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Help Brighton’s arts scene survive with urgent #SaveOurVenues campaign

Music Venue Trust has launched an urgent campaign to #SaveOurVenues all over the UK – with 107 at high risk in Brighton & Hove.

More than 500 venues across the UK are at imminent risk of permanently closing due to the lockdown laws in the Coronavirus crisis. In Brighton & Hove, grassroots music and arts venues are an instrumental part of the cultural make-up of this city, with thousands of jobs affected. We cannot allow these pressures dismantle our city – a place proud to be idiosyncratic and inclusive, celebrating every facet of culture through diversity in music, theatre, comedy and more.

This week, Music Venue Trust (MVT) has started its nationwide campaign #saveourvenues, launching a crowdfunding page to support grassroots venues to survive from the destructive impact of Covid-19. The charity represents 670 venues across the UK, all of which have been drastically affected by the social distancing laws in the nation’s lockdown. Just 17% of MVT-supported venues remain safe for just eight weeks, with the current fate of the majority of venues remaining widely uncertain.

With support from our central government depleted, the fundraiser calls upon communities to unite and donate what they can. Toni Coe, programme manager of the Green Door Store is a co-ordinator of the #saveourvenues campaign.

Green Door Store #saveourvenues
Green Door Store

Toni says: “I am immensely proud to say I joined the Music Venue Trust team to help coordinate the #SaveOurVenues campaign to save all UK music venues, including the venue I work for and call home, The Green Door Store. We launched #SaveOurVenues which calls on artists, gig-goers, our local government and community to help fundraise and save these precious spaces. 

“We have announced 107 venues who are at immediate risk of closure due to the current crisis. Every week we stay closed that risk increases. We are currently looking at needing to raise a lot of money to secure everyone. We have already raised around £1,800 for Brighton venues from our local community, £10,000 for the crisis fund, and a few venues have already reached their target, such as the Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth.

“I believe our communities and the goodwill of those that use these spaces will save a lot of venues from permanent closure. If you love and need live music in your life, then get involved!”

BN1 Magazine has spoken to other venues in Brighton & Hove who are at risk of not reopening when society has recovered from Coronavirus.

The Hope & Ruin

Hope and Ruin #saveourvenues
The Hope and Ruin

“We don’t like to ask for donations but people had been contacting us to offer support so this seemed the best way. With zero income we are struggling to support our team. We work closely with MVT who over the years have been incredibly supportive of us as a GMV. A collective voice is stronger. Any funds raised will help get our team back together so we can continue doing what we do best when it’s safe to reopen our doors. If the team can’t go to work there will be no rock shows and no beers. That would be a real shame.” – Sally Oakenfold, venue manager 


“We are incredibly proud to be involved with this national campaign to save the UK’s music venues. Komedia has played a vital part in Brighton’s night-time offering for the last 25 years and as an unfunded venue, the current pandemic has forced us to close our doors for the foreseeable future, putting us and many more venues at risk in this uncertain economic landscape. We are asking for your help to secure our future, allow us to come back with a bang and once again host unforgettable events when the time allows.

As the venues taking part across the city (and nationally) are all as equally important as each other, it’s fantastic that any funds we raise beyond our target will be donated to Music Venue Trust GMV Crisis Fund to protect other venues right across the country. So whether you support an individual venue or the UK’s music scene as a whole you will be showing helping save the whole industry by donation to this great cause. We can’t wait to see you on the other side.” – Paul Musselwhite, Managing Director 

The Old Market

The Old Market #saveourvenues
The Old Market

“Grassroots music venues a vital part of our cultural heritage – they don’t just put on gigs. They are essential to the night-time economy, support emerging talent, showcase a range of artforms and are community hubs. Imagine if the venue you love in Brighton & Hove didn’t open it’s door again. Right now there are seven in our city who need our help. Personally, I could not imagine our music scene without any of them so I donated to all of their #SaveOurVenues campaigns.” – Lucy Stone, MVT representative and development manager of TOM 

“This event is uniquely catastrophic for our music venues.  The idea of these spaces not being able to return will devastate our city’s cultural landscape – the only way we will get through it with the support of the city as a whole.  We are at a moment where we are being asked what’s important to the city – if we let our music venues close we will lose the heart of our identity. We stand next to our friends across the city from the iconic venues, bars and backroom. We will return, but we need your help.” – Helen Jewell, Programmer 

The Brunswick

“This lockdown has hit The Brunswick (and the rest of our industry) very hard. With no income, limited access to funding and loans, a list as long as your arm of financial liabilities and 20 staff to support, we need as much help as we can get. We all need our city’s venues to safely re-open – whether it’s our employees, our loyal customers or the hundreds of performers that grace our stages each month.  If you’ve ever enjoyed a live gig or intend to enjoy one in the future, please donate whatever you can.” – Andy Hillion, general manager 

Latest Music Bar

Latest Music Bar #saveourvenues
Latest Music Bar

“Brighton is Music City… we all know…. and soooo many bands, musicians, composers, poets, songwriters, artists, stand up comics with banjos, sit down storytellers have come through the doors of Brighton’s key venues….and as Sal from Hope says we’ve all enjoyed “beer and friends and chatting with folk and laughing”….I’m proud to have been in that mix and proud to have come to Brighton for a weekend and stayed! We all need OUR venues to play, please help save our grassroots music venues!” – Bill Smith, owner 

The Pipeline

“This campaign is crucial to all small venues. We can survive a couple of more weeks but soon we will be in a really awful situation. If you want to save us, you better start helping us now!” – Thomas Evrenos, owner 

Artists looking to do what they can to save a venue close to their heart, why not host a fundraising gig? The #saveourvenues campaign has specific Crowdfunder campaign links for each individual venue so that fans can donate to your chosen venue’s Crowdfunder campaign.

Fans of live music are invited to adopt a venue, and can check MVT’s “Venues in Crisis” map to see a list of venues in your local area that urgently need your help. Please spread the word on social media as much as possible to attract attention to this vital cause.

Donate to the #saveourvenues campaign now!

For more information, head to Music Venue Trust’s website.

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