Business is booming for music venue boss

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When John MacLean was spinning the decks at Sportsters bar in Stirling, he never dreamed he’d one day be running the place.

But tomorrow, the Hallglen businessman will be building on the success of his Falkirk pub 20 Rocks and opening the second in the chain, taking over the King Street bar and cafe.

John (34) said: “To be honest with you, it’s all been a total blur. I had been looking for the ideal venue to take 20 Rocks to Stirling for over a year because I just knew it would work well in the city. When CLG, the owners of Sportsers, approached and asked me if I would be interested in taking over the lease, I jumped at the chance.

“That was only a month ago, so we’ve had to move fast. But everything is looking good for opening on Friday.”

John’s involvement with the entertainment began when started as a DJ and he was resident in Rosie’s nightclub in Falkirk as well as Sportsters in Stirling before opening his first pub.

“Weirdly, I also did the karaoke in Fat Chewsdays about 10 years ago, that was where 20 Rocks is now. I seem to like taking over my old residency spots!”

John opened 20 Rocks in Princes Street, Falkirk, two years ago and promised to bring live music seven days a week.

It’s a formula that is clearly working, with the Stirling branch just the next step in John’s ambitious plans.

He said: “We are spending a lot of money completely re-branding Sportsters as a rock venue. We have guitars from legends like Ozzy Osbourne, ACDC and Motley Crue and we are transforming the area at the back of the pub into the Abbey Road diner, a Beatles- themed eating place.

“It’s a much bigger space than the Falkirk 20 Rocks so there is a lot we can do with the place.

“And this is just the start, we are on course to open a further two 20 Rocks venues by 2014. The ethos of the pub is centred around live music - whether that be bringing big bands to smaller town venues or championing local bands - and it’s a formula that works. I think we are doing something that nowhere else in the country is doing and, although I’m terrified about opening such a big venue and having so little time to do it, I’m confident it’s going to be a success, and a success we can build on.”

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