Grassroots Venue Survival/Night-Time Economy

Word Round Town Is That grassroots venues are being forced to close, and they are closing…Rapidly! Around 37% have disappeared since 2007. Some of venues music legends once performed at are no more and fortunately some have been rescued by their grateful alumni e.g. Paul McCartney in 2010 saved the 100 Club with a special performance, since Blur have also played there.

The manager, Jeff Horton, blames this trouble on rent pricing, “…when I started working here, we were paying something like 16,000. We’re now paying around just under £200,000.”

There are other reasons too why venues are closing. Property development is one. As residential areas are being built around venue locations the new community of people make complaints about the noise.

Who can save our venues? Who can save the future of upcoming stars who need these venues to build up their career, fanbase and network? WordRoundTownIsThat Boris Johnson is the man. Yep, I said it, Boris Johnson.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, is setting up ways in which grassroots venues can remain open. For the past 6-7 years he’s been bigging up the quality of UK venues that help to liven’ the UK’s music culture by bringing up acts like Adele, Ed Sheeran, and The Rolling Stones. It’s not just culture Boris wants to maintain, it’s also the economy.

The music industry boosts the UK’s economy massively and brings in £3.8billion, and the grassroots sector is worth £600million on its own. So Boris set up Music Venue’s TaskForce. What’s his plan? To:

  1. Implement the Agent of Change Principle (adopted in Australia and Canada)
  2. Make London a champion for Night-Time Economy worth £66billion a year
  3. Set up a Music Development Board
  4. Publish his Culture and Planning Guide
  5. Continue working in and supporting places where live music has thrived (Soho, Camden, Hackney)

There’s some water under the bridge. But with that water there’s some hard rocks too. Yes, it will create a much larger benefit to economy, keep venues open, create jobs and liven up the UK’s culture (music, restaurants, other entertainment), this “city that never sleeps” mentality will for sure effect some in a not so good way.

The residents. The residents are making serious complaints about the night-time scene. I guess, who can blame them. Families need their privacy, the elderly want their much deserved peace, the people want their sleep. However, sometimes compl
aints can’t be placed on the venue management. Property developers occasionally build right by a venue that’s been active years, decades even. What do we do? What te Mayor of London announced is the Agent of Change principle where those who are effecting change must be responsible for it. So if property developers are building in a live music zone, it’s up to them to conjure up ways of dealing with it, e.g. sound proofing the houses or flats. Likewise if a venue opens up in a residential area, the venue managers must find ways to settle to the residential agreement and sound proof the venue, ensure noise doesn’t go over the threshold and somehow manage the drunkards hanging round outside and ptumblr_nlqqchcor51qemiigo1_500eeing on the neighbours front door at 3am…..(that has been a real complaint, I’m not making that up).
The Borough of Hackney are against this idea, mainly because incidents that take place and not wanting youth to indulge in drunkard late night activity and consequently anti-social behaviour. ….I’m all for that really. I mean boosting the economy is good, but not at the risk of our youths health (dangerous drinking, riotous living, and all sorts of other madness that goes on). Hackney’s council want to release a borough wide bylaw by which night-time businesses must close at 11pm.

Police are definitely up for night-time economy. Stats show 80% of weekend arrests are alcohol related and over 50% of all violent crime is committed while drunk. 50% of our police officers’ time is spent dealing with alcohol related casework and 92% believe night time economy has a large or very large impact on their workload.

What are your thoughts?


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