The Guide Awards: Special Achievement Award

Mark Waldron and Steve Frampton flank Special Achievement Award winner Geoff Priestley of the Wedgewood Rooms.

Mark Waldron and Steve Frampton flank Special Achievement Award winner Geoff Priestley of the Wedgewood Rooms.

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For more than a decade Geoff Priestley has run one of the south’s best-loved music venues, The Wedgewood Rooms, taking it over at a time when its future was uncertain and turning it into a renowned venue on the national touring stage.

Modest Geoff, who also sits on the Cultural Partnership, said: ‘I’m taking this not for me ,but as something on behalf of The Wedge and all the people who have worked there over the years.

‘I don’t think I’ve done anything special – the venue’s been there a long time now and it gives people memories that they can’t get anywhere else. There’s nothing like being in a small, sweaty venue two yards from your favourite artist.’

The Wedge’s comedy club has been the city’s longest-running comedy night and in recent years Geoff has worked with the Kings Theatre to host plays at the venue as well.

Last year he also played a key role in setting up the Southsea Comedy Festival, which was a huge success.

He has kept The Wedge independent, when many other similar venues have been taken over, and is well known for his integrity and support for local arts – on Sunday, The Wedge will be hosting a conference as part of Independent Music Week.

Playing on the Wedge’s stage has long been held as the Holy Grail for Portsmouth’s bands.

And Geoff has also provided a place where the next generation of technical staff can receive vital training – lighting technicians, sound desk engineers, stage crew and so on.

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