EXCITING times are ahead for Barrow's newest music and arts venue with a full programme for the next couple of months and a special launch event tonight.

Respected Cumbrian solo artists Jon Byrne and Robbie J Coplen share the stage at The LAB - Live Arts Basement for its opening soiree tonight; centre stage tomorrow will be The Silver Bars and Gumshoe and on Saturday, August 24, it's the turn of Mark Pratt and KITS.

Next month, there will be a high profile appearance from much-loved pop and funk covers outfit Atomic Brass on Friday, September 6, and BBC Radio 6 Music and Edinburgh Festival favourites King Eider will take their acclaimed folk-blues music to the Dalton Road venue on Saturday, September 21, along with the Paper Cranes.

Venue manager Dan Payne said they wanted to do something a little bit different from the other venues around by bringing unique acts from across the country to Furness to compliment the fantastic talent already in the area: “Many people will know I’m a musician myself and I’m passionate about the acts that I am putting on. My events that I have been running at Beerwolf in Ulverston over the past 18 months have picked up a strong following and now I’m hoping to do something just as exciting in the heart of Barrow.”

LAB is an intimate 70-capacity venue, lounge and bar all rolled into one, situated underneath the Townhouse 211 bar and restaurant on Dalton Road. In addition to hosting live music every other Friday and Saturday, there are also comedy, poetry and other arts nights planned for the coming months.

Each of the events confirmed so far offers free entry, and the bar will be also operating an ‘Ecocup’ system, meaning that customers will pay a small deposit for their reusable cup, which they can keep or return at the end of the night.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work on the décor and the bar,” added Dan. “Because as well as being somewhere to come and watch some quality entertainment, we want it to be a place that people can visit to enjoy a drink. Of course, first and foremost it’s an arts venue, and a lot of thought and passion has gone into our programme. I really do think there is something for everyone." Visit www.facebook.com/LAB.Live.Arts.Basement.