Firebug on Millstone Lane is celebrating its 15th birthday this weekend! We caught up with owner Matt Kirk to find out more about the last 15 years and we’ve also got details on how you can claim a free drink over the weekend.
So first things first… free drinks! If you’re heading to Firebug for their 80s themed birthday party on Sunday 28 July, make sure you get there between 7pm and 9pm and you can enjoy a free drink when you arrive. Grab a voucher from HERE using the password “Firebug15!” to claim yours. Limited number, first come first served.
Now, whether you know it as a gig venue, event space, favourite late night bar, place to meet your mates for a drink in the garden, or somewhere you stumble to at 3am, there’s no doubting that it’s one of Leicester’s most popular and well known venues. We caught up with owner, Matt Kirk, to find out about the last 15 years and what’s coming up.
When Firebug opened, 15 years ago now, did you ever imagine where the venue would be in 15 years time?
Well, on opening night someone actually said to us it would be closed in 6 months… It’s not quite what we wanted to hear on our opening night, obviously, but it looks like they were wrong.
What have been some of your highlights from the venue during that time?
There’s all the comedy and music that we’ve had, including Greg Davies, Foals, Micky Flanagan, Frank Turner, Katatonia, Alan Carr, Russell Howard, so many great acts! But my highlights are always the August Bank Holiday Sunday all-dayers downstairs. Singers seem to like climbing onto the bar! I do love my health and safety instructions with Grant from Backbeats/Goldwater, “You can climb that… you can’t climb that… don’t even think about climbing that!! “
Firebug has played an important role in some key events for the Leicester Music Scene – Handmade Festival, White Noise, Summer Sundae Fringe, how important have events like this been for the city?
They are essential in my opinion. If venues like Firebug, The Cookie, The Soundhouse, The Musician, The Shed, The Donkey etc don’t keep putting their own money on the line and keep trying to put larger events like these on, then where does the grass roots music perform to new audiences and keep the music scene vibrant?
How do you feel Leicester has changed in the time you’ve been open?
Things change, people’s use of public spaces change, and social media has had a massive impact on how people relate to the city. It’s very easy to assess the city from a snapshot of your own social media feed. It’s become a much more “late night” city in some respects and we have a vibrant bar culture.
A lot of bars and venues have opened and closed in the last 15 years, what’s been the key to Firebug’s longevity?
No idea to be honest! Possibly as much luck as hard work from everyone involved, especially our brilliant staff over the years.
We try to do as many different events as possible covering as many types of interests to keep everyone happy… quizzes, gaming days, geekfests, Pokemon events, gigs, comedy, private parties, as well as both vegan/veggie alongside meat food on the food menu. We also work closely with all the student societies that we can. It’s all part of our work to put a smile on peoples faces.
What exciting plans do you have in the pipeline?
All summer we are running birthday events and we’re looking forward to the Halloween season and, of course, the Christmas and New Year period. We’re working alongside the Council with the Dome sessions in August, we have the Uprising alldayer at the 02 Academy, plus a few other fun things like the Sector 5 reunion and Geekfest. We’re also already planning next year’s festivals and events and booking bands now for August Bank Holiday (in fact, please get in touch through facebook if your band wants to play!)
Sum up Firebug in 5 words.
“We’ll sleep when we’re dead!”
What have you got going on for the 15th birthday and how can people get involved?
This coming weekend we have parties planned all weekend! Friday night is Plug silent disco, Saturday night is Jump club night and on Sunday we have our big 80s themed birthday party from 7pm till 4am. There’ll be some great bands downstairs, including the lovely Sophia Marshall band, the great Last Edition and then Coyote 80s party band until midnight. Plus anyone coming in 80s fancy dress or even just an 80s tshirt can get cheap drinks all night! Of course, like all of our big events, entry to downstairs is free.
I’d also really like to say a massive thankyou to all our customers for coming to Firebug for the last 15 years. It means a lot and we’ll try to make sure we are here for a few more!
Keep up to date with detail’s for Sunday’s party on the Facebook event.