Ringing endorsement for Bristol’s music scene as Rough Trade opens in city

Bristol’s standing as a leading global music city was underscored this week when iconic record shop Rough Trade opened in the city centre.

The store at New Bridewell on Rupert Street, pictured, is only Rough Trade’s fourth in the UK and fifth worldwide. It has two outlets in London, one in Nottingham and one in New York.

The move comes after Rough Trade bought out Bristol-based independent record store Rise earlier this year.

The Rise store in Queens Road, which had operated for nearly eight years, was closed two months ago with staff transferred to the new Rough Trade shop. In keeping with other Rough Trade outlets, the 4,465 sq ft store also has a cafe, bar and live performance area.

Its arrival could herald a new ‘music quarter’ for the city with a range of specialist shops and venues nearby, according to the property agents behind the deal.

James Woodard, retail director at Bristol-based Hartnell Taylor Cook, said: “To see an international brand such as Rough Trade choose Bristol is great news, and a ringing endorsement for Bristol as one of the UK’s most important music cities.

“Specifically for this part of town, the deal is significant – with PMT, the city’s largest musical instrument shop, across the road, and some really important gig venues such as the Bierkeller, SWX and The Lanes close by, you could say there’s a ‘music quarter’ emerging here in the heart of the city.

“Rise was much beloved of music fans in Bristol, and was always so much more than a record shop – providing a community hub, café, affordable fashion by local designers, and performance space with regular in-store gigs.

“Rough Trade will be looking to build on this foundation, being such a valued hub is precisely what they want to do, and if anything, their stronger brand should make it even more of a draw. This should be great news for music fans.” 

The first act to play in the new Rough Trade store’s performance area will be Bristol band Idles this Saturday, December 16.

The New Bridewell project, which is being developed by Bangor-based property firm Watkin Jones on the site of the city’s former central police station, also includes accommodation for 500 students along with retail and leisure at ground-floor level.  

The first Rough Trade store opened in West London in 1976, originally specialising in reggae and garage rock.

Within two years it had spawned a record label – also called Rough Trade – which become a byword for alternative music and signed some of the leading post-punk bands of the era such as The Monochome Set and Subway Sect. It also launched its own distribution channel which helped fellow independent labels to break through and challenge the major music companies.



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