Bridgwater Keeps its Place at the Top Table of Rock -Thanks to the Cobblestones

Graham Hodgson behind the bar in the Cobblestones

From Bristol to Exeter it’s a rockless wilderness. Apart from here in Bridgwater where that music form has always found a home and a heady mix of touring bands and original homegrown groups that make this place something special. In the 196o’s it was the Town Hall and the Top Twenty club hosting Billy Fury, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, the Swinging Blue Jeans and the Who. In the 70’s and 80’s it was the Bridgwater Art Centre with it’s punk, ska,reggae and indie gigs featuring Crass, Chumbawamba, Black Roots and the Toy Dolls then in the ’90’s and into the 21st Century it was the Palace with Joe Strummer, Madness and the suppers from that eternal elixir of the cider cup, the Wurzels. These days……it’s the Cobblestones Pub in Eastover.

The Cobblestones has been run by local rock promoter Graham Hodgson for just two years but in that time him and his 3 partners have turned the place into a key rock venue on the touring circuit for name bands and eagerly backed by a growing stream of talented local rock groups who write their own music and not only keep a Bridgwater music scene going but keep their town on the rock map of the country. As their fathers did before them, and their grandfathers before them. And some grandmothers.

Weekend gigs

The Cobblestones function room

Every week the Cobblestones has something on of a Friday or a Saturday. Touring name bands and up and coming local bands. Gigs coming up include Sumo Cyco supported by Skarlett Riot, Pretty Little Enemy and Flowerpot on Friday 23rd March, then Itch (from The King Blues Unplugged) on 20th April supported by Louise Distras and Drewbag, and later The Rumjacks on 26th May backed by Mick O Toole and Sinful Maggie.

But for a full list go to their website here.

Graham , who got involved in music when his dad tried to get him into Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention, and so inevitably went down the Heavy Metal route instead, was initially involved in the late 90’s Bridgwater Music scene which revolved around the 3 Crowns pub in St Mary Street, and worked with local promoters such as Matt Bartlett and Brett Pracownik who later found careers in music promotion around the world, and then himself went on to promote events at the Rock Garden, Silhouettes and the Waterloo. Always bringing something new to his shows such as themed fancy dress nights, Battle of the Bands events, pop quizzes, or trying anything from poetry to unplugged or open mic nights, Graham keeps the Cobblestones scene cutting edge and bands and audiences alike respond. He is also proud that the music he puts on is at least 95% original which says a lot for the creativity of the people of the town.

Bridgwater Music Scene

Eastover’s Cobblestones pub

Bridgwater bands who Graham rates include The Splash, Napier, Bridges and of course the virtually superstar Shoot the Moon.

The Cobblestones has a 150 capacity and the scene there is surprisingly mixed – but on reflection this has always been the case in Bridgwater. A working class town with a basic creativity at its heart, the place has always picked and mixed sub-cultures and been more accepting of differences between people and their music and today is no exception. Metalheads, Goths, Punks and ‘none of the aboves’ all come to the gigs and support whatever is on.

And Graham has big ideas for the future. He’d like to work with other promoters, maybe on a Bridgwater Rock Festival, maybe putting on bigger gigs at the Town Hall, maybe  something like the Glastonbury Calling idea which has seen that town run a mini festival consecutively in 6 of the towns venues.

Either way, Bridgwater maintains a permanent seat at the top table of rock, and we’re about to order seconds!!