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Deep Sadness as Key Manchester Venues Close Doors

Key Manchester venues Deaf Institute and Gorilla have announced their permanent closure, due to financial difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Published: 17 July 2020 | 12:00 AM Updated: 28 April 2021 | 4:31 PM
Photograph of the Manchester skyline at sunset
The news is a bitter blow for musicians and fans, and a significant loss to the musical and cultural life of both cities. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Two much-loved music venues in Manchester and two in Hull have been shut down, after four months of enforced closure. As well as Deaf Institute and Gorilla in Manchester, the Welly and the Polar Bear in Hull have also announced their closure.

Our National Organiser for the North of England, Matt Wanstall, responded to the news:

“The MU is deeply saddened to hear that key Manchester venues Deaf Institute and Gorilla, as well as Hull’s Polar Bear and The Welly will close for good. It's a bitter blow for musicians and fans, and a significant loss to the musical and cultural life of both cities.”

We’d like to spend some time sharing memories of these venues today, and reflecting on their significance to musicians, the music industry and the wider cultural life of the country. Let us know your thoughts through our Twitter, Facebook or Instagram channels.

Government support is vital

Despite the welcome arts package announced by the Government earlier this month, it is clearly still vital that the Government provides further support to musicians and the music industry.

Musicians lost over £21m in the first ten days of lockdown alone. Over 90% told us they had been affected. Four months later, 38% musicians still do not qualify for Government support – going up to 53% for theatre musicians – and 19% are considering abandoning music altogether.

Our key asks for the Government are to:

  • Close the gaps in the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)
  • Extend support for arts, culture and entertainment workers after October
  • Support safe ways of working like live music events with social distancing applied
  • Cover shortfalls in ticket money due to social distancing so that theatres and venues survive
  • Undertake a government review of streaming royalty distribution

Take action now

Ask the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protect all self-employed workers, and ensure no musician is left behind.

You can use our template letter if you're not sure what to say. Remember to include how you are affected too. Personal stories make all the difference.

Write to Rishi now.

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