NEWS: #saveourvenues – interview with one affected venue operator

NEWS: #saveourvenues – interview with one affected venue operator

During the last 8 months, Music Venue Trust and Crowdfunder have worked together to prevent the closure of hundreds of grassroots music venues. With no end to the crisis in sight, we are now refocusing that work to spotlight those venues under most imminent threat of permanent closure. The #SaveOurVenues Red List highlights the grassroots music venues at most risk.

Right now

We’ve checked all the available funding, financial support, furlough schemes, business support for these venues, and what is on offer is not enough to prevent them being lost. These 30 venues are on the Critical List and need your help.

These grassroots venues play a crucial role in the development of British music, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. These venues also play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any village, town or city.

If you can help save these venues, you can click a venue below and donate to directly support it, or donate to the MVT #saveourvenues national fund and we’ll distribute the money raised to the venues that need it most. You can also buy merch items from each venue with the full amount of your purchase being paid to the venue, or from our page and we will distribute it where it’s needed the most.

Interview with Brett James, Venue Operator of The Venue, Derby:

Were you an avid gig goer before you were involved in music venues?

Yeah, I went to as many shows as I could until I started with-in the industry full-time, I started DJing which took up most of my weekends which put halt to seeing bands, but I could always play the songs and see what the crowd reaction was like! I found myself visiting plenty of venues in Nottingham, Derby and Birmingham back in the day watching various artists.

What’s some of the most favourite gigs you’ve been to?

Some of the shows I have put on in Derby are my favourite, knowing all the hard work that has gone into the event behind the scene and it’s fruition on show day. It always adds something special when it’s an artist coming to Derby that can fill larger venues up and down the country.

How has it been for you since COVID and all the lock downs started?

Difficult, for years I have been used to being busy day in day out and always having a plan to my day or week, so for all that to drastically stop was tough. It sounds great having wages paid for not working from the government, but after 4-6 weeks I started to get itchy feet and bored very quickly.

How has The Venue, Derby struggled since the pandemic started?

The Venue has struggled simply because we have had no landlord support or been able to apply for grants due to the nature of our company structure. That and the fact we have been closed since March 2020 unable to survive off our usual outlets has put us in a real threat of closure.

Can you see The Venue and other venues closing if they don’t get the funding they need?

Yes. It’s rather expensive to sit and remain closed without any government funding, we still have to pay Rent, Utilities, Insurances every month and we have no help with that from anywhere. I know we are not the only venue in this situation and if you look at the amount needed from the whole #savethe30 campaign, thirty venues can easily be saved by not a large amount of money.

What needs to happen for venues to stay open?

For The Venue, we simply need help with the shortfall between all our bills and the money we receive from our local authority to remain closed.

What do you think will happen to live gigs if venues don’t stay open?

I think there will be a few gaps on touring posters where venues have closed and if that’s a space in a city/town whereby there isn’t much going on, it will leave a huge gap in that city/towns nighttime economy. Gigs will always happen and people will find new ways of putting them on.

Do you have a message for the reader of Gigslutz?

If you can help out, please do. These are hard times for all and usually we are the people that put on events that create positive memories, without us in these buildings doing what we love there may be a few less spaces for those memories to happen.