Key Sussex music venues in "imminent danger of permanent closure"

Grand Elektra in Hastings, The Rossi Bar in Brighton and The Brunswick in Hove have been declared “in imminent danger of permanent closure” as music venues continue to struggle.

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust
Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust

The Music Venue Trust has responded with a “traffic light” campaign to save all grassroot music venues still in crisis. In all, 30 venues have become the “Red Light” focus of the #saveourvenues campaign,

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said the emphasis is on securing the future of 30 venues who were ineligible to receive funding from, or wholly or partially unsuccessful in their application to, the recent government backed Cultural Recovery Fund.

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“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.

“This new Traffic Light campaign will highlight venues considered safe until March 31 (Green – 353 venues), those at risk of closure between now and March 31 without additional support (Amber – 273 venues) and those at imminent danger of permanent closure (Red – 30 venues).”

Grand Elektra is one of those 30 venues that has been marked as being in imminent danger of permanent closure.

The venue’s Paul Mandry said: “Grand Elektra has been an iconic venue in Hastings for the last 40 years under many guises. Since we opened we have put on events, live music and developed a plethora of diverse acts to continue its legacy and entertain the community.

“Having been shut since March due to the ongoing pandemic, the future of the venue is now looking uncertain. We need support from the community to protect the venue until next spring when we hope to be able to reopen.”

Unsuccessful in their bid for the Cultural Recovery Fund, The Rossi Bar in Brighton is also in the red category.

Venue owner Ambre France said: “The Rossi Bar is a small grassroots venue in the centre of Brighton providing live music and rocking cocktails! As a small venue we offer a unique and essential stepping stone for brand new bands, artists and promoters to hone their craft and build their audience before moving onto bigger shows at bigger venues. We love what we do and we want to keep on doing it, so please help us save Rossi Bar.”

The Brunswick in Hove is similarly in peril.

The venue’s Andy Hillion said: “Over the last 14 years we have built The Brunswick from a failing sports bar to one of the city's most important grassroots music and arts venues. We staged over 500 live events in 2019.

“With no additional funding we need your help to see us through this difficult time so that we can return to hosting grassroots music shows and continue to provide the great nights out that the people of Hove have previously enjoyed.”

A range of targeted activity under the #saveourvenues banner has been announced, based around a combined effort by audiences, local communities, local councils and the creative community to prevent the permanent closure of these remaining GMVs.

MVT are now urging everyone who cares about these venues to write to their local MP, council, local charities, and anyone else they can think of to demand action to prevent them being closed for good.

Music Venue Trust CEO Mark added: “What the #saveourvenues campaign has achieved during the last eight months is truly remarkable. Thanks to the efforts of music fans, local communities and the wider music sector we have raised over £3m in donations and have unlocked over £80m in government assistance to help stave off the imminent closure of over 400 grassroots music venues.

“We are now focusing exclusively on those 30 remaining venues which face immediate permanent closure. If people want these local venues to still be there when this is over there is a very clear call to action: choose a venue, get donating, get writing, get calling, get organised. Save them all. Reopen Every Venue Safely.”

A new crowdfunding initiative powered by Crowdfunder has been launched to secure the future of these 30 GMVs. By visiting a single landing page at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/save-our-venues-red-list people can choose an individual venue to donate to. If an individual target is reached by a particular venue the surplus donations will go towards supporting other venues in crisis.

As part of these crowdfunding efforts there will also be a new range of merchandise exclusively available to support this campaign and available for delivery by Christmas. Every item bought directly supports a venue, with MVT paying the costs of printing, packing and delivery.