Why are all our music venues closing, and what can we do to stop it?
More and more iconic music venues are closing across the UK and world - how do we stop it from happening?
Sticky floor by sticky floor, independent venues are disappearing. A report released in 2015 by the Mayor’s Music Venues Taskforce (which wasset up to help London’s live music spots) found that 35% had closed since 2007. The figures for the rest of the UK are unclear, as there is no set definition of what constitutes a music venue, and what’s just a plain old pub. But it’s clear that music haunts all over the country are closing – in the last five years, we’ve lost Manchester’s Roadhouse, Leeds’ Cockpit and The Arches in Glasgow, to name but a few. If keeping venues open continues to be a monumental battle, upcoming bands won’t have the platform they need to progress to academies and festival slots, let alone arenas. There’ll be no fresh sounds on the scene, and nowhere to go beyond a hired practice room. Break the link in the chain that is small venues, and the rest of the scene will crumble.
“These places are where bands cut their teeth,” says Rolo Tomassi’s James Spence. "They let DIY promoters in to do their stuff, which is crucial for bands starting out. Small gigs help spread the word. They’re where you hone your craft as a band.” There are a bunch of reasons small venues are being wiped out. Urban areas are a capitalist whack-a-mole, where venues are bulldozed to make way for flats and offices, while complicated licensing restrictions and noise complaints can lead to bureaucratic battles with local authorities. Luckily, there are people who are determined to address the issues and secure the future of live music.