Woodbridge Festival of Art and Music, with Ipswich Art Centre and Aspire Black Suffolk, presents:

Live At The Riverside

Les Spain (legendary godfather of UK funk and soul DJs)

DJ Ben Osborne (Noise of Art), Your Mum & More

Plus Q&A on British Black Music in Suffolk and more TBA

Doors 6:30pm

£10, The Riverside, QuaySide, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 1BH.

Woodbridge Festival Art & Music has teamed up with Ipswich Art Centre and Aspire Black Suffolk for its next monthly Live at The Riverside event, presenting a night of music, visuals and Q&A with funk and soul legend Les Spaine.

As well as playing an ultra rare DJ set, based on his ‘70s club playlist, and a brand new Noise of Art AV show, Les will be talking to DJ Ben Osborne about the forgotten role Suffolk played in the development of funk and soul music in Britain.

The event is taking place next door to the former US Airforce base in Rendlesham and is part of the launch of Aspire Black Suffolk, a season of events celebrating black culture in East Anglia, and running alongside Ipswich Museum’s Power of Stories exhibition.

Les will talk about a career that saw him become resident DJ at the legendary Timepiece funk club, the 1970s all-night super club in Liverpool. The club became a magnet for touring American soul and funk acts, and led to Les heading-up Motown Records in the UK and working with such greats as Marvin GayeStevie WonderDiana Ross and The SupremesThe JacksonsKraftwerkDavid BowieMazeAswad and many more.

American bases in the cold war became a channel for getting soul and funk music into the UK. Les will recall his time DJing for US Airforce bases in Suffolk, where he was in demand as one of the few funk DJs in the UK at the time.

The night will also feature DJ sets from Ben Osborne, with Your Mum and more to be announced.

The Riverside is a much loved beautiful 106 year old venue and one of the oldest, continually open cinemas in the country – having stayed open through two world wars. It has been forced to close by the pandemic and has been under threat of permanently closing. This is one of a few events going ahead at the venue before it will have to close again for building refurbishments.

Proceeds from the night will go to the Save The Riverside campaign and Les’ chosen charity fighting prostate cancer.


The night is a socially distanced event following all current regulations, with an at seat bar service.

Woodbridge Festival of Art and Music is a not for profit community led festival that was launched by Ben Osborne in 2012, is now run by a committee drawn the local population and features internationally recognised pioneers (such as Orbital, Leee John of Imagination, Cold Cut, Justin Robertson..) and local talent. It presents music and art events in the town’s central park and venues around town, including The Boathouse, The Table, Anchor and The Riverside. All proceeds go to music and art equipment in local schools, local creative projects and community music projects, such as an Alzheimer’s choir.

“Go back into the ‘70s and you’ll find hugely influential figures including Ian Levine, Colin Curtis and Les Spaine in the North, Chris Hill, Bob Jones and George Power in the South. These are giants, upon the shoulders of which subsequent generations of British DJs stand, whether they know it or not.”