First bookings confirmed as Doncaster town centre live music venue prepares for re-opening

Live music looks set to return to Doncaster town centre – with bookings already made to bring bands back in the summer

Local groups are in the diary for shows at the Horse and Groom on East Laith Gate, with more set to be arranged in the next few weeks.

Ailene Horrocks, who runs the venue, confirmed shows were in the pipeline following the publication of the Government’s roadmap to returning to normal life.

The pub has been closed since October 24

Landlady Ailene Horrocks and Amelia Davey, Bar staff member, pictured by the stage. Picture: NDFP-22-09-20-Horse&Groom 2-NMSY

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Mrs Horrocks said: “There has not been a lot we can do, but we are philosophical about it, and we will keep going until we can open again.

"We don’t have any outside space to make it worthwhile for us to open in April.

"We want to resume live music as soon as we can.

“We are hoping that May might be a possibility. There’s not much point in us opening in April. Our trade is around our live bands and if we can’t do that there’s not much point.

"Assuming these dates go ahead, they give us some sort of idea, although the middle of may is still a couple of months away.

"I’ve started to book live bands in for happier times. The first one is in for July but I’m hoping to book some for before then as well. I’m excited about the prospect of seeing a and back here because that is why we run the pub.

We have After Hours and Freeway booked. We are also hoping to get Resurrection, who had been due to play on the Sunday after we had to close in October.

"We’d like to get them in as soon as possible but it’s a bit tentative until we now more."

She said Government assistance from grants, and help with their lease and rent had helped them through lockdown.

"We are so grateful for all the messages of support from our regular customers,” she said. “It’s been a long time since we’ve seen them”

The pub was recently voted the runner up in Visit Doncaster’s lockdown awards, for the ‘most missed’ pub.

Ailene said: “It was lovely to be honoured like that. We didn’t even know that we’d been shortlisted. We only found out about it after the voting closed.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.