Rhodes Arts Centre, South Road, Bishops Stortford,Hertfordshire CM23 3JG
This is a true find, recommended to me by friends from Cambridge, and I’m glad I went.
It’s a very modern Arts Centre with its own parking. There are sign posts to the Centre from the various approach roads, but if there is actually a sign on South Road saying that one has arrived, I totally missed it and drove on by, having to do a dodgy u-turn a mile further up the road.
The parking is on site, so that makes it easy – but… It was easy for me on a Sunday afternoon because I arrived soon after the start, but when I left half an hour before the end it was virtually impossible to get my car out of its bay, because others had parked illegally. That suggests that the note on the web page “Easy Parking” was not quite accurate. Easy parking, if you arrive in time, I think is the correct statement. I didn’t think to look as I drove away, but I suspect the local streets are all either “no parking” or “permit holders only”.
But this was my only negative: the rest of the Ceroc advertising (the events are run by Ceroc Metro) were accurate: Comfortable Lounge Area, Complimentary Refreshments, Chilled-Out Ambiance, Great Crowd. I’d say that is right.
I went to Boogaloo, a three hour sunday afternoon session, and the venue really did pick up a good crowd. I expected more blues type music but it was more upbeat than that. The lounge certainly is good and spacious and there is outdoor seating too for sunny days.
The website is better than many a Ceroc website and is fairly comprehensive, and indeed up to date, although the Venue list in the Diary section has, in many cases the word “Venue”. As in “Venue” “Venue” “Venue”. The idea is that you click on the word Venue. Maybe it is obvious to everyone else. I got there in the end.
There was a bit of a delay in going in as despite being a Ceroc member for about 2000 years I was asked to fill in my name and address, and date of birth, and sex and… They said it was for insurance reasons. If so, what is the point of having a membership card?
But I am being picky. It was a great place and a great Sunday afternoon.
- Air conditioning: 4 out of 5 – it got warm, but not particularly and the room was full.
- Atmosphere: 4 out of 5. It was bright outside and dim inside, and it took my eyes a few minutes to adjust. But after that, great.
- Do ladies ask men: 5 out of 5. I’ve never been before, and actually knew about four people in the club, but I was asked to dance all the way through. Maybe it was because I am a mega-dancer, or maybe they are just nice people. I think the latter.
- Facilities: 5 out of 5 – I can’t imagine how you might do better, although if it got many more people in, it would be crowded.
- Free water: Yes – help yourself from the bar just outside.
- Friendliness: 5 out of 5. No cliques, no tight nit friends groups.
- Location: 4 out of 5. Maybe I did just miss the sign, but if you are new to the town, give yourself a bit of extra time. Roadworks, complex junctions, cars queuing to get into a pub car park… It is right in the town which is great if you live nearby, not quite so good if you are an outsider.
- Music: 5 out of 5. Varied and interesting.
- Parking: 3 out of 5 – as in my notes above, I was fine getting in, but struggled to get out, and if I had arrived late, I suspect I would have driven for hours trying to find a place to park.
- Space: 5 out of 5 – although a 10% increase in the numbers might have might it a bit too crowded. But the reception and food area was the best I’ve seen.
- Venue overall: 5 out of 5. Nothing is perfect but this is one of the best so anything less than five out of five would be churlish.