Liverpool’s iconic Zanzibar Club has announced that it is to permanently close due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A company statement said the venue, which has been giving live opportunities to innumerable local acts for almost 30 years, is closing its doors because COVID-19 has made it financially impossible to reopen.
The venue’s importance was brought to the fore in 2018 with the sad passing of founder Tony Butler. A number of stars paid tribute to Butler and to the man who had made the club a vital springboard for many careers.
Scott Burgess, Zanzibar’s Club director, said in a statement: “Covid-19 has been a massive kick in the teeth for everyone. There has been a tragic amount of lost lives. Peoples hopes, dreams and livelihoods completely destroyed.
“The entertainment and music industry has had the roughest ride of all. With business restrictions and lack of proper guidance, music venues will be among the last ones to reopen.”
Covid-19 has been a massive kick in the teeth for everyone. There have been a tragic amount of lost lives. Peoples…
He continued: “The Zanzibar Club has been a true survivor over the past 30 years, but with the current climate of uncertainty and the probability of remaining closed for a year, we have had to make the heart-breaking decision to permanently close our venue.
With very limited time left on our lease and too many years of wear and tear on our building structure puts us in a financially unattainable position to reopen.
“From all the Zanzibar crew past and present we would like to say a huge thank you to all the performers that have graced the stage at Zanzibar and brought music and joy into many peoples lives. Thank you to all gig goers, friends that have turned into family – you all have made Zanzibar feel like a second home for us. We appreciate everyone for their loyal support over the years and wish you all the best for the future.”
The news comes at a critical time for the music industry after venues in Hull and Manchester announced their closure earlier this week (July 16).
In Hull, The Welly and The Polar Bear music venues announced their closure, along with ticketing outlet, Hull Box Office. Soon after, Manchester’s Gorilla and the Deaf Institute also announced their permanent closure.
A company statement said the venue, which has been in operation for almost 200 years, is bringing forward some long-standing renovation plans as the uncertainty over venue re-openings due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis continues.
Meanwhile, figures from the music industry are adding more volume to the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign to demand that the government share arts funding to protect the future live crew, musicians and the individuals working behind the scenes.
Last month, more than 1,500 artists and industry figures came together to call on the government to stop “catastrophic damage” to live music amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the launch of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.
After months of campaigning from fans and the world of music, the UK government revealed plans for an unprecedented cash injection of £1.57 billion to help the arts, culture and heritage industries survive the impact of closures brought on by coronavirus – providing music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans.