A nationwide plea to protect grassroots music venues around the UK is continuing to make waves as it exceeds the £1M mark in donations. The campaign hopes to save 556 establishments around the UK allegedly at risk of permanent closure because of Covid-19.
The campaign aims to raise at least £1,500,000 in donations as the government’s furlough scheme supposedly seems unsubstantial enough to protect these venues, particularly considering the hospitality and arts sectors may be the last to reopen. They have turned to fans, artists and local communities to facilitate the movement.
A handful of Brighton and Hove’s popular venues are part of this national initiative, including The Green Door Store, The Prince Albert, The Hope and Ruin, Komedia, The Pipeline, Latest Music Bar, The Brunswick and The Old Market.
Discussing the consequences of Covid-19 on their venue, creative director and booker at The Hope and Ruin, Sally Oakenfold, said:
Since lockdown, we have been closed so we have had no income. We still have to function as we have many events to cancel and reschedule. We still have expenditure on things like insurance and payroll which is tough with zero cash coming in.
Speaking on their decision to join the campaign, Oakenfold continues:
All our bar staff and managers are furloughed which is a huge help. However, many of the people we work with are freelance so furlough does not apply to them. When we do reopen things will be very different so we will need some help to get back on our feet. Plus, it’s a great campaign to be a part of. We have been involved with MVT (Music Venue Trust) and MVA (Music Venues Alliance) from the beginning, they are hugely valuable service for GMVs (Grassroots Music Venues) like us.
Sadly, Brighton is no stranger to the closure of small, independent music venues. 2018 saw Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar close its doors for the last time as they succumbed to various pressures all too familiar with other live music venues, including an increase in rent prices, noise complaints and gentrification plans for the surrounding areas. The current climate of Covid-19 could mean many of Brighton’s most cherished venues could walk in Sticky Mike’s footsteps to institutional doom, simultaneously creating a detrimental crater into the arts industry that would affect artists, business owners and fans alike. The UK’s music industry contributed a colossal £5.2 billion to the economy in 2018, hinting at catastrophic consequences for the already vulnerable marketplace.
A series of live streams in support of these local venues can be found here, with events happening every day. You can support your favourite venues by donating to their crowdfunder page via the links above.
Featured image: © Flickr