Manchester music venues saved from closure as buyer is found

The Deaf Institute in Manchester
The Deaf Institute in Manchester (Image credit: Jonathan Nicholson/NurPhoto - Getty)

Manchester music venues The Deaf Institute and Gorilla have been saved from closure after a new buyer was found

It was reported last week that both venues were to close for good amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic (opens in new tab). But now Tokyo Industries have stepped in to purchase both of them from Mission Mars and have announced their intentions to keep them running.

Tokyo Industries founder Aaron Mellor told The Guardian (opens in new tab): “These are extremely difficult times for all grassroots music venues around the UK. It’s vital venues like Gorilla and The Deaf Institute are kept alive, the cultural fabric of our city centres depends venues like these.

“Over the weekend, we’ve put together some great ideas with SSD Concerts and Tim Burgess to help save both venues and their existing operating style in a post-COVID-19 world. 

"We’re not so keen on this ‘new’ normal and want to keep the ‘old’ normal alive for when we all get through this.”

Reacting to the news on Twitter, Charlatans frontman Burgess said: “So, looks like the story is out. The Deaf Institute and Gorilla have been saved and will be kept as live music venues as we know and love them.

“I’ve been talking with the new owners over the weekend and we’ll be doing all we can to help with the next chapter.”

He added: “The live music and recording worlds will be different places when we emerge from the difficulties of the past six months. It’ll be all about working together, sharing our advantages and privilege and doing all that we can to give new artists the best possible future.”

Last week, it also emerged that Hull venues The Welly and The Polar Bear were to close down after their operating company VMS Live (Venues) Ltd went into administration.

In April, it was reported that as many as 556 music venues around the UK were facing permanent closure (opens in new tab), with the Music Venue Trust (opens in new tab) launching the #saveourvenues campaign.

And just last month, after the Birmingham Hippodrome laid off half of its staff (opens in new tab), Musicians’ Union general secretary Horace Trubridge and UK Theatre chief executive Julian Bird told a cultural select committee that 70% of UK music venues were at risk of closure unless action was taken (opens in new tab).

The government recently announced a £1.57 billion support package for the entertainment sector (opens in new tab) which includes music venues, theatres, galleries, independent cinemas and museums.

Music venues across England will be allowed to reopen from August 1 with strict social distancing measures in place.

News about the possible reopening of music venues and theatres in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be announced in the future by the devolved administrations, while open air venues in Scotland can reopen from today.

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.