Fiery Bird hopes for a brighter future

THE Fiery Bird live music venue is preparing for life after lockdown by readying a possible move to a long-term home and taking part in a national campaign to save the homes of grassroots entertainment.

Andy Edmeads

The Fiery Bird, run by the Phoenix Cultural Centre, was due to move to a permanent venue later this year after its premises in the town centre were to be demolished as part of the regeneration of the area.

Now, all that is on hold, but the Phoenix has appointed board members to work behind the scenes to prepare for the end of lockdown and the possibility of a permanent home for The Fiery Bird.

Elaine McGinty, the Phoenix chairman, said: “We are really excited about the new board members because they combine skills in live music, arts as well as keeping our commitment to community wellbeing and social progress at the heart of everything we do.

“We really want to be able to steer ourselves to safety so we can be there for the community to enjoy themselves together again.”

Suzanne Akram

The new board members are Andy Edmeads, an actor who is venue manager of Camberley Theatre; Anita Ho, a Tai chi teacher who is a trustee of Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum and the Chinese Association of Woking; Greta Hughson, who lives in Horsell and has worked in the voluntary sector for more than 15 years, often with charities focused on health and social justice; Suzanne Akram, who trained as a potter, has an MA in Arts Policy and Management and set up the Surrey Minority Ethnic Forum since 2009; and Justin Coll, who was festival co-ordinator for GuilFest, set up and ran the Palace live music venue in Aldershot and now runs Radio Woking.

The Fiery Bird has been included in the national campaign #saveourvenues run by the Music Venue Trust to save hundreds of grassroots music venues at imminent risk of being closed.

Anita Ho

Elaine said Phoenix was keen to support the campaign in which well-known and grassroots artists were involved.

“Because we are a community interest group we are effectively a charity that has operated on a shoestring,” she said, adding that most grant providers had stopped issuing new amounts to protect the current grant holders.

Phoenix is using social media to share performers and community information.

As well as providing live music, including open mic sessions, Phoenix has provided entertainment at big events in Woking such as Party in the Park.

For more information, visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savefierybird, www.facebook.com/Fierybirdlivemusicvenue or www.saveourvenues.co.uk

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