SWINDON'S live music scene has been dealt a big blow as one of the town’s most popular venues has announced its intention to close later this month.

Both The Rolleston Arms and its accompanying basement bar Level III, in Commercial Road, will close their doors after the last show on January 20, when singer/songwriter Frank Turner plays to a sell-out crowd.

In a statement, a spokesman for the venue said: “We would like to thank everyone who supported us throughout 2017.

“It was a great year, and after a few years of relative quiet, 2017 was a year in which we finally started to feel like a real music venue again.

“We're immensely upset and disappointed that after over a year of impressive progress the team behind the venue have not been able to do enough to keep the doors open.”

The management team apologised and said they felt as if they had let people down.

Explaining their decision to close the doors, they cited the crippling cost of running the venue and described the announcement as “upsetting news”.

Needless to say, Facebook users were eager to offer conciliatory words.

Nafe Pilcher said: “Very sad news. I had so many amazing and fun nights in both venues with such awesome people and saw some incredible bands.”

Steve Neptune described the pub as “by far and away the best thing Swindon has ever had to offer,” and Darren Edney said it was “one of the best venues I’ve ever played”.

Over the years, a number of notable acts have entertained the crowds at The Rolleston and Level III, such as Devilment, The Levellers, Goldie Lookin’ Chain, The Toasters and many others.

The management team added: “Those who have kept their eyes on the live music of this town will know that the road back to a vibrant music scene is not an easy one, despite many people's best efforts.

“Often it feels like we take one step forward and two steps back. Today definitely feels like one of those times.

“We'd like to thank everyone who has come to a show or a club night, bought a ticket and a drink, brought a friend or supported us in any other way.

“Your support has made this tenure worthwhile and we'd like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The final show, in which folk/punk superstar Frank Turner will take to the stage, is expected to be one to remember.

It will take place on Saturday, January 20 and it’s already a sell-out.

Another Facebook user, Terry Goodall, said: “Very sad news. Another great music venue gone.”