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June?! How Is It Nearly June?!

Updated: May 26


It's been an absolutely bonkers few weeks. In my last blog post, we were heading into the first May Bank Holiday. It had been winter for so long, I was becoming concerned that if the weather changed I would need surgical help to remove me from my woolly jumper. We had gigs and events crammed in fuller than a mosquito at a nudist beach. We had somehow managed to secure a gig with Frank Turner on his MVT 24 hour Tour! We had taken our plans, accounts and projections to a Music Venue Financial Guru and they had told us that the future was bright...

So all in all, things were looking good for The Crooked Crow Bar.

We knew that 1st quarter of 2024 had hit us hard. January and early February hadn't been as bad as we had expected, but that inevitable drop in trade during the hibernation months was always going to have an impact. The previously mentioned financial guru had advised us that as long as trade improved by the predicted 20% (which was actually less than it had increased in previous years), we would be able to finally shake off the damage from the pandemic, and start to thrive.

Unfortunately, the horrific weather, (the never-ending grey skies), continued into April and whilst trade improved, that surge in customer numbers that would usually be expected for the 2nd quarter of the year, was shamefully late on parade. Then in May, thankfully, (finally), we saw an end, albeit brief, to the Winter. That few days of blue skies had ended the monotony of drizzle and drudge and with it, people remembered there was life outside of work, Tesco & Netflix! We busied up, the events were fuller, there was a bit of a buzz during the non-event times. Were we saved...? Was it all too late...?

Well the simple answer to both those questions is "No". We need that increase in trade to be consistent and we need it urgently. If we don't get it, we probably will survive, but honestly, we then have to ask the question: why? Whilst we know it's not just us... Every small business on the high street has been feeling it, but the situation has been driving me to insanity. This year we need to make the decision as to whether we continue with The Crooked Crow Bar. A 10 year lease is on the table, the accounts projections are good, but a business can't survive on optimism alone!

...

As you know, people love to pop in to give me their opinions about how we should be running things, and as you know, I normally just eyeroll them until they take the hint (or think I am having a seizure) and go away, but when the last wine-soaked lady offered her 2 pennies worth, I decided to listen... She thought that we needed to shake the perception of being a rock/metal bar as it gives people the impression that we are rough, grubby, unfriendly etc etc.

I'm not going to lie, I was a bit perplexed. I mean, we host live music of loads of different genres... We are polly-jam-arous and have never just catered to rock music. While she may have got me on the grubby front, we are definitely not as rough as a lot of places I frequent and I'd like to think we are pretty friendly (obviously, if you're not being a d*ck, or including Frank in that equation)! I couldn't get her comments out of my head. Was the perception of what we actually are, part of the problem? But it's lies... We are not a bloody ROCK BAR! We are an independent, alternative, music-led, events bar... but whilst that's the truth, there is no way of saying it without sounding like a pretentious tosser!

Do the people of Leighton Buzzard want an alternative bar, a grassroot music venue, an independent, events space? We think so... I mean, who wouldn't?! Surely if there was no market for the awesome-ness we are flogging, we wouldn't have those hot, sweaty, jam-packed gigs, we wouldn't have sold out fantastic events and the bar would simply be dead.

Then I realised, to the Vanilla Brigade, The Crooked Crow Bar, in essence, was a rock bar, (if by rock bar, you mean a no nonsense, live music, alternative space). We probably are a bit intimidating to those whose idea of a great night out is a bottle of chardonnay and a Love Island Omnibus... and that's okay. We don't need to change what we are or how we are perceived. After all, you can't have EPIC adventures with basic people.


SO... as my mammoth overshare/mental breakdown is rambling on... where does this leave the future for The Crooked Crow Bar?

IF enough music-loving pissheads, people who get what we are, people who want us to survive, come and support us and continue to support us over the next couple of months, then it leaves us in a very good position, looking towards another 10 years and able to put in place all of the longer-term plans we have to help us thrive.

We have a jam-packed schedule of events coming up in June, from live music, games nights, theatre shows, drag cabaret, quizzes, vinyl DJ sets, Sunday gigs, standup comedy and more. So if you can, please get down and support us.

IF trade doesn't improve, well who knows!

As they say, It's not over until the fat lady sings and being of the rather spherical, female persuasion, I can safely say, I'm not planning on breaking into song any time soon!!!


Anyway, like I said, it has been a manic few weeks and we have hosted some absolutely fantastic events. Check these out...




COMING UP AT THE CROOKED CROW BAR...


FRIDAY 24th 9PM: V8

Awesome hard rock and metal anthems from RATM, SOAD, Sabbath & more.

These guys are the absolute nuts, and it's free entry!!!


SATURDAY 25th 12-6PM: BYO Vinyl

All genres welcome, no pre-booking needed, friendly atmosphere, no superstar DJ skills required... Just pop down with your records and give them a spin on our fantastic decks!


SATURDAY 25th 9PM: EL BRONSON

Lock up your donkeys, as those super sexy moshing Mexicans are back!! With perverted nu metal, rock and dance belters! Free entry


SUNDAY 12-4PM: Ska From The Bar

DJ Double Deckers are here playing a fantastic soundtrack of ska, soul and rock n roll classic vinyl. 16+ Free Entry. Outside food allowed.


WEDNESDAY 29th: CASTLE COMEDY NIGHT

A classic mixed bill of comedy featuring TV names and rising stars. Tonight we have fantastic standup from CAREY MARX & DARRAN GRIFFITHS. Hosted by Paul Revill. Tickets available from our website.


FRIDAY 31st: B4WD

This is your chance to support the original music scene, 3x fantastic bands and an independent venue, all in one night! Tonight: Robert J Hunter, Whilst We Explode & Master Bizarre. Entry is £3 on the door (all door money goes to the bands).


SATURDAY 1st June, 12-6pm: BYO Vinyl, Pride Club Kids Special.

It is the 1st ever Leighton Buzzard LBGTQ+ Pride event and to celebrate this step away from the usual Jam & Jerusalem nonsense, we have a BYO Vinyl special! So dig out your favourite Club classic records from the 80s and 90s and come and give them a spin. Free entry.


SATURDAY 1st 9PM: ATOMICS

We will be continuing the party with fantastic live music from The Atomics. Playing new wave and power pop classics from Elvis Costello, Blondie, The Pretenders and more. Free Entry.


SUNDAY 2nd 12-4pm: POWER UP (Retro Gaming)

Chilled vibes, great tunes and retro games available to play up on the big screen. 16+ Free entry.


SUNDAY 2nd, 4PM: THE BIG SUNDAY SHAKEDOWN

Tickets now available! It's our Sunday Surf party, with surf and rock n roll bands and DJs playing throughout the afternoon.


CHECK OUT FULL LISTINGS FOR JUNES EVENTS ON OUR WEBSITE!


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