Local Venues You Can Still Support

Back in March the unthinkable happened. Music venues across the globe were forced to close indefinitely thanks to Covid-19 and just like that, an industry worth over £5 billion a year had gone up in smoke.

Today marks the 112th day since we last went to a gig. I’d spent a large chunk of the year up until that point going to multiple gigs a week and music venues are pretty much our second home. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been affected in one way or another by the music industry shutting up shop overnight. Music venues, specifically grassroots ones from pubs to basements and beyond, are a huge part of communities and must be protected.

Last night, about half an hour after I (conveniently!) finished up the original version of this post, the UK government announced that at long last £1.5 billion would be injected into the UK’s arts industries! This is extremely welcome and proves they’re finally listening, but despite being called a “world class package”, it’s still a dip in the ocean in comparison to other countries are doing for their arts industries.

It’s a huge sigh of relief, but we still have questions.

How much of this “lifeline” will actually reach grassroots venues and associated industries? Even more importantly, will it get to the right places in time? This is still yet to be announced and although the injection of money is welcome, the UK government still haven’t addressed their half-arsed “roadmap to reopen venues” from the other week. The government have already admitted that the money isn’t expected to save every job in the arts industries. But we can hope!

You also might be wondering, why do we need to specifically protect grassroots venues? All your favourite artists have played at grassroots venues at some point in their career, whether that be Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, The Beatles, you name it, without these venues they wouldn’t exist. Bleak but true. Plus these venues were already under threat thanks to development, noise complaints, business rates/rises and more (see here). The UK was also the only country in Europe not to give small music venues tax breaks,

Music Venues Trust set up the #SaveOurVenues campaign in March and have been campaigning tirelessly since to help support/protect 500+ venues from closure. Last Thursday (2nd July 2020) UK Music/UK Live Music Group also launched the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign. As part of the initiative, over 1500 bands/artists signed a letter addressed to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden calling for support. This finally seemed to get the UK government to sit up and listen, but it’s still not enough.

It was crucial before but now it’s even more crucial that we continue to support these venues. The injection of cash from the government will help venues in the short term, yet venues are still at threat of closure without clear guidance. There’s also no indication that festivals are included in this (here are some local music festivals you can support!).

Whilst we wait for more details on this £1.57 billion investment from the government, here are some venues that you can support/help directly in the meantime!

 

The Wedgewood Rooms and The Edge of the Wedge, Portsmouth

The Wedgewood Rooms (and sister venue the Edge of the Wedge) is hands-down Portsmouth’s best venue and we’re not just saying that because we spent a sizeable chunk of last year at the venue… We’ve found so many of our favourite bands at the venue and their support for the local music scene is second to none. Notable gigs over their past 26 years, include appearances from the likes of Oasis, Muse, Kasabian, The Hives, The Strokes and many more. Going back even further, the venue once served as a jazz club, a storage space in WWII, a ballroom and a community function room where Arnold Schwarzenegger competed in a body building competition in 1968.

Also, be sure to check out their snazzy new website!

How can you help?

| Buy tickets for gigs in the future/keep hold of tickets for rescheduled dates | Donate here | Buy merchandise |

Keep up with them on socials:

| Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify |

 

The Wave Maiden, Portsmouth

Edit: Since we wrote this post, The Wave Maiden has very sadly closed down. You can still donate to their crowdfunder below.

Just before lockdown we went to our first gig at The Wave Maiden and were so impressed by the place, we vowed it wouldn’t be our last. It’s a cozy space situated near Southsea Seafront and tucked away above The Wave Maiden’s bar. The Wave Maiden is a unique spot that needs protecting at all costs.

How can you help?

| Order food/takeout | Donate here |

Keep up with them on socials:

| Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |

 

The Joiners, Southampton

The Joiners puts Southampton on the map for upcoming new music, especially touring bands and the venue was even listed as Britains Best Small Venue by the NME in 2013. It’s one of Southampton’s most-loved venues and has a real family feel to it. Notable gigs at The Joiners include the likes of Coldplay, Manic Street Preachers, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, The 1975 and even Ed Sheeran made his debut live appearance at the venue. We don’t get to as many gigs as we’d like at the venue, but we’ve enjoyed the likes of Mini Mansions, October Drift, Nile Marr (Man Made), Kassassin Street and more here over the years.

How can you help?

| Buy tickets for gigs in the future/keep hold of tickets for rescheduled dates | Donate here | Buy merchandise |

Keep up with them on socials:

| Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |

 

The Railway, Winchester

The Railway is the only venue on this list we’ve somehow still not managed to visit, but it’s top of our list when gigs return. The venue “celebrated” its 40th birthday back in April and hopefully it will be there for many years to come! The likes of October Drift, Wild Front, Flyte, Pretty Vicious and more have all graced its stage in the past. The Railway is also one of the few venues around which is in walking distance of a train station (obviously, hence the name…), so the venue wins bonus points for that!

How can you help?

| Buy a gift card to exchange for tickets when gigs return | Donate here |

Keep up with them on socials:

| Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |

 

If we’ve missed any venues in Hampshire which are both grassroots and need support, please comment below and I will aim to get them added to the list!

 

Further reading:

| Music Venues Trust | Arts Council England | UK Music |

 



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