When I was in my twenties, I lived next door to Hull’s legendary Adelphi. I could actually hear the bands soundchecking from my front room – if I liked what I heard, I’d go to the gig.
The Adelphi is – thankfully – still in existence. But so many of our smaller venues aren’t, crippled by factors like the tough economic climate and a Licencing Act that makes them much more vulnerable to noise and nuisance complaints. Their loss is criminal.
Having places like the Adelphi in our communities is vital. From the pubs where teenagers play their first songs and local folkies jam, to the clubs that give touring bands a place to build a fan base, they’re so important, both culturally and socially.
Our world-beating music industry – the industry that generates the one in seven albums I mentioned above, that contributes 4.1 billion pounds to the economy – would grind to a halt without the talent these venues develop. Performers, yes, but also fledgling PRs, management, sound engineers and producers.
Grassroots venues are where the music industry incubates its next generation. Our government should be protecting them. Instead, it’s presiding over their decline. The proposed increases in business rates – of up to 55% in some cases – could mean that many small venues, already operating on the slimmest of margins, would either have to close or make substantial increases to their ticket prices.
I’m going to do everything I can to make sure small venues don’t lose out in the Finance Bill proposed by Philip Hammond.
Deputy Leader of the Labour Party