FOR almost two decades, Mr Kyps at Ashley Cross in Poole was a mecca for music fans.

Up and coming acts and stars, top tribute bands and national names, such as Pete Doherty, Adam Ant, The Buzzcocks and Gilbert O’Sullivan, graced its stage over a period of 17 years.

Understandably there was much sadness last summer when the popular music venue finally closed its doors.

Club founder Mark ‘Kyp’ Kyprianou, explained at the time that the building had run into structural and maintenance problems and as a result the landlords had decided to sell the building for redevelopment.

“We needed to invest £200,000 just to keep the building safe - otherwise I was worried the floor might fall in,” says Kyp.

“For the last seven years I was living in my office on site. Not exactly rock and roll. To give you an idea of how bad things got, my mum made me one of those wheat pillows you can heat up as I had a bad neck.

“One morning I woke up to find a big hole in it where a rat had been chewing it in the night! I knew then it was time to move on. Mr Kyps the brand was going strong, but the building definitely wasn’t!”

Now Kyp is back to doing what he does best - organising quality live gigs but at other venues around and beyond Dorset including the Allendale Centre in Wimborne and The Hamworthy Club at Canford Magna.

And the 57-year-old music promoter, still hasn’t lost any of his passion or enthusiasm for the business - even though he is the first to admit that he doesn’t know a great deal about it.

“The only music I knew anything about before I got into this was Gilbert & Sullivan,” he laughs.

For Kyp was a semi-professional snooker player in his day, and the venue was originally run as a snooker hall.

“About 18 years ago I was asked to host a karaoke night. I can’t stand karaoke myself, but I couldn’t believe how many people turned up,” he laughs.

Not one to miss out on a business opportunity, Kyp changed tack and moved from selling pool tables into music promotion.

One of his big breakthroughs came when he was approached to host the first ever UK date for an up and coming American blues guitarist, Joe Bonamassa, providing he could finance the trip and pay the international flights.

After one listen to Joe’s music, Kyp was convinced there was something special about him and took the plunge.

“As with many shows put on to support new artists, it was difficult to get people through the door to try something new.

“Only 100 people showed up and this was after we made the show free and refunded the handful of people who were willing to pay the £10 ticket price.”

Joe returned to Kyps several times before international stardom beckoned. On his last visit, Kyp says he could have sold the venue out a thousand times over.

After “an incredible gig and a few beers and jagerbombs” Joe made a promise to Kyp. “I will be back” he said, “I’ll bring my band and I want to play here again.”

A decade later Bonamassa had achieved legendary status and could sell out venues like the Royal Albert Hall. But when it came to his tenth anniversary gig, he chose to play at Mr Kyps.

“Joe is a man of his word,” says Kyp. “He could have played anywhere in the world for his 10th anniversary gig.”

Kyp is also a big fan of Peter Doherty who fronted The Libertines and played at Mr Kyps in 2013.

“I know he’s had a bad rap in the past, but he is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met in my life. He spent three hours after the gig jamming with my daughter and her boyfriend.”

Although Kyp claims not to know much about music, he clearly has a good ear for what will be popular with his punters.

He is particularly enthusiastic about a band he has booked to play at the Hamworthy Club on November 11 called the Red Hot Chilli Pipers who are described as the original bagpipe rockers.

Kyp adds: “They put on a brilliant show performing in their kilts. Our aim is to keep the Mr Kyps brand alive by continuing to showcase the best in live music.” Watch this space!