One of Blackpool’s most popular live music venues has won two awards at a prestigious regional event.
Ian Fletcher and the Waterloo Music Bar have been recognised in the North West Music Awards.
With venues having to shut for long periods, the Waterloo almost went out of business last year and was saved by a rescue campaign which attracted major support from Blackpool residents and musicians across the country.
The Waterloo, based on the corner of Waterloo Road and Central Drive, won the much-prized accolade, Best Grassroots Venue, and Ian himself also won the “Night Time Hero” award for his unstinting efforts to support new music and also his charity work.
Ian has been a long-time supporter of the Blackpool charity Streetlife. which helps vulnerable young people, and The Waterloo has been a collecting point for tins of food to help the charity.
The awards, organised by Red Spot Events, were live-streamed online and the judges included big names in UK music, such as Peter Hook from New Order and Clint Boon, best known for his work with the band Inspiral Carpets.
Ian said: “It’s an honour to be given these awards get this kind of recognition, especially as it covers such a big area across the North West and we were up against some cracking venues in Liverpool and Manchester.
“We were watching the awards on a big screen in the bar and when we won there a huge cheer, it was like being at a football match!
“The award is for everyone who has supported us and for Blackpool – I hope this can help put the town on the map for live, grass roots music.”
The Waterloo has become a major live music draw in the past five years, supporting local bands and also playing host to nationally-known artists.
Support for the Waterloo flooded in after charity The Music Venues Trust identified the Blackpool venue as being on the ‘red’ at risk list last year and set up a crowdfunding appeal to help.
That campaign raised a magnificent £45,000.