Saltgrass plans to bring the party as live events return to historic pub
The owner of an historic pub is bringing a summer of sounds to Sunderland as live events return to the city.
From Monday, July 19, restrictions will ease across England meaning all businesses, including nightclubs, theatres and pubs, will be allowed to open with no limit on the number of people attending concerts, theatres and sport events.
It’s a huge sigh of relief for the city’s hospitality and events sector who’ve had to navigate 16 months of ever-changing restrictions.
Walter Veti is among the pub bosses looking forward to staging events once more and his Saltgrass pub will be among the first to host a live gig with house DJ Miguel Campbell taking to the decks on July 31.
Nineties indie band Space, who rose to fame with tracks such as Female of the Species, are also lined up to perform at the Deptford pub’s outdoor stage on August 27, with other events also in the planning stage.
Walter says it’s a nervous time for the live events sector, but he hopes July 19, dubbed ‘Freedom Day’ will help bring some normality back to people’s lives.
"The July 19 announcement was the news we’d been waiting for, but we’re still a bit cautious as we don’t know how the public will respond,” said Walter.
"We always meant for the pub to be a live music venue but with the restrictions we had to go down the drinks delivery and pub with table service route. We’re going all guns blazing for our first gig back with Miguel Campbell who’s an internationally-renowned DJ, which should be huge.”
The pub will be getting rid of table service, with people able to order directly from the inside and outdoor bars, but will still only open at up to 80% capacity and people can still wear masks as a personal choice.
Walter said: “Although we’re really excited to have live events again, we don’t want people to feel overwhelmed, so won’t be running at 100% capacity until we feel it’s right.
"In a way it’s hard to think that people will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder again, but live music in particular has really struggled throughout this so it’s incredible to be back.
"We have a great outdoor space here, which was beneficial for social distancing, but it also lends itself really well to live events. We really want to try and mix things up and create a scene down here, to have a mini festival vibe.”
The Saltgrass had been serving two pint measures during restrictions to try and compensate for table service waiting times, but people will be able to order standard pints from July 19.
Other venues across the city have also announced reopening plans, with Sunderland Empire due to announce its first show back.
Elsewhere in the city, venues such as The Point and Rainton Arena have a host of household names on the bill in the coming months, while Independent in Holmeside is showcasing a host of emerging talent.
The city will also welcome new venues with the new Pop Recs in High Street West to stage its first event in the coming weeks, and the new £11m Auditorium set to open in the coming months.