Following the news yesterday, July 16, that four UK music venues are to close, grassroots venue campaign group the Music Venues Trust (MVT) has appealed to operators to make contact so they can explore alternatives before their buildings are shut.
MVT’s call comes after the announced closure of VMS-run Hull venues the 600-capacity Welly and the Polar Bear (cap. 200), along with Mission Mars-operated Manchester venues Gorilla (600) and Deaf Institute (260).
In a statement MVT said it was “devastated” to learn of the potential loss of the venues.
It said, “Regrettably, in all four cases, the current operators did not contact Music Venue Trust seeking help to prevent the closures. We would emphasise again that any grassroots music venue operator considering closure should please contact Music Venue Trust first so that we can explore all options to prevent closure and support the location of alternative operators where that is an option.
“We have been warning for months that the situation faced by grassroots music venues was unsustainable and would result in the closure of spaces people love and artists need unless there was concerted, strategic action. That action now needs to be accelerated to prevent hundreds of other venues from being lost right across the country.
“We understand that the future of all these spaces as grassroots music venues may be salvageable, and we strongly urge Hull City Council and Manchester City Council to bring together all stakeholders in the city to see what can be done to secure the premises, locate alternative operators and prevent these vital spaces being permanently lost.”
Separately, operators of London’s Southbank Centre, which includes the 2,100-capacity Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall (750) and Purcell Rooms (250) have warned that 400 jobs are at risk; around two-thirds of its staff.