Our Song of the Day comes from the Woolen Men of Portland OR. The reason I’ve slightly hi-jacked our Song of the Day to highlight an issue is that I saw this quote from the Woolen Men about their latest album Temporary Monument, read it watch the video, then read on:
“Our hometown has been buried under an avalanche of condos and pointless businesses catering to the newly rich. Noise complaints shut down our shows and pull the plug on countless DIY venues. The places where we lived are being torn down; the rent keeps climbing up. Born too soon or too late, the recession’s effect on our youth was as invisible as it it was profound.
Music today is rendered powerless — white noise made in the echo chamber, for the great Smooth Face that gazes once and moves on. So here it comes, some noise from the dustbin. The internet is sham: Temporary Monument, we made it for ourselves. Look us in the eyes and tell us you’re not getting old.”
The video for Temporary Monument was Shot on location in Budapest, Hungary and Lima, Peru winter 2005.
Out Now via Woodsist
The reason I highlighted that quote above is because the very same thing is happening in the UK, venues are being shut down for the same reasons. In a recent article in The Guardian, Mark Davyd who heads the Music Venue Trust, an organisation seeking to preserve our venues highlighted how the smaller music venues are being either priced out, or, as in the case of Glasgow’s Arches, shut down through over-regulation. Some of our best music sprang from small venues, without them many of those acts would never have got a foot in the door. Today those venues have to contend with additional challenges from re-developers and gentrification, growing noise complaints, and the big venue competitors such as the O2…
“What we’re left with are these megashows with very high ticket prices, which buoy up the headline figure. Will two more new shows at the O2 in London feel the same as 250 shows at a small venue?”
Of the 430 music venues that traded in London between 2007 and 2015, only 245 are still open. Examples given included The Troubadour in London, now up for sale because “they had a noise complaint related to their use of the garden. Kensington and Chelsea borough said they couldn’t use it after 9pm, their drink turnover went down substantially, and now there’s no guarantee it’ll be a venue in future.” Another good example is The Fleece in Bristol which faces potential future noise complaints (due to a planned neighbouring re-development) that will cost them £12,000 to £15,000 to handle, currently more than their profits.
Tackling the Issues
The Music Venue Trust
The Music Venue Trust was created in January 2014 to protect the UK live music network. Its immediate focus is on securing the long term future of the grassroots iconic venues which make up the ‘toilet circuit’ (e.g. Southampton Joiners, Tunbridge Wells Forum, The 100 Club, Exeter Cavern, Hull Adelphi, Manchester Band on the Wall etc.)
These venues have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills.
Find out more here:http://www.musicvenuetrust.com/
There’s you. Support your local venues and the small gigs…spread the word!