Shining light at The Star

August 31 2018

AT A time when bars and live music venues are closing down at an alarming rate, the Star in Fishponds has become a shining light in the trade.

Having only opened three and a half years ago, the thriving bar has quickly gathered a reputation as one of the best live music venues in the city.  With so many music venues under threat, particularly here in Bristol, it’s encouraging to see a bar forging the way ahead and keeping live music for the public alive. 

Eimear Hawes, who runs the bar in Fishponds Road for his brother Oisin, is the driving force behind the flourishing music venue. He said: "I come from County Clare on the west coast of Ireland. Clare is renowned for its rich, traditional music culture, and I have grown up with a great love of musical excellence, no matter what genre it is. 

"In the beginning, when the bar was in its infancy, it was difficult to develop live music and trade was slow to build up. However, we stuck to our beliefs and, over time, we started to harness the reputation as a great free music venue. 

"We develop the music here in two ways. Firstly, we focus on sourcing truly great bands that cover all genres including blues, rhythm n’ blues, traditional, folk, reggae, Latin, Balkan, African and gypsy. As long as the musicianship is top class we will put it on. 

"The other way is by supporting the local talent here in Bristol and in Fishponds. We do this through our open mic events, ladies open mic nights, folk and trad sessions and also with our folk and shanty choirs. 

"There is a wealth of great musical talent here in Bristol and it is very encouraging to see the musicians and singers developing their talent here through practice and encouragement from one another."

Eimear said the pub won't rest of its laurels.

"With regards to the future, we are always looking ahead to see how we can improve and develop as a venue. This year, for example, we have focused on developing in-house music festivals. Since January we have put on two very successful traditional Irish music festivals; one in January and the other in June. We also had a blues festival in February and a world music festival in March. In November we will be hosting our folk festival that has been running for two successful years now. 

"After coming to an arrangement with the organisers of the Bath Folk Festival, which ran from August 11-19, we became a satellite venue for the festival. We are proud that we were hosting some of the best folk artists from Britain and Ireland over that period. 

"Other than that, we will just keep doing what we are doing and long may great live music live on."