With around 82%* of the UK’s live venues under threat, the team behind diverse & historic live event space, The Grand, speaks out on behalf of an industry in danger of collapse
Frank Turner and Sir John Major both pledge support to The Grand’s survival.
A recent survey by the Music Venue Trust (MVT) has found 554 of its 670 member venues are under threat of “imminent closure” as a result of Covid-19, with certain venues ineligible for government funding, despite still being liable for rent and building insurance. During a time where typical income generation remains unattainable, the industry’s financial deficit could force thousands of doors to close forever, as early as this month.
Speaking on behalf of this forgotten industry, one of the UK’s oldest venues, The Clapham Grand, announces a Crowdfunder campaign to help save it from imminent permanent closure, garnering support from the likes of Frank Turner and Sir John Major. Please visit www.crowdfunder.co.uk/savethegrand for more information.
Facing closure 120 years into its prominence, The Grand, based in Clapham Junction has consistently focused on supporting the creative arts, offering diverse programming from boxing and Bollywood to discos and drag, offering a stage to the likes of Oasis, Charlie Chaplin, Bianca Del Riom Bongo Bingos and everything in between. Providing entertainment for all walks of life and a safe space for the LGBTQ+ and POC community, the iconic venue has become a pillar of the capital’s entertainment sector, now at huge risk.
Surviving two world wars, riots, multiple recessions, a decade of closure in the 80’s and even the last global flu-pandemic in 1918, the venue now faces a fatal fate shared by so many entertainment venues across the UK at the hands of Covid-19.
Performing as part of the Grand Aid live-stream campaign, multi-award-winning singer Frank Turner, is available for interviews to discuss the effect closures will have on both the venue and music industry.
Turner comments: “All live music venues are facing a tough time right now, across the country. But The Grand in Clapham is a special case. The venue steeped in the history of entertainment, it’s been there for 120 years, providing a stage for everything from music hall to rock’n’roll through to rave. It’s the perfect example of the fact that without venues, the culture in our communities will have no space to germinate, grow, thrive, or even exist.”
In a bid to raise funds for the venue, The Grand are both crowdfunding and hosting a series of live-streamed virtual events to keep their loyal fanbase entertained. With a varied line-up of names signed up to perform as part of the project, the venue’s importance to the industry is evident.
The Grand’s Manager Ally Wolf comments: “The Grand is a magical building with an incredible past spanning 120 years that has adapted throughout the decades to provide entertainment to millions of people. Without cultural spaces like The Grand and so many other venues now at risk, we will have a very different and incredibly sparse cultural landscape. As one of London’s biggest and oldest independently owned venues, we are speaking out on behalf of our industry and ask for people’s kind support in helping to ensure our doors will once again reopen.
Sir John Major has also raised his support for The Grand and offers comment: “The Clapham Grand has been staging popular entertainment for over 100 years.
During this difficult and challenging time, The Grand needs particular support to enable it to continue to entertain us in the future. I hope that everyone who cares for Music Hall and Variety will offer any help they can to this wonderful and venerable old theatre.”
Until the government issues advice on how the live industry will look post-lockdown, venues are unable to even make future financial plans, and without significant help, the UK’s live entertainment industry is at risk of collapsing.