Wire Club in Leeds announces closure

Leeds club Wire has announced that it is to permanently close its doors in June.

The long-running venue, which includes a 300-capacity live music space in the basement, is just the latest casualty of a grassroots live music industry that is under increasing pressure.

Confirming the news on Instagram, Wire wrote: “It is with great sadness that we are announcing the permanent closure of Wire on Sunday 2 June 2024.”

“Since re-opening after the pandemic the UK nightlife industry has been under immense pressure which we have not been immune to,” they continued. “The cost-of-living crisis & changing lifestyle choices coinciding with other looming commercial challenges unique to the venue has gradually led to the unavoidable outcome that the club can no longer operate as a viable business.”

“Although the journey is about to end, we are grateful for the past 18 years & our mission to create an underground electronic music venue dedicated to Drum & Bass, House & Techno that Leeds could be proud of has been well & truly achieved.”

“Thanks to all our customers for coming time & time again & for spreading their love for electronic music. It has been an honour to serve you & we will miss every single one of you.”

“As you can see from our closing date, we still have over a month of parties left, so we look forward to seeing you on the dance floor before the lights come on to signal the end of our epic journey. Keep your eyes peeled for some special additional closing party events that we’ll be announcing soon too,” they concluded.

A report in January from the Music Venue Trust (MVT) outlined the “disaster” that has struck the UK’s grassroots venues over the last year.

The findings revealed that 125 UK venues abandoned live music in 2023 (approximately two per week) and that over half of them had shut entirely.

In response to the crisis, music industry figures argued for a £1 ticket levy for all arena-sized gigs and above during a recent UK Parliamentary session, in order to secure the future of grassroots venues and artists.

“The first impact we need to realise is that is 125 communities that have lost access to live music on their doorstep,” Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd told the hearing. “The impact on those communities and the artists that live in those communities is very dramatic. The closure of a space like Bath Moles obviously has a huge impact on the pipeline, but it also has a huge impact on Bath as a music city. We need to recognise that across the country, we are seeing young people, communities of music fans, finding new music and live music further and further away from them.”

The Featured Artists Coalition  – a trade union body representing the needs of musicians and artists in the UK – then wrote to NME to argue that while the survival of venues is “essential”, any kind of ‘Premier League’ model to be adopted by the industry needs to take into account keeping creators in pocket and being able to exist, as well as ways to open up the world of music to different genres, backgrounds and audiences.

“What good is it keeping venues open if artists can’t afford to perform in them?” asked FAC CEO David Martin.

The loss of grassroots music venues is despite record-breaking billions being spent on ticket sales in the UK, with summer 2023 seeing a bumper calendar for stadium and outdoor gigs – including 1million people attending live music events in London just in one week alone back in July, thanks to huge outdoor shows from the likes of Bruce SpringsteenBlur, The 1975, Billy Joel and Lana Del Rey.

You can view the original article HERE.

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