Sing for your supper in Wolverton
It may be the smallest venue in the new city, but Wolverton venue Buskers has carved a niche of its very own.
It has a reputation far bigger than its seating capacity which is around two and a half dozen.
Intimacy really is the word of choice for this snug music haven.
It’s a multi-purpose place for those who want to buy instruments, enjoy listening to music, playing music...and erm, eating.
Because Buskers is a cafe too.
Home cooked fare is always on offer, coupled with a selection of decent wines, beers and spirits.
The little haunt is the brainchild of Martin Wakley, familiar to many youngsters locally for his work as Head of Music at Lord Grey school, and later Head of Performing Arts at Stantonbury Campus.
After testing the water with a little music store while at Stantonbury, Buskers - part of the new premises built into the old Wolverton carriageworks - opened its doors three and a half years ago.
It’s not about making a quick buck, but, akin to his roles in education, about fostering a love of music in others.
“As a classroom music teacher, I saw many students giving up as they couldn’t afford to buy an instrument,” Martin told me.
“We started by selling second-hand instruments, and soon moved on to selling new instruments, sheet music and accessories.
“The other music shops in MK tend to focus more on rock and pop music, our focus is more on the classical – stringed, woodwind and brass, and pianos.”
But it’s one thing owning a music shop, and another selling hot brews, let alone offering a full menu.
“The first live music events were our Supper Clubs.
“It’s more like you are coming to my house for a dinner party than going to a restaurant,” Martin says.
“Everyone eats the same thing at the same time and we have live music.
“At the end of the evening we pass around the Buskers Hat – for customers to show their appreciation of the music.”
Live music is currently on the menu every Friday evening, with special events occupying Saturday sessions.
“So far as genres go, this is a place for acoustic singer-songwriters, a little jazz, cocktail pianists and themed evenings. Traditional, fine flowing stuff that isn’t loud enough to upset the neighbours.
It’s been tough establishing Buskers, in part because the venue is tucked away from the High Street, but that’s also part of its charm, and now it is firmly established, Martin is constantly looking at new ways to keep music live and entice new blood.
He wouldn’t rule out another Buskers hub in time either.
“MK needs more independent places, and by doing things a little differently we generate some curiosity which tempts people to come and try us.”
Pop in to Buskers;
Friday evenings/Occasional Saturdays
On the musical menu:
May 27: Classical Open Mic Night
June 3: Gary Wood Jazz Quartet
June 10: Pianist John Lee
June 17: Anna Hester