Essex libraries will be hosting live music with two award-winning acts set to play eight gigs.
Plugged and Unplugged was born after customers suggested libraries could be great venues for live music events.
Ray Cooper, former cello, bass and mandolin player with award-winning folk-rock legends Oysterband, will play three acoustic sets in Coggeshall, Wivenhoe and Writtle in early May.
Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin, past winners of Best Duo at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, will then play five concerts in Maldon, Rayleigh, Billericay, Harwich and Loughton in mid-June.
The tours have been organised by library staff Miranda Bedwin, Jo Norris and Charlotte Britton.
Miranda said: “Our customers suggested live music would work well in libraries, so we’ve listened and decided to give it a go. We hope the tours will showcase the huge potential of our libraries as venues for all kinds of community events, whilst still maintaining their traditional role as centres of information and places to find a great read.”
Ray Cooper, who toured the world with Oysterband and now lives in Sweden, went solo in 2013 and his informal, intimate gigs will feature him on cello, guitar and mandolin, playing songs from his imminent third solo album.
Ray said: “Libraries are quiet places full of stories and I invite people to come along and see me on my Essex Libraries Tour where they will certainly hear some fascinating tales.”
Whilst thinking about unusual places to play, it struck Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin that every town in the country has a purpose-built community space, perfect for bringing people together - the library.
Having played all over the world, from Africa to Japan, and all over the UK, including festivals such as Glastonbury, the duo realised that their best gigs all shared a common feature - a sense of community; a coming together around a set of ideas and stories. So, they decided, what better places to hold such events than libraries.
After winning the prestigious Best Duo award at the 2014 BBC Folk Awards and being nominated again in 2016, the pair has toured relentlessly, and in June will turn their attention to five Essex Libraries.
Both acts have generously agreed to donate 10 per cent of all ticket sales to support future community events in Essex Libraries.
Where and when…
Ray Cooper will play at Coggeshall Library on May 2, Wivenhoe Library on May 3 and Writtle Library on May 4.
Phillip Henry and Hannah Martin will play Maldon Library on June 14, Rayleigh Library on June 15, Billericay Library on June 16, Harwich Library on June 17 and Loughton Library on June 18.
Doors open at 6.45pm and music starts at 7:30pm.
Each event will have a bar, kindly provided by Beer and Co.
Tickets are available online at wegottickets.com