OPEN Mic music nights at The Pilot public house in Melksham could be under threat because people are failing to turn up to watch talented youngsters at the start of their careers.

Organiser Mel Austin, of Melodious Music, says the Wednesday night gigs at the Bowerhill pub are in danger of being dropped – despite them having provided a launch pad to success for many local singers, songwriters and bands.

Many local youngsters have recorded their first songs/albums with Melodious Music and have gigged at The Pilot at the regular Open Mic Music Nights, and at other local venues.

Some of them, such as Courtney Buchanan and Izzy Felstead, have gone to greater success in national competitions, with both reaching the national finals of TeenStar, and playing at London’s O2 and Birmingham’s NEC.

But the pub – which was recently taken over by the Wickwar Brewery - has expressed concerns about the drop off in audience attendance figures over the past few months. The Open Mic nights depend on customers buying food and drink.

Mr Austin said: “There has been a noticeable drop off in attendance over the last few months of Pilot Music Nights, probably due to a number of factors - little spare money, work and other Open Mics springing up.

“Understandably, the brewery cannot sustain losses and we have been warned that these nights will not be able to continue if there are no customers to consume food and drink.

“If you do want the Music Nights to go on, please turn up in numbers and bring your friends and family along to support the young acts, many of whom start their music performance here and go on to have success both locally and nationally.”

The pub has been managed by Nick and Debi Mann for the past four years. Debi said: “When we came here four years ago, the place used to be packed on a Wednesday.

“There used to be the headline acts and then six or seven Open Mic acts. Now we are lucky if we get two or three Open Mic acts turning up.

“It would be nice if we could attract more. It used to be so popular and now it’s not quite so popular. It’s a shame because some of the youngsters are very talented.”

The next Pilot Music Night takes place on Wednesday, October 18 with Open Mic slots from 8pm and the headline act, Courtney Buchanan, 19, taking to the stage from around 9.30pm.

Courtney has been a regular performer at The Pilot since she was 12 and made the national final of TeenStar in 2013, performing at the O2 Arena in London.

She has released a debut album of covers and originals and during the summer performed at many local fetes and festivals, including two appearances at Party In The Park.

Mr Austin, a former deputy head of the George Ward School, supports young local talent with songwriting, performing and recording, via his music studio in Beanacre.

He said: “Anybody may turn up and book an Open Mic slot during the evening - it is all free of charge. All PA equipment, including DI boxes and a keyboard amp, is provided and mixed by Melodious Music/ mobsta promotions.”

The Pilot Music Night is held on the third Wednesday of every month from 8pm to 10.30pm. Entry is free and meals are served until 8.30pm.