The Music Venue Trust have issued a statement after it was revealed that four UK venues have been forced to close their doors due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Last night it was announce that The Deaf Institute and Gorilla in Manchester would not be opening again after lockdown – and that was followed by news that Hull venues The Welly and The Polar Bear were also closing down after their operating company VMS Live (Venues) Ltd went into administration.
The statement reads: “Music Venue Trust is devastated to learn of the potential loss of four iconic music venues today in Hull and Manchester
“The operating company which manages both The Welly and The Polar Bear in Hull have been forced to announce their permanent closure. Both venues are vital components of Hull's thriving independent scene, and sit at the very heart of Hull's reputation as a music city and destination.
“On the same day, Mission Mars in Manchester has announced that it is not able to continue operating either The Deaf Institute or Gorilla and that both venues will need alternative operators to continue.
“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.”
The statement continues: “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.”
In April, the Music Venue Trust launched the #saveourvenues campaign when it was reported that 556 music venues around the UK were facing permanent closure due to the pandemic.
And last month, after the Birmingham Hippodrome laid off half of its staff, 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.
Earlier this month, the government announced a £1.57 billion support package for the entertainment sector which includes music venues, theatres, galleries, independent cinemas and museums.