New Order, Tim Burgess and others mourn closure of Manchester’s Deaf Institute and Gorilla venues

"They were the lifeblood of Manchester’s vital network of venues"

A host of acts including New Order, Tim Burgess, The Orielles, Spector and The Twilight Sad have deplored the closure of two of Manchester’s beloved music venues.

News broke earlier today (July 16) that Gorilla on Whitworth Street and the Deaf Institute on Grosvenor Street have been unable to weather the storm caused by the coronavirus crisis. This is despite the government’s recent £1.57billion bailout for venues and arts spaces.

Taking to Twitter, local legends New Order wrote that it is “Very sad news for Manchester and music”, while The Charlatans‘ frontman Tim Burgess labelled the spaces as the “lifeblood” of the city’s venue network.

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“Sad to hear that Manchester’s @DeafInstitute & @thisisgorilla won’t be opening again,” wrote Burgess. “I’ve played and watched gigs in both and they were the lifeblood of Manchester’s vital network of venues. It’s awful news but seems inevitable that so many more independent venues will be lost.”

Elsewhere, The Orielles said they’ve “played some of our favourite shows” at the venues, while The Twilight Sad said they were “absolutely gutted” about the news.

And Mary Anne Hobbs, who presents for BBC Radio 6 Music, noted the “terrible news”, adding that the team at Gorilla were “wonderful” to work with.

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Spector also addressed the issue of hindering the careers of newer, up-and-coming acts.

“Venues the size of Deaf Institute and Gorilla are essential to artists’ careers in the UK. The phrase ‘lifeblood’ is overused but that’s exactly what these places are to music. Without them an essential part of the medium is lost, reserved only for big sellers at big prices,” they wrote.

“We’ve played both venues many times: On our way up, on our way down and on our way up again. But it’s not acts like us I worry about. It’s the next generation who won’t have places to perform, places to rehearse, places to meet or places to get inspired. It’s fucking harrowing.”

Earlier today, Roy Ellis, Mission Mars CEO and founder, told Manchester Evening News: “The Deaf Institute and Gorilla have been at the forefront of the music scene in Manchester for many years and it is with great sadness that we announce that we will not be reopening.

“This difficult decision has been made against the backdrop of COVID 19 and the enforced closure of all of our sites and with continued restrictions upon opening of live music venues.”

Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has vowed to fight for the venues to remain open. “Anyone who knows me knows that I love these two places. Please be assured that I will be working with @Sacha_Lord on this and we will both be doing everything we possibly can to save them as live music venues going forward,” he wrote on Twitter today.

Two venues in Hull also announced today that they are shutting their doors for good.

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