The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has called for more to be done to protect the future of the UK’s live music scene. Venues across the country are struggling to keep their doors open due to rising costs, unattainable bills and/or new building developments.
Sheffield’s, The Harley, (pictured,) a well-known venue for nurturing the pre-fame Arctic Monkeys, is yet another name on the ever-growing list of closing music venues. The 200-capacity building also hosted gigs from The xx and Royal Blood, but owners said “mounting financial pressures” had forced their hands.
A popular London-based music venue, The Social, narrowly escaped closure after it was given two weeks to raise £95,000. An outpouring of support and donations prevented the 250,000-capacity venue from shutting its doors for good.
UK Music, a campaigning and lobbying group, reported that 35% of venues have closed in the last ten years. Chief executive, Michael Dugher, warned about the need to cherish the music industry’s pipeline.
The campaigning group has also urged Chancellor Phillip Hammond to rethink “nonsensical” discrimination against venues over business rates.
The government has since given its support to plans that aim to protect music venues. Home secretary, Sajid Javid, has backed a law that would ensure developers are accountable to the impact any new project could have on pre-existing businesses.
“I always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby.” Mr Javid commented.
Bristol-based venue, Thekla, faced uncertainty in 2017 when a nearby residential and leisure development was given the go-ahead. Noise-control regulations may have forced the floating venue to break out its anchor.
UK rock band, The Stranglers, have called the ongoing closures a “catastrophe” as quoted in The Guardian. They spoke up when the future of a Guildford pub, in which they played their first live gig, became uncertain.