One of the biggest stories of 2015 was the continuing disappearance of music venues under a pincer assault of noise complaints and gentrification. Ed Gillett argues that the pop-up ‘experience’ guff that comes in their wake is no replacement, and looks at possible solutions to the crisis.
2015 may come to be seen as a watershed in the gradual erosion of the UK’s small-scale music venues. Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen a frightening number of vital underground spaces across the country either close, or be threatened with closure: from Plastic People in January to Power Lunches in December; clubbing institutions like Glasgow’s Arches to rock & roll landmarks like Manchester’s Roadhouse; large Arts Council-supported mainstays like Rich Mix to tiny basement dives like People’s or Club 414. Across the UK, but particularly within London’s ongoing and extravagantly deranged property bubble, the picture has been grim.