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Favourite Venues – The Stables, Milton Keynes

Lisa Ward


Hidden in the warren of roundabouts is The Stables; something of a haven amidst the concrete of Milton Keynes it has recently been listed as the 4th Best Venue in the UK by PRS. Funded by the Arts Council and those who appreciate its magic, it’s a predominantly volunteer run venue, with an atmosphere and welcome to rival anywhere. Friendly faces seem to swamp the place and it’s a far cry from the tired faces of other venues, where staff seem beaten by the late nights and desperate to clock off.

As a folk fan, there’s an even bigger pull since it seems to have become a key stop off on most Artist’s tours. With the likes of Loudon Wainwright, Joan Armatrading and Eddi Reader all gracing their stage previously and with Bella Hardy, Nanci Griffith and Peggy Seeger still to come, it’s a venue to watch for the folk lovers of the world.  For those less keen on folk, they also offer an impressive selection of jazz with open air festivals later this year, as well as hosting many classical and comedy evenings.

Of course, a great venue is not just about the welcome or bands, but the surroundings in which you find yourself and The Stables scores high marks on that front too. Having sat in nearly every possible location in the main auditorium I’ve yet to find one which lacks perfect visibility and whilst the smaller Stage 2 (which doubles as restaurant before performances) lacks slightly on this front, both rooms have impressive acoustics which brings the music to life.

Add to that mix homemade cake, reasonably priced drinks and ample parking and it’s pretty clear they cover every angle. If a chilled out, acoustic driven evening is your preference when it comes to gigs then The Stables is the place to be.