VENUE CLOSURES: THE WORRYING TREND DAMAGING BRISTOL'S NIGHTLIFE

The beloved Trinity Centre is just one of the many Bristol music venues threatened with closure due to the development of nearby apartments. 

 

Bristol has become a notorious hotspot for diverse music and the culture in which surrounds it: however with the concerning pattern of venue closures spanning the city, it is an increasingly real reality that the nightlife we love Bristol for could be diminished. 

 

Emma Harvey, the centre director for Trinity Centre, informed us on the situation and what the deal is as of yet: “A planning application has been submitted for 90 West Street to build 12 x 1 bed apartments. There is an acoustic report which accompanies the application, which makes no reference to the development's proximity to Trinity. Therefore, no mitigating actions have been taken in order to ensure new residents will not be affected by noise from our venue/punters.”

 

This is not a new ordeal, with The Bierkeller forced to shut immediately due the gentrification of the building without any warning. Harvey continued: “Given the issues across the city and nationally regarding developments impacting on existing music venues and the cumulative loss over time: this time around, the application and our objection has attracted a lot of attention and passion from music lovers across social media and press.”

 

The application has received more than 2000 objections and they are being accepted until the 2nd of January, Harvey explained the importance of these objections: “While objections do not necessarily equate to planning refusal, this volume of objections is notably significant. Therefore - at the very least - it’s likely the agent will need to give clearer consideration to any potential noise impact on new residents of the proposed flats, in order for BCC (Bristol City Council) to give planning consent.”

 

With the announced shortening of days for lionised Stokes Croft nightclubs Blue Mountain and Lakota, the ravers of Bristol can only hope in anticipation for the future of their nightlife.

PEOPLE WHO DON'T LIKE MUSIC VENUES WRITE A LOT OF LETTERS, TRY WRITING YOUR OWN

Harvey spoke about the great significance Bristol’s nightlife is to the cultural heritage of the city: “Bristol's night life is a key part of the city's identity and what attracts many people to come live here. Bristol's sound system culture is something that sets Bristol apart from other cities. It's what gives events such as St Paul's Carnival their uniqueness, attracting over 100k on its return in 2018. 

 

“We need to celebrate, promote and protect this heritage, which is intrinsically connected to the city’s diverse communities and make sure venues that house a myriad of musical genres are able to flourish.”

 

Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venues Trust (MVT), spoke to us about what they are trying to achieve over at MVT: “MVT is a registered charity which seeks to protect, secure and improve the UK's grassroots music venues. Practically, that means directly intervening when a venue is threatened with closure or has a specific noise, licensing, or legal challenge, and campaigning on a wide range of issues that support the sector.

 

“Long term, the Trust was established to take freehold ownership of bricks and mortar buildings that house music venues, to protect the existing operators and remove them from the commercial marketplace.”

 

Grassroots music venues play a pivotal role in society economically, socially and culturally. Davyd continued: “(They are) three areas in which grassroots music venues have a role which should be of significant interest to government, the cultural sector and the music industry. You could break those three things down into factors that have a direct impact people can understand and relate to at a personal level. 

“No grassroots music venue for him to play at to start his career, no Ed Sheeran. No grassroots music venue for your parents to meet and fall in love at,  no you. No £4.5 billion music industry providing thousands of jobs and millions of pounds in tax if there are no grassroots music venues for artists to start their career at.”

 

With something that seems relatively out of our control, the closure of music venues can help be prevented by simply getting involved as much as possible, as Davyd expressed: “From the very simple, just clicking like on our Facebook page and sharing the messages we put out. To the very practical of just going to one more gig a month than you do at the moment. Go and see a new band you weren't going to. 

 

“If you really want to make a difference, write to your local council and your local MP with a positive letter saying that you value your local music venue and you want it supported. People who don't like music venues write a lot of letters, try writing your own.” 

Get involved with the Music Venues Trust on their Facebook page below:

https://www.facebook.com/musicvenuetrust/

Matt Knight

January 4th 2019

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The UK's online magazine for the underground music scene.