NEWPORT’S Corn Exchange music venue opened in earnest last night with a sell-out showing from a beloved Gwent band.

It has been just three months since Le Pub operations manager Sam Dabb, along with other self-described “music lovers”, unveiled plans to turn the vacant building on High Street into a 500-capacity events space.

Last night, March 2, Bristol duo Getdown Services warmed the crowd from an otherwise chilly night before Caldicot rockers The Bug Club blessed the stage.

South Wales Argus: The Bug Club from Caldicot wowed the crowdThe Bug Club from Caldicot wowed the crowd (Image: Sam Portillo)

'Special night'

The doors opened at 6.30pm, with a host of city councillors young and old joining shadow Welsh secretary Jo Stevens MP, Newport West MS Jayne Bryant and Newport East MP Jessica Morden - and eager to witness the venue’s potential first-hand.

“Such a treat to be at Corn Exchange tonight and see Getdown Services and The Bug Club,” said Ms Stevens. “A fabulous new community-owned live music venue. Congratulations to the trustees and all involved in getting it off the ground.”

South Wales Argus: A number of city councillors and Welsh political figures were eager to experience the venue first-handA number of city councillors and Welsh political figures were eager to experience the venue first-hand (Image: Sam Portillo)

Reflecting on the night after opening the Newport half marathon the following morning, Ms Bryant said: “Growing up in Newport meant live music and great venues were not very far away.

“Last night some quite amazing women have led the way by opening a new live music venue - supported by community investment.

“A really special night for Newport. Plenty more to come.”

READ MORE: 'Music lovers' unveil plans for live music venue in heart of Newport

Ms Morden added: “Da iawn to the feisty group of women who are making this happen and to all those who have invested.”

Alongside steering group chair Ms Dabb, those “feisty” women include city councillor Emma Stowell-Corten, events manager Elisha Djan, finance expert Emma Jones, DJ Stacey Alford and student Eleri Gray.

South Wales Argus: The Corn Exchange steering group features a number of 'feisty women'The Corn Exchange steering group features a number of 'feisty women' (Image: Sam Portillo)

Zac Mather, of bilingual Pontypridd group CHROMA, also serves as social media officer for the Corn Exchange.

At least part of the buzz around the project stems from the sense of community involvement.

The venue has been endorsed by BBC radio presenter Huw Stephens, Newport hip-hop group Goldie Lookin Chain and more than 180 investors who have collectively crowd-funded over £73,000.