Yorkshire Times
Voice of the North
Graham Clark
Features Writer
11:40 AM 18th July 2020

Iconic Music Venues In Manchester And Hull Announce Closure

Live music lovers will be devastated to learn of the potential loss of four iconic music venues in Hull and Manchester.

The operating company which manages both The Welly and The Polar Bear in Hull have been forced to announce their permanent closure. Both venues are vital components of Hull's thriving independent scene, and sit at the very heart of Hull's reputation as a music city and destination.

On the same day, Mission Mars in Manchester has announced that it is not able to continue operating either The Deaf Institute or Gorilla and that both venues will need alternative operators to continue.

Many of the acts of today have played these venues at the start of their career. I reviewed Dua Lipa at Gorilla in Manchester 4 years ago when she was just starting out. Kylie Minogue played an intimate gig there 2 years ago. The Struts rocked the venue in July 2 years ago, I remember when waiting to interview the band the staff at Gorilla were some of the friendliest I had come across. Rising star Mae Muller tore the roof of the Deaf Institute when I reviewed her gig there in February. These venues will leave a big hole in the northern live scene.

Regrettably, in all four cases, the current operators did not contact Music Venue Trust seeking help to prevent the closures. The Music Venue Trust emphasise again that any grassroots music venue operator considering closure should please contact Music Venue Trust first, so that they can explore all options to prevent closure and support the location of alternative operators, where that is an option.

They have been warning for months that the situation faced by grassroots music venues was unsustainable and would result in the closure of spaces people love and artists need, unless there was concerted, strategic action. That action now needs to be accelerated to prevent hundreds of other venues from being lost right across the country.

The Music venue Trust said:
"We understand that the future of all these spaces as grassroots music venues may be salvageable, and we strongly urge Hull City Council and Manchester City Council to bring together all stakeholders in the city to see what can be done to secure the premises, locate alternative operators and prevent these vital spaces being permanently lost."