the feedback is great. People feel welcome, we put good music on and we build good relationships with bands. My vision is to help new bands. It’s not about making money – I’m still learning but I want to contribute to the music industry.”
The range of gigs in the diary sees international as well as local acts queuing for the chance to play. Recent shows by exciting new acts such as Those Damn Crows, Kris Barras Band and Florence Black, as well as Internationally renowned musicians such as Marco Mendoza, have filled the venue and received glowing reviews, but the billing of tribute bands and cover acts ensures there is something for everyone. With live music on Friday and Saturday nights, there have also been a number of successful charity events that evidence the heart and soul in the DNA of The Patriot. The Armed Forces weekend is one such event where no staff drew wages, the bands played for free and the charity received three thousand pounds. The fundraising approach reaches beyond the confines of rock music and the efforts to raise funds to supply a defibrillator outside the building for the local and visiting community belies the modesty of The Patriot.
The Patriot team are always looking for new ways to add to their community and to step out of their comfort zone. This has seen the building hosting jam nights and unique nights such as last year’s much talked about Halloween night. There is an ambition to host music tuition where budding stars of the future can soak up the atmosphere of what playing in a bonafide gig environment really feels like. Experimental ‘little rocker’ parties have been a huge success and at the risk of being swamped with bookings, this is as good a sign as any that the new approach has taken off.
With a full diary over the winter that features a range of new acts, there is something brewing for 2019. With the prospect of the venue gathering even more momentum and bands lining up to take to the stage, a little bird tells us there is something big planned.
Until then, go check the place out. You may well see a band who will become the next big thing, but one thing is guaranteed – you will be greeted with open arms and you’ll have a great time at the home of rock.
Stay tuned for news on 2019 and what the rest of the year holds at the great Facebook and Instagram sites
The Patriot can be found at Main Street, Crumlin, Newport NP11 4PT and their number is 01495 247178.