Manchester’s Gorilla and Deaf Institute will “definitely re-open”, according to leading adviser

Early discussions with a number of prospective buyers are already underway

Manchester’s Gorilla and The Deaf Institute will “definitely” re-open after positive interest potential buyers for the two venues, a leading adviser has said.

It was announced yesterday that the grassroots venues will permanently shut their doors after suffering a huge financial hit due to the coronavirus crisis.

But less than 24 hours later, Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord has told NME that both venues are on the verge of being saved after early talks.

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“There is hope on the horizon. When the Manchester Evening News broke the news yesterday, Andy Burnham [Greater Manchester Mayor] rang me and said what can we do to save these venues?” Lord told NME.

Manchester’s Gorilla  (Picture: Alamy)

“Then it escalated and literally starting from last night to today, six to seven good operators are on the table – which is great news. I said yesterday evening that I thought they could possibly re-open, now I’m of the opinion that they will definitely re-open.”

Lord was reluctant to name any of the potential buyers he has spoken to but added that “quite a few” of them were based in the Manchester area and that they will continue to function as music venues.

“I wrote to Mission Mars who own the venues and said ‘send your sales details over and let’s get cracking on this’. From what seemed like sad news yesterday could turn into a pretty decent end of the week,” he added.

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Lord, who is the co-creator of Parklife, also hailed their role in continuing Manchester’s musical reputation across the globe.

“There’s a lot of love for those venues, but there’s a lot of love for most venues in Greater Manchester,” he said.

“I think we are going to sadly see some venues fall away, but we’ll see quickly other operators take them on. When you go on holiday and people ask where you’re from, if you say Manchester they’ll know we’re associated with football and music.

“They do call us the 24-hour party city and that’s right. When we’re allowed to, we’re a bouncing city and it’s great to see that so many people came to the table straight away. Because they are amazing venues and many of the big names have been through there.”

He added: “When people stand at Parklife and the MEN Arena watching these massive headliners, they don’t realise they have to go through these places to get there. The majority of them have to go through grassroots venues. If we lose them, a bloodline to the music industry, that is a significant loss.

“Watching a gig in a big venue is fine, but watching a gig in a venue where there’s 500 people and you can smell the stage almost – they’re the ones you’ll remember.”

Lord’s comments come after Elbow‘s Guy Garvey – himself a stalwart of the Manchester music scene – said that further government protection for venues was needed after the closure was announced.

“It is nothing short of a disaster. We’ve got to protect all of our small venues,” he said.

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