A man playing guitar and singing on a stage at a festival, he is wearing a tan jacket and dark clothing underneath

Inspirational Islanders: Claydon Connor, Strings Bar & Venue

Having collectively realised there wasn’t a dedicated live venue on the Isle of Wight for musicians, co-founders Claydon Connor and Ian Davison established Strings Bar & Venue in 2017 – a 300-capacity live music and performing arts venue situated in Newport. The venue is now pivotal to the Isle of Wight music scene, helping emerging local artists such as Wet Leg, Lauran Hibberd and Beth Brookfield showcase their talents as well as hosting a wide variety of bands, DJs and comedians.

“I’m originally from Manchester, but moved here when I was quite young. We used to holiday here as kids and loved the idea of living by the sea. The Isle of Wight offered a good opportunity to create something special in a unique part of the country. The slightly slower pace and fresh sea air certainly add to the appeal too.

We have some stunning landscapes, but I’ve always liked Newtown Creek and that northwest part of the Island. It changes through the seasons, but there’s always something different to see.

When the weather is good, I like to head to the beach and, although it’s a shingle beach, I actually really like Woodside Bay in Wootton. With trees along the edge, it’s a little off the beaten track and has great views over the Solent.

There’s certainly no shortage of places to go for a walk on the Isle of Wight. The narrow streets in Yarmouth always have a nice buzz about them, but within minutes you can be alongside the estuary on the Causeway. If I want to get out in the open air, I head to Mottistone Down.

Picking my favourite event is hard, as to be honest… my life is one show after another, so I don’t get to go to many others on the Island. We’ve got some great performers coming up in the next few months at Strings, including Tankus the Henge, The Bluetones and China Crisis. Goldie Lookin Chain and Vote Pedro should be good fun too.

If I only had an hour on the Island, I’d head to Newtown Creek to take a wander along the boardwalk and see what I could spot. It’s a real haven for wildlife.”


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