Pop Recs to open in a month after Sunderland smashes funding target

Pop Rec's Dave Harper and Michael McKnight with ongoing work in their new Stockton Road shop.
Pop Rec's Dave Harper and Michael McKnight with ongoing work in their new Stockton Road shop.
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“Thank you Sunderland” - say the Pop Recs team after generous pledgers doubled their crowd-funding campaign target.

There’s still just over a week left on Frankie & the Heartstrings’ KickStarter page, which they set up to help them bring back their multi-purpose record shop and it has already raised £13,700.

The band had hoped to raise £6,000 to pay for refurbishments and fittings at the former Triple Six tattoo studio in Stockton Road, which they’re converting into Pop Recs Ltd 2 after the building that housed the original was sold to developers. But that target was smashed in four hours, after fans of the creative hub pledged their support in their droves.

“The support has been amazing and very emotional for us,” said Dave Harper, drummer with the Heartstrings. “At first I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of a KickStarter campaign, but it really lends itself to this sort of project.

“It’s not like we’re begging, people get something for their money.”

So far, more than 500 people have pledged for goods including a private gig from Frankie & the Heartstrings in your home to limited edition Pop Recs mugs. Their money will pay for everything from lighting to costly safety regulations.

Pop Rec's Dave Harper and Michael McKnight with ongoing work in their new Stockton Road shop.

Pop Rec's Dave Harper and Michael McKnight with ongoing work in their new Stockton Road shop.

It’s also drawn support from high-profile musicians including folk singer Frank Turner and Geoff Travis from Rough Trade Records who are among those to have bought items for the campaign, while James Bay filmed a video urging people to pledge.

James, who shot to fame with track Hold Back the River, was one in a long list of chart-toppers who played the original store, which hosted the likes of The Charlatans, Badly Drawn Boy, Franz Ferdinand, The Cribs and The Vaccines.

Speaking about James, whose debut album was a hit on both sides of The Pond, Dave said: “We owe a lot more than people realise to him. We must be so far off the radar of things he has to do, he’s not obliged in any way to help us, but he does. There’s something very genuine about him.

“He asks what he can do for us, it’s not even us hounding him.”

James Bay

James Bay

Dave and Michael McKnight from the band have been in the shop every day working alongside builders in the hope of getting the new venue up and running in a month.

And they say they’re in talks with a high profile name to perform the first gig.

“We consider everyone who’s pledged as share-holders,” said Dave. “We listened to feedback from people at the last place and we’re putting those suggestions in place. Smashing that target has given us the opportunity to hit the ground running and we can install things like baby change facilities and buy a proper coffee machine, it’s those little things which will help to make this business sustainable.

“We want to make this a comfortable environment and a long-term thing for Sunderland.”

The downstairs of the venue will act as artist space, rehearsal rooms and a space for community groups, while upstairs will be a record shop, gig venue and coffee shop.

•To support Pop Recs Ltd campaign visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1992103671/pop-recs-ltd.