[FEATURE] Why is there a struggle with small venues when live music is booming?

Features, Uncategorized

“If small and independent venues were to disappear completely, where would new bands come from? How will we find the new big thing?”

Sometimes it is down to location, other times it is lack of public interest and other times it is down to the rise in council rent. All along the country independent music venues are closing down, yet live music itself is booming around the country. So, what is it that is making venues close? It’s no secret that independent music venues are struggling to how they were even ten years ago, but a lot of that is down to the economy, smoking bans and the increase of home entertainment and social media. But venues should always remain relevant to the industry as these are the breeding grounds for scenes, and help build creative communities.

Mark Davyd, co-owner of The Tunbridge Wells Forum told The Guardian “The valuation of the Forum as a music venue is about £375,000. If we sell it to be flats, it’s worth about £1.2m.” It’s no surprise that due to gentrification that venue owners are selling up and you can’t blame them for it, however it is what is becoming the death of the independent venues.

In 2014 Leeds saw the closure of one of its longest running independent venues, The Cockpit, due to an inability to afford its upkeep, BBC wrote at the time of the venue’s closure that is was due to a “changed industry” according to Colin Oliver of the venues promotion company, Future Sound. Two years on since the closure of Cockpit, things haven’t really changed for small venues and still venues across the country are having to close and although the UK music industry grosses £3.8 billion a year, the origins of it is being taken away from us.

Although UK live music has been increasing in popularity in recent years, it is mainly commercialism of music venues which is keeping the music industry a billion-pound contribution to the UK economy. The 02 Arena in London, the SSE Arena in Glasgow and the Phones 4U Arena in Manchester are three of the best-selling arenas globally. Most cities within the United Kingdom have an 02 Academy venue, all of which get bookings from international bands which most of the time manage to sell out capacities of 4,500 people or more. Looking at the vast audiences that these venues get and the international reputation that they give our live music industry, how are we meant to look at these venues? As a commercial monster, which is destroying what live music venues once meant? or as pioneers with the money to keep live music venues going strong. London alone has three Academies, one of which is Brixton academy. Although it is not a small venue, it is an historic venue with the 02 franchise being a lifeline, it has kept the venue open and kept live music coming to the borough of Brixton. “I believe the academies provide a substantial amount of live music that cater for a wide range of audiences, and I think they have kept famous venues such as Brixton up and running.”a spokesperson from Brixton 02. “I think the [02] Academies are good for cities, Yes, the reason is down to the consistent array of gigs and club nights. London has three [Academies] located all around the city meaning there are events almost every night of the week accessible to almost the whole of London”.

An average ticket price for an O2 Academy venue ticket can be over £60 for a standard stalls ticket – take RnB star Ne-Yo’s Brixton show. Tickets are priced at £63 for a standard, no frills entry ticket, with VIP tickets costing almost £180. Now this seems ridiculous in comparison to smaller independent venues which charge half this price. For example, Koko in Camden also sees RnB acts such as Bryson Tiller and Snakehips, without breaking the banks of their fans.

But both the artist and venues are responsible for these high ticket prices. Although Academies tend to price most of their tickets between £20-£40, the odd triple digit price will pop up. However, for independent venues, a ticket priced £20 is seen as expensive. Keeping ticket prices low is what makes independent venues stand out from commercialised venues, but these low ticket prices often means they are unable to book the more popular acts or be able to put on acts every night of the week unlike the 02 academies. “Small venues have always been the grassroots for local artists” states small venue/club owner Mark Page. “In this sense any ticket over £10 is expensive for local music. If small venues can’t charge any more than so [£10] for a ticket, and only have a capacity of no more than 200 people they’re not going to be able to make as much money as an Academy venue which has a capacity of over 4000 and are charging £20 or more for a ticket. With the pressures of the rise of rent, it’s no surprise really that smaller venues are struggling or closing.”

348sIt’s no doubt that the digital age has altered the music industry. The increase of social media users has created a platform that musicians could have only dreamed of before the access of the internet providing a worldwide audience. “Online presence is as important [as performing live], but not more so” says venue owner, promotor and booking agent Mark Page. “Online of course is the greatest marketing tool of the 21st century to performers, but bands still need to play live to hone their skills, and learn their craft. Playing in front of live audiences breeds confidence and can give artists so much more feedback than a like on a Facebook post. If an artist is happy to only hide behind their computer, success can still be achieved but their art becomes too one dimensional.” As much as this may be the case, more and more bands are gaining further popularity using social media rather than playing live. Hertfordshire The Hunna for example managed to get themselves thousands of followers on their social media before they had released any music. By the time they put out their album in October 2015, as terrible as it was, they managed to sell out a UK tour and their album made it into the UK charts. If The Hunna can achieve this without using the support of their local venue, with the music industry one of the hardest to break through in, maybe other bands will do the same and although the quality of music will drop and perhaps this is how the industry will be in the not so distant future.

Perhaps it’s just an end of an era for small venues and we, as a music community, are holding on to what we remember of our first gigs at a small city venue and we don’t want future generations to miss out on what we remember so fondly. If The Hunna are anything to go off the quality of music will drop and will there be anything worth going to see live left? To say the least without small inner city venues the UK music industry would be a shamble, it would be bread without the yeast, a country without a working class, it simply would not work. You can stop this however, get out and go to your local venues, go see local music and if you’re dubious or sceptical you will be pleasantly surprised. If you don’t want to see your local venue die off, do your best to support it. Creativity is what makes cities and without venues it is taking chances away from people. There is a lot of good music that you’ve never heard of out there and some of it will be at your very doorstep. you just have to go find it.

Words By Jonny Page

METAL HAMMER ARE RETURNING!

Industry News, News

Not too long ago we were saying goodbye to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog Magazine as Team Rock were to be no more.

In a series of fortunate events however Metal Hammer has been bought, saved and will be returning to the shelves of your local retailer on the 10th of February. Their comeback issue will feature an interview of Ozzy Osbourne by M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold.

metal-hammerJust before Christmas when we found out that Team Rock was being shut down a JustGiving page was set up as the staff were left with little to no hope of redundancy. The page’s target was to be £20,000, enough to give each staff member a £1000. The completed total of the page came to £88,760 which is a massive 443% over target, well done to everyone that was able to give.

For Metal Hammer there was a light at the end of the tunnel and so from everyone at The Wave, welcome back and good luck!

Words by Jonny Page

Tramlines Festival Announce Biggest Line-Up In Their History

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Inner city festival Tramlines have recently announced their biggest line-up since its inception back in 2009.

Tramlines 2017 includes The Libertines, Toots and the Maytals, All Saints, Metronomy, The Coral, The Pharcyde, Twin Atlantic, Loyle Carner, Hot 8 Brass Band, Don Letts, Omar Souleyman, M.O, Cate Le Bon, Nadia Rose, Akala and more.

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Tickets are available at the unbelievable price with weekend passes from just £38 plus booking fee. Tickets are now on sale from www.tramlines.org.uk.

Words By Jonny Page

The Sun Mugged Off By Cabbage

Industry News, Uncategorized

The Sun, you know that pathetic excuse for a news source? Well they decided to create a band and artist ‘top tip for 2017’ list, very similar to the BBCs.

To add to their accumulation of mistakes, they decided to put Manchester band Cabbage on their list, this was their response:

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 23.26.58.pngI think their words say all that needs to be said and from everyone here at The Wave, we applaud you Cabbage.

Words By Jonny Page

Goodbye TeamRock

News

2016 has been bleak for the music industry and everybody has had their fair share of sorrow. However, just as the year was drawing to a close 2016 got even worse for TeamRock as they were informed that they were being shut down. This means the closure of Classic Rock, Prog Magazine and Metal Hammer. To make things worse for TeamRock they have been left with very little hope of redundancy pay leaving them with absolutely nothing even though I’m sure that they would have given their all for the publications.

TeamRock are not your everyday music journalists, they’re dedicated and above all passionate and do not deserve what has been done to them but unfortunately this is what is happening within the music industry. but we as writers, as I’m sure TeamRock will also, will continue our passions to inform and teach you lot as much as we can about the wonderful world of music.

To leave on a positive note, to save the folks from TeamRock a bleak Christmas, there has been a JustGiving page set up for the staff which has currently reached £52,000 in two days, it’s original target being just £20,000. If it reaches £73,000 that will provide £1000 to each member of staff which would be awesome for them. This just shows as although the odds are against the music industry, we’re a solid community which will keep fighting.

From everyone at The Wave we wish TeamRock good luck, your publications will go down in history and thank you for what you’ve achieved. Keep Rocking.

You can donate to TeamRock at: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ukrockcommunity

 

Words by Jonny Page

SHIKARI SOUND SYSTEM ANNOUNCED AS BLAX XMAS BALL AFTER-PARTY HEADLINER

News

BLAX have announced their afterparty headliner for the Fireball Presents: BLAX Xmas Ball on 17 December in Hatfield. It was announced on the 28 November on the Blax Facebook page that Shikari Sound System – the DJing moniker of Enter Shikari – will make an appearance at the event alongside Don Broco.

From tiny hometown shows at The Horn in St. Albans to a Hospitality rimage.jpgave to a two hour neurofunk set with a short segment of Bill Withers mixed in at Slam Dunk Festival, Shikari Sound System can dominate any stage size, but the Forum is a place they are very familiar with. The Forum is part of Hatfield University, which Enter Shikari have seen as both a standalone venue and as part of Slam Dunk Festival South.

If past sets are anything to go by, we can expect a vast array of musical genres being played by Shikari Sound System, from drum and bass, to dubstep, and possibly even some 70s R&B. One can dream that ‘How Will I Know’ by Whitney Houston will make an appearance. I wouldn’t put it past them to include it.

The Hertfordshire quartet will play after the Don Broco headlined gig, DJing between 12am-3am.

Tickets can be purchased here – http://www.ticketweb.co.uk/event/the-blax-xmas-ball-tickets/255361

Words By Jordan Fann 

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Box H9

News

H9 Suffers Massive Backlash After Problems With Security Team On Saturday 19 November, drum and bass rave organisers Jungle Zen organised an event, hosted at Box H9 in North London.

The event organisers have had success in the past, with a sense of community for many of the ravers. Unfortunately the event was overshadowed by aggressive and unorganised security, with reports of security tackling people to the ground, selectively choosing who to let in under the guise of ‘drug control’ and even extortion, by forcing people to pay entry fees despite them already purchasing tickets. Other complaints included the late start, as the security kept ravers waiting in the rain for an hour, which forced some DJs to cancel their set.

security

Someone who experienced the force of the security spoke of his experience, “I got chucked out in the rain in just my tee shirt, the security wouldn’t allow me back inside to get my jacket. I even asked them to either get it themselves or escort me in and out and then I was fucking dump tackled by the lot of them”.

The next day, there were numerous complaints which flooded Box H9’s Facebook page, as well as Jungle Zen’s event page. Jungle Zen, concerned for their attendees, decided to contact Box H9 in regards to this as the security was arranged by the venue. It was then announced over Twitter that the venue had responded to their complaints by firing their security staff.

The people have power to fight back and this is a prime example  a security guard’s job is to make sure people feel safe and secure, rather than causing trouble that doesn’t need to happen.

Words By Jordan Fann 

Outlines Festival Line-Up

News, Uncategorized

The multi-venue Sheffield festival Outlines has released their line-up for 2016. Promoted and organised by the people that bring you Tramlines festival, Outlines Festival is very much its own and brings with it an exceedingly good bill.

Heading up the bill are Australian psychedelic rock outfit Jagwar Ma, whose newly released second album Every Now & Then has been earning critical acclaim and is already promising to build on the success of hits such as ‘Come Save Me’ and ‘Uncertainty’.

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The festival will take place at Sheffield venues such as Plug and The Leadmill and has over 150 artists on the line-up.

Tickets are available for £15 from the festival website: http://outlinesfestival.com