These 20 UK music venues are still at risk of being lost forever – and here’s what you can do to help

The Music Venue Trust are "completely determined" to save them all and bring back live music safely

The Music Venue Trust have updated their list of venues in danger of being closed forever – with some saved but six more now at risk.

The MVT’s #SaveOurVenues campaign, designed to help the grassroots gig spaces at risk of closure due to coronavirus restrictions, revealed a list of 30 venues on ‘red alert‘ and in a critical situation back in November. These were venues that did not benefit from the £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them stay afloat until they can safely reopen.

Since then, 15 of those 30 venues have been removed from the ‘critical’ list, and now Pop in Hyde has been declared totally safe. However, six more have now been added – including The Black Heart and The Fiddlers Elbow in Camden, Stage and Radio in Manchester, Legends Live Lounge in Oldham, The Cobblestones in Bridgwater and Y Llew Coch in Macynlleth.

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Music fans are being encouraged to donate, buy merch, write to their local MP for support, or simply spread the word for venues in danger on social media with the hashtag #SaveThe20.

Music Venue Trust launches Save Our Venues Red Alert campaign

“The crisis is nearing its final lap, but we need to make sure these venues finish the race,” said Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd. “With the support of artists and audiences, we have fought our way through the last 11 months venue by venue, case by case, trying to make sure that we are able to reopen every venue safely.

“These six newly highlighted venues need urgent help, and we still have 14 venues that were on our original Red list that we can’t yet guarantee will survive to bring live music back to our communities. We are completely determined that they will.”

The full list of at risk venues and a map of their location can be seen below. Visit Music Venue Trust’s Crowdfunder to donate to the campaign or each individual venue here.

Alchemy, Croydon
Beehive Jazz, Kingston upon Hull
Boom, Leeds
Dryad Works, Sheffield
Egg, Kings Cross
Spiritual Bar, London
The 1865, Southampton
The Hot Tin, Faversham
The Lexington, Islington
The Post Bar, Tottenham
The Venue, Derby
The Waiting Room, Stoke Newington
The Windmill, Brixton
Venue 38, Ayr

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There is some light at the end of the tunnel, with gigs, clubbing and perhaps even festivals tipped to return from June 21 as laid out in the government’s post-coronavirus roadmap to recovery.

Davyd said the roadmap gave the organisation the green light to begin “imagin[ing] how we Revive Live in grassroots music venues and develop that work into the full return of our domestic music scene”.

But he repeated that financial support for the sector would be vital to “mitigate the damage being done to businesses and people’s lives, careers and families right across the live music industry”.

“In light of [these] announcements, the budget next week must clearly lay out exactly how the government is going to provide that sector [with] specific support,” Davyd said. “We warmly welcome the government’s acknowledgement of the value of nightlife, committing to not reinstating a curfew and including nightclubs within the reopening timetable.”

It has previously been said that smaller, grassroots gigs safely could return much sooner than larger events – with temporary vaccine passports being investigated, new ventilation systems being trialled, rapid testing for gigs being discussed and a number of other trial events set for the coming months.

“Once we’ve established that we can run events that have a higher level of risk management, then you can go back to government with science to say that you can go back to full capacity,” Davyd previously told NME. “People are catastrophising, saying that nothing will go back to normal until next year. I don’t see that as being the outcome. I think it’s going to require some ingenuity and inventiveness, but it is possible to continue to imagine how we get back.”

“If the infection rate is reduced quite substantially, or the mortality rate through the vaccine, then there isn’t a logical, scientific or mathematical reason why you wouldn’t be able to do small capacity gigs in music venues this year. The same doesn’t go for all capacity gigs, as it’s all about risk management. Bringing 500 people together is less of a risk than bringing 5000 people together.”

UK grassroots venues
Venues in the UK have been affected by coronavirus (Picture: Gary Calton / Alamy Stock Photo)

Last year the #SaveOurVenues campaign raised over £3.8million – putting their success down to “people power” and often the will of NME readers.

“When we look at where donations are coming from and when they spike, it is very closely linked to the coverage we receive from the NME,” said Davyd. “What that means is that NME readers are taking action and making a huge difference to keep these venues alive. We want to make it incredibly clear to the NME and its readers that the Music Venue Trust are merely standing in front of the work done by the public, by artists and by good samaritans.”

He continued: “This is the result of people power. When Music Venue Trust and NME were first talking about this crisis in March, we were looking at the very real closure of 500 venues. In a very short space of time, now not even one of the 30 left on our critical list looks like it will actually be closing imminently as we feared. It’s quite an astonishing achievement and it belongs as much to the writers and readers of the NME as anyone.”

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