Nightclubs and music venues across England have faced the disruptive opening and closing of their venues since March 2020. As a result, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) warned that nightclubs are on the brink of “extinction” in the UK. Despite earning 66 Billion per annum (6% of the UK’s total) and contributing significantly to the UK’s economy each year, the NTIA warned that despite government grants and funding, the current support available for nightclubs is insufficient to match operating costs. Some venues have reported a loss of 95% revenue by keeping their doors closed.
In October 2020, the UK government announced the Arts Council’s Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF), “Britain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage industries will receive a world-leading £1.57 billion rescue package to help weather the impact of coronavirus”.
However, it seemed at first the nightclub venues were excluded from this list, prompting the start of many campaigns to help protect the UK’s nightlife.
#LetUsDance #LetTheMusicPlay #SaveOurVenues #SaveTheRave #SaveNightLife #FreedomToDance
The debt burden from rent arrears, loans and VAT for these businesses is substantial and for many, unmanageable without the help of the recovery fund. Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, added that the UK is “a world leader in electronic music” and that “UK clubs have been a breeding ground for contemporary music talent events and DJs for decades.” Dance Venues had to argue “we are culturally significant” after CRF denied a number of venues the recovery fund due to “a lack of cultural significance”.
The first stage of funding was divided as the following for music:
- London £243,086,134
- South East £241,713,859
- South West £251,401,028
- West Midlands £250,520,386
- East Midlands £250,520,386
- North West £252,911,785
- North East £221,763,560
- Yorkshire £248,900,257
The distribution is considerably equal, however London is home to a greater number event venues – meaning many major venues were excluded from the funding. The music category also includes training centres, halls, orchestras and more, making the competition for funding even more fierce.
Many organisations in receipt of the Cultural Recovery Fund have complained to the conditions that they must advertise the fund, using the #HereForCulture hashtag and logo.
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport responded: “It is perfectly reasonable that organisations receiving money from the Culture Recovery Fund were asked to publicly accredit the government funding and alert local media.”
Here’s a brief list of who was and wasn’t so successful with the Cultural Recovery Funding applications so far:
Boiler Room – £791,652 (2nd round)
Corsica Studios – £407,764
Egg LDN – Rejected
“We are devastated by the news we will not be supported by funding from the Cultural Recovery Fund, Egg London has and always had over the last 17 years a large outreach ethos from setting up workshops with the local council estate projects to show the community that there are other ways to live your life outside of crime. We also have close ties with Central St Martins setting up Exhibitions and Events with the No 1 Arts University in the World.”Egg LDN
Fabric London – £1,514,262 (2nd round)
“The Culture Recovery Fund will be a vital lifeline for us, particularly as we expect to be unable to open for regular club events for the foreseeable future. The latest developments suggest that hosting reduced activities will be our best case scenario for at least the next six months. With this in mind, part of the grant will be used to secure the survival of the venue, including covering rent, critical maintenance and introducing COVID secure infrastructure to ensure that we can bring people together safely when we reopen.”Fabric
Ministry of Sound – £975,468
Studio 338 – Rejected
“Whilst I was delighted to see the likes of the Ministry of Sound and Resident Advisor receive funding, it is clear from my research that the venues and organisations which received support used consultants to complete the paperwork and those which didn’t have this resource or experience of asking for public money were rejected. This is plainly wrong as it means large organisations receive funding whilst independents do not.”
“In 2016, we suffered a major fire from which we recovered without any help or assistance. Since then Studio 338 has gone on to be voted one of the top 20 clubs in the world. Its demise would be a tragic and irreplaceable loss for the UK’s dance music scene. Unlike many organisations on the list we did not ask for a huge sum, just enough to help us survive until next year by meeting our basic commitments.Dan Perrin, Studio 338
Pickle Factory/Oval Space – Rejected
“I am still at a loss as to how our venues have not received any support from the Cultural Recovery Fund. We are renowned for the depth and quality of our events programme and for our importance to a long list of underrepresented communities, movements, artists and creatives with whom we work and welcome on a daily basis.”
“But, if spaces more closely aligned with authentic club culture have for some reason been overlooked by this fund, then there simply must be alternative financial support made available to them. These are the places where groundbreaking artists and creatives first present their work, often years before they achieve mainstream recognition and are recognised as being of cultural importance. The effect of losing venues such as these will damage the cultural landscape of our cities immeasurably and will be felt for generations to come.”Jo Splain, Pickle Factory & Oval Space
Printworks London/Broadwick Live – Approved
Although initially denied, they disputed the decision and won. The total amount awarded to Printworks London is unknown, as it went to Broadwick Live, who have an impressive portfolio of venues and events in addition to Printworks London, including: The Drumsheds, Exhibition London, Depot Mayfield, The Bacardi Triangle, Electric Elephant, Lost Village, South West Four, Kendal Calling & more.
The Boileroom Originate, Guildford – £70,000
The Bullingdon, Oxford – £212,621
Level 3, Swindon – £165,937
Motion, Bristol – £884,796
Propaganda (nationwide) – £249,857
SSD Concerts, Portsmouth – £700,000
(SSD Concerts are the organiser of festivals: This is Tomorrow, Hit the North, Bingley Weekender & Corbridge Weekender)
Ocean Room, Great Yarmouth – £149,686
The Met Lounge, Peterborough – £63,186
The Waterfront, Norwich – £293,132
No nightclubs in the leading East Midland’s cities of Nottingham or Derby have received the funding or made a public statement to confirm rejection. There is a notable absence of Nottingham’s biggest venue Rock City, and “the midlands mecca of dance music” Stealth.
Lab11, Birmingham – Rejected. Facing closure. Lab11’s crowdfunding can be found here.
“We have done our very best to weather the storm and explore all avenues to be able to operate and generate income. We have had no cultural grant support from the government and now have a legal battle with the police over an unjust £10,000 fixed penalty. Unfortunately, we have reached a point where LAB11 needs your help to ensure that we can fight on and survive, keep our team in jobs and be able to dance beneath the arches again…“Lab 11
The Mill, Birmingham – £283,000
Level, Bolton – £220,00
The Cavern Club, Liverpool – £525K
The Warehouse Project, Manchester £343,000
YES, Manchester – £489,482
42s, Manchester – Rejected. Facing closure. Their crowd funding campaign can be found here.
“Its reputation spreads across the country, not bad for a family run business. Not only have we been nominated as a National Cultural Institution, but 42s’ is also a video game and a Minecraft creation.
“Now, because of Covid restrictions, our very existence is at stake.”Manchester’s 42s
Think Tank Underground, Newcastle – £64,000
The Leadmill, Sheffield – £240,000
Mint Warehouse, Leeds – £166,738
Cheltenham Festivals – £783,939
Glastonbury Festivals iconic venues: Arcadia Spectacular (£237,826) and Block9 (£100,000).
Mint Festival – £100,000
Slamdunk Festival – £175,981
Spitafield Festival – £93,772
Spring Break Festival – £50,000
UK Tech Fest– £50,000
Y NOT FESTIVAL – £240,000
Additional Music Funding
Crack Magazine – £125,320.
FutureDJs – £175,000
Resident Advisor – £750k
Find out more about how you can help your favourite venues and events from our previous article here.
For a full list of Stage 1 & 2 of the Cultural Recovery Fund, please click below.
Words: Elle Farrell-Kingsley
Cover photo: Percolate