Wednesday, October 03, 2018

A Sticky end

Yesterday brought the news that Sticky Mike's Frog Bar in Brighton will shut its doors for the final time on New Year's Eve. I've never been, but it's evident from the reaction and the venue's regular appearance on tour itineraries that it's a well-loved institution very much at the heart of the city's music scene.

The Music Venue Trust's response is well worth a read: a mixture of sadness and anger. It makes the very pertinent point that "All too often each of these venue closures has been treated as a single problem rather than part of a larger picture". These are not isolated incidents; they're occurring up and down the country, as a result of the same stresses and strains. Just ask those who run the Cellar in Oxford, or any of the venues on Womanby Street here in Cardiff.

What is needed, then, is a serious, coordinated, national-level, multi-stakeholder strategy - one that is properly resourced rather than merely fine words. The MVT acknowledge, however, that for such a strategy to materialise, there must first be "a dramatic and urgent change in the attitude from local authorities, government, the music industry and the cultural sector". How many more venues like Sticky Mike's have to die before such a change takes place?

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