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Sanity Has Left The Building!

Normal isn't something we really do at The Crooked Crow Bar. I think there's a distinct possibility that I was never quite normal anyway. Even in my previous 9-5 corporate life, I would have a stash of googly-eyes in my handbag for emergencies. Normal just seems confusing and (if I'm being totally honest), bloody boring! It's full of people who watch prime time TV without wanting to stab themselves in the face with a fork, that pay to make their skin look like they've been sheep-dipped in Tango, grown-arse women who share toilet cubicles and don't factor comfort into shoe choices and overly groomed, no-sock-wearing men, with a compulsion to share their correctile dysfunction, (which is my new way of describing having things mansplained to me by Toss-pots)! I mean, live and let live and all that jazz, but just lately the Stiletto & Slider's Brigade seem to be infiltrating some of my favourite activities: At music festivals, although by all accounts they seem to only be there to take selfies and to create an assault course of chairs, picnic blankets and the occasional sleeping child, in the moshpit! When I'm hanging out at The Crow... "You know, you ought to get a telly in here." ...Oh, do bugger off Barry! Or even when I'm just vibing in another venue, then end up stuck behind a gaggle of them, who have queued at the bar without the faintest idea on what they actually want to drink and need to have a full-blown conversation about it.... "Sandra, what was that drink we had at The Dog & Danglies we really liked? Was it Blackberry gin?" "No, that was at the Girthy Growler... You mean that well nice blackcurrant vodka. What was it called?" ...Dear God, shoot me now!

Anyway, I digress... My point was, that even by my (lets say, "quirky"), standards, things at The Crooked Crow Bar have felt more bonkers lately.

It's now the 18th April. Easter feels like it was months ago, perhaps because we have hosted 6 live bands, a Drag Cabaret, a Blockbuster film screening, retro-gaming session, 2 BYO vinyls and a quiz in the last 2 weeks! We teamed up with Gazza Records to bring some fantastic original bands to The CCB this month, (check out the listings, because tonight Freddie Cowan from The Vaccines is included in the line up)! The Urban Voodoo Machines, Paul-Ronney Angel is returning for another brilliant solo show at the end of the month and after the success of the last Sunday Rock n Roll All-Dayer, and the last 2 Drag Cabarets, we have booked both shows back in for June (+ other dates later in the year).

We partnered with Black Circle Records and managed to be one of the venues for Frank Turners MVT world record tour (playing 15 independent venues across the country in 24 hours)! Everyone from Frank Turner and the Music Venues Trust, to Kerrang! and NME have been advertising the tour, and seeing our venue up there on the listings has been AMAZING!!! Everything's been crazy and we still have 2 BYO vinyl Saturdays, 11 live bands, 2 vinyl DJ sessions, and Castle Comedy Night left to squeeze in this month!!

April is also the time of year where we are forced to look at our annual finances and pray to all that is holy that things are okay. We are currently looking to extend our lease for another 10 years, which means that this particular accounts review has been major squeaky bum time! We've always been pretty honest with you all about our journey and the troubles we faced. To be honest, having started our journey just 2 months before a pandemic, there wasn't much point in trying to style it out and pretend things weren't difficult. We are beyond thankful that we managed to survive those tough times (and are fully aware that a lot of small businesses weren't so lucky), however, it meant that we accrued an unavoidable debt and carrying that forward into trading in a still recovering, bumpy industry, has not been easy. So this April, we decided to take the bull by the horns and took our accounts, projections and business plan to a financial guru, (recommended by the Music Venue Trust).

I'm not going to lie, it was pretty nerve wracking having my business abilities effectively judged by an industry expert. My brain has been so consumed by all things Crow for the last 5 years, it was possible what I believed was a good business model was just a mixture of optimism and delusion. Thankfully, the guru was in agreement that our business plan was good, our accounts were sound and our projections were realistic. W'hoo! I can't tell you the relief I felt that someone with no emotional attachment to The Crooked Crow Bar, an expert in making small venues financially viable, confirmed that we are on exactly the right path. So it's onwards and upwards now. We are determined that this year will be the year we shake off the ghosts of those first few years of trading and we will absolutely need your support to do it. We don't need advice from the Barry's... We know that if we stuck on a bit more bingo, got a telly, hosted more ABBA, Take That and Elvis* backing track tributes and allowed a few more chairs and sleeping children in the moshpit, we would be raking it from Blackcurrant vodka sales, but, honestly, I'd rather tap dance in a minefield wearing clown shoes. We will to continue to be an alternative space, a music and quirky events loving space, with more original bands, more immersive theatre, more Blockbuster films, more stand up comedy, more bonkers games nights, quizzes, retro gaming, great covers bands... Just more brilliant nights at The CCB doing what we do best!!!

So how can you support us....

  • Well, it's simple really, get down to The Crooked Crow Bar! Whether it's to buy a frothy coffee of an afternoon, have a game of pool, grab a beer, watch a band, play a quiz... There's always plenty going on, so what's stopping you?!

  • We will be implementing a price increase... Sorry! We wore the last few price hikes from suppliers and running costs, but we really need to increase the prices a little bit now.

  • Tell everyone you know about us (unless they're a d***, then obviously, tell them about somewhere else)! It's mental to think that in our 5th year of trading, people still pop their heads through the door saying "I never knew this was here!" Let's spread the word! Right now the Crooked Crow Bar's name is listed in Kerrang! and NME! Surely we can get the word out to the people of Leighton Buzzard!

  • If you can, come and support original music. Saturday nights are fantastic, the standard of our cover bands is EPIC and it's great that so many of you come and join us, but original band nights need your support too. How else is the music industry going to get new stars of the future? Please don't leave us to the bedroom gangster rap and autotune-insta generation! Contrary to popular belief, there is some exciting, fresh and talented music being crafted and performed right now in little grassroots music venues up and down the country. Check it out!

  • If you see an event that looks good, get on it!!! A lot of people tell us, "Oh, I saw you had a ....night. What a great idea." Then why didn't you come?! I get it... it's been Winter for at least 7 months now and everyone is crackered and beyond fed up with the grey. BUT events only work if they have support. We like trying new things, but sadly, if they don't bring a crowd, we just can't afford to keep putting them on. So if you see something that takes your fancy, please, please, dust off your finest woolly jumper and treat yourself to a night out!

  • Buy some merch. We have a shop on our website full of wonderful CCB merch, available all year round!

  • We absolutely appreciate that the cost of living is hitting everyone hard at the moment, but if we are going to move forward with The Crooked Crow Bar, then we REALLY need to shake off the damage from those first few years. So we will be running a programme of events to help raise some much needed spondoolies, so watch this space for details, and please support us if you can.


Thursday 18th April, 8pm.

GAZZA Records presents Rowsie: who will be treating us to another brilliant night of hard hitting, Indie-Roots Rock !!!

"Tons of roasting riffs, racy licks and sizzling hooks is what you get here. Enough rollin’ rippers to make your ears go bonkers with excitement for a while." TURN UP THE VOLUME.

PLUS support from Jeff Sewel and Freddie & The Scenarios, (with Freddie Cowan from The Vaccines) has now been confirmed!

Doors: 8pm Entry: £8 on the door

Friday 19th April, 8:30pm:

We are SO ready for a night of pure musical sunshine!!!

The Estimators are a brilliant 8 piece, traditional Jamaican ska band and Man, do they put on a good show!!!

Dust off your dancing shoes and we'll see you at the bar!

£10 entry (limited tickets available on the door)

Saturday 12-6pm: BYO Vinyl

Great fun, relaxed atmosphere.

Great decks (Technics) & sound system.

No superstar DJ skills required! Just come and play your favourite records!

All genres welcome.

No pre-booking needed.

This is an adult space (over 16s only). Pool table, darts and board games available to play. Great beer, locally roasted coffee available.

Dogs welcome (although not on the decks)! Outside food allowed.

Saturday 9pm: Radio Generation

Live new wave classics from Johnny Cash, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Iggy & The Stooges & many more. Free Entry

Sunday 12-4pm: The Lounge Buzzardz

Join us 12-4pm for a vibrant mix of laid back beats... Lounge through the quirky sounds of the eclectic, with vinyl DJ, Will B and guests. Our hangover special, Bloody Mary's will be back on the menu, and there's great beer/coffee, pool table, darts & board games. Free entry. Dogs welcome. 18+

Special guest this month will be Dan Taylor…Join us The Crooked Crow Bar for a lounging experience

Wednesday 24th April: Castle Comedy Night (tickets available from our website)

A classic mixed bill of comedy featuring TV names and rising stars.

TOM WARD - is an award winning comedian from London. He has appeared on ‘Live at The Apollo’ & ‘Live from The BBC’ (BBC), ‘Roast Battle’ , ‘Stand up Central’, ‘Live From The Comedy Store’ (Comedy Central) and twice on 'The Stand Up Sketch Show' (ITV2). He has also appeared on the new series of QI and is about to embark on a national tour.

“A genuinely exciting talent” ***** THE HERALD

DARRAN GRIFFITHS - A comedian, host and podcaster born and raised in Harlow, to Jamaican parents, he has a blend of Caribbean confidence and Essex irreverence. Flagrant, thought-provoking and funny.

To date, he has already appeared on television and radio, including BBC Three, Yanga TV, Pulse88 FM and BBC Radio.


Friday 26th April, 8pm: B4WD

Before World Domination is back!!!


This is your chance to support live music, talented original bands, an independent business, a grassroots venue & your local scene, all in 1 fantastic night!

Entry is just £3 on the door (with all door money going to the bands)

Saturday 27th April, 9pm: It's a CCB debut for EPIC rock band, Delorean (free entry)

Sunday 28th April 12-4pm: Ska From The Bar. A brilliant soundtrack of ska, soul, punk & rock n roll classic vinyl from DJ Double Deckers. Free entry.

Sunday 28th April, 7pm: Paul-Ronney Angel (tickets available from our website)

* (I do think I should add that I have been known to throw some shapes to ABBA and I actually LOVE a bit of Elvis... I just don't get the soulless backing tracks, or the outfits! Is an old man in a onesie a good representation of the king of rock n roll, or Steptoe?! But then I'm fully aware I am a crabby old boot)!

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