LIVE music is making a triumphant return to a Westcliff pub with bands queuing up to perform to customers after the venue’s grand re-opening. 

The Cricketers in London Road, Westcliff, opened its doors under new management in January after a seven-month closure.

New landlady Annie Bush, who ran city centre music venue Annie’s Attic, vowed to bring live bands back to the popular pub. 

Now, she says the place is “fully booked” for months to come as musicians flock to perform there.

She said: “After a bit of a slow start, the bands are coming in fast and furious.

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, with people wanting to come and perform.

Echo: Under new management - the pub reopened in January.Under new management - the pub reopened in January. (Image: Ben Shahrabi)

“We’re listening to what music customers would like to see. Since we put up a Facebook post asking for recommendations, it’s gone absolutely crazy.

“We’re fully booked until August, so I’m looking at putting extra music nights on.”

Live music is currently offered on Friday and Saturday nights, along with Sunday lunch. Karaoke nights are held on Mondays.

However, Annie is considering expanding the pub’s entertainment to Sunday nights, and even weekday evenings, to keep up with demand.

Annie added: “If there’s a call for more music nights, we’ll add them. We’re open to suggestions so anything we’re recommended that’s feasible, we’ll do.

“We’re also planning to hold an open mic night once a month.”

Alongside the bands which used to perform at the Gray and Sons pub under its previous management - the Corallini family - for a decade, Annie is hoping to welcome fresh talent.

Echo: Music nights and live bands have returned to the Cricketers, including DJ Ian Holmes.Music nights and live bands have returned to the Cricketers, including DJ Ian Holmes. (Image: Ben Shahrabi)

She said: “There are lots of new bands saying they can’t get booked anywhere.

“So, I’m planning to hold a ‘Cricketers Got Talent’ event over a couple of weeks.

“I want to give young people the chance to perform.”

Alongside its live music nights, the Cricketers is looking for a new quizmaster to host weekly quiz nights.

Annie says other events are “in the pipeline”, as she and the team work hard to entice people back to the pub after its closure.

She said: “We need to get the word out.

“We’re starting to pick up now, but it was a bit of a tricky start. We were closed for a long while, so people found elsewhere to go.

“It will take time, but I’m surrounded by a good team. I’m confident we’ll get there.”