Growing up with a father who was in a band gave Bobby ‘Mambo’ Townson the thirst for a musician’s life.
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He began gigging with well known punk bands from the age of 16 and soon realised he wanted to create a bigger music scene in Chorley.
In 2011, when he was 21, he set up his own recording studio and rehearsal space under the name of Brock N Broll in Yarrow Mill, which last year changed its name to The Unit Art Hub.
The 27-year-old says: “My dad, Mick Townson, was in bands when he was younger and he taught me how to play the guitar when I was 14.
“I started from a young age and was in a number of bands which took off. We were gigging with some well known punk bands such as UK Subs and Vice Squad.
Since re-launching, The Unit has really taken off – running a string of successful events and monthly parties. I love the culture that it brings to everybody. I get a real buzz out of it.Bobby Mambo
“We wanted to make T-shirts for our gigs and realised how expensive they were to print. So I found out how to do it myself on YouTube and I got into screen printing.
“I was in a few bands at the time – my first being 3 Black Dwarfs and later Cactus Knife. I found it was difficult to find practice space. Some of the best venues in Chorley had shut down and there was a gap for a venue to put on touring bands from other countries.
“I also wanted to find somewhere for artists to record and to tie this in with my screen printing vision. So I set up Brock N Broll as a place for all my art projects in one.”
The hub hosts music events on a monthly basis and provides space for touring bands, as well as a screen printing service.
Bobby says: “Under Brock N Broll, we hosted interesting, art based bands that toured the UK such as Holy (Sweden), Boytoy (USA), Sundrift (Lancaster), ans Max Pain and the Groovies (USA) and also act as a recording studio and practice space for Cactus Knife.
“Now, under The Unit Art Hub, we are primarily an art space, with screen printing, music events, rehearsal spaces, recording studio and art exhibitions. I also make solid stave drums but that is more of a hobby for me.
“The Unit acts as a much needed space for the local creative community, grass roots band nights and art events and more informal hangouts. Through creative services, The Unit also helps local artists and bands to break through – not only giving them a platform, but the support they need to record their music and promote themselves. My band, Dull Boy, which also features Mike Jordan and Lewis O’Neill, is now releasing an EP.
“Since re-launching, The Unit has really taken off – running a string of successful events and monthly parties.
“I love the culture that it brings to everybody. I get a real buzz out of it - I have contacts with bands out in Europe and America. If they are on tour and are looking for space, we can accommodate them. This is a hub for people to hang out and for new artists to meet each other and share ideas.”
The Unit’s next event - Throwdown - will take place on Saturday July 14, from 3pm until 3am.
The summer party, which features five local DJs Oli Tennant; Olly Godfrey; Paul Rice; Steven Nicholson-Wrigley and Tom Godfrey, will be outside Yarrow Mill until 10pm and will then move indoors. The Indian Place, based on Chorley market, will be cooking up vegetarian street food Fredericks ice-cream will be served.
Steven Nicholson-Wrigley, organiser of the event and DJ said: “We’re really excited for the event. We’ve been on the look-out for a venue, and after seeing the success of other dance music nights at The Unit, we knew it would be the perfect place.
“The Unit is a fantastic space for alternative events like this. We’ve also been really pleased to see other businesses backing our vision. We’ve had a great response so far.” Advanced tickets are £5.83, from https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/throwdown-all-day-summer-party-at-yarrow-mill-tickets-45873056547?ref=eios&aff=eios.
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Limited tickets at £6 on the door.