Larne music shop closes after three decades

Mark Dobbin of East Antrim Ticketmaster, Larne, match ball sponsors of the Larne Tech Old Boys V Immaculata game, pictured with the club secretary Tom Wilson. INLT 34-379-PR

Mark Dobbin of East Antrim Ticketmaster, Larne, match ball sponsors of the Larne Tech Old Boys V Immaculata game, pictured with the club secretary Tom Wilson. INLT 34-379-PR

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A long-established Larne music store – which has been a hotspot for local musos for almost 30 years – has played its final encore.

Sounds Good Music shop has pulled its shutters down for the final time, marking the end of an era for the town and its music scene.

When it first opened its doors at Dunluce Street back in 1988, the record shop quickly became a Mecca for Northern Ireland’s top DJs.

Droves of music fans would also flock to the store to get their hands on the biggest concert tickets, often camping outside overnight in a bid to avoid disappointment.

Owner Mark Dobbin, who ran the business with his brother Gleave, recounted fond memories of people coming armed with pot bellied stoves and guitars as they hunkered down for the night.

“Spending the night on the street may have been cold and uncomfortable, but there was always good humour and many enjoyed the experience,” he added.

But the dawn of the digital age has ensured that high street record shops and ticket vendors are no longer at the forefront of the industry, with many punters instead opting for the convenience of booking online through mobile devices or downloading the latest singles.

In light of this trend, Sounds Good Music took the decision a number of years ago to move away from selling records and focus on its role as a Ticketmaster outlet.

Mark told the Times: “The internet has all but killed music stores. There was a definite downturn in the number of people buying tickets from us in the store in recent years.”

But Mark maintains his decision to close up shop was not dictated by the decline of the high street music scene.

“It was just the right move for me to make,” he insisted.

“I woke up one morning and decided now was a good time to move on.”

The well-known 51-year-old DJ will now focus his attention on the entertainment side of his business, catering to club nights, wedding parties, and kids birthday parties at venues across the province.

“While I enjoyed running the shop, Sounds Good Music Entertainments has always been my main passion and it is still going strong after all these years,” Mark added.

In the three decades since the shop first threw open its doors, Mark said he has witnessed the “ongoing decline” of Dunluce Street.

“When Robbie Nelson and I opened the shop 28 years ago, Dunluce Street was a thriving hub of activity in the town,” Mark said.

“But the area has suffered from a lack of investment over the years and there are only a few shops left open. It is sad to see how far it has fallen.”

For the past several years, Mark has been actively involved in supporting other town centre traders and currently serves as vice-chairman of Larne Traders Forum.

“I plan to continue my role on the Traders Forum,” he added. “I want to pay tribute to local traders, as we always looked out for one another and strove to keep the town centre alive.

“On behalf of the Dobbin family, I also want to thank the people of Larne for their kindness and support, which allowed me to keep the shop open for so many years.”

Sounds Good Music Entertainments can be contacted by emailing mark@soundsgoodmusic.net or calling 0777 080 5345.