The infamous music venue the Flapper in Birmingham is being threatened with closure. Supposed rumors have surfaced of plans for the venue to undergo new development. But, there has currently not been any official statement. Many gig-goers have expressed their concerns. And with Brexit around the corner, what will the future of the UK music scene look like?
Birmingham has also seen other local venue closures. The Rainbow in Digbeth - which has supported live music since 2004 - recently closed in May. Furthermore, the closure of these venues is having a major impact on the independent music scene.
Consequently, it could be attributed to the fact that recently the Arts Council England (AEC) rejected an application for funding from the charity set up to defend their interests. In addition, they have also been accused of favoring ‘high’ culture over the initiative to help small clubs. As a result, this trend seems to be stifling the UK music scene. The Music Venue Trust said they could not “even begin to guess” how many clubs will close before the next round of funding in 2022. While in London, more than 430 live music venues have closed due to the rising costs of rental fees and complaints made by local residents.
Such cuts are also affecting the foundation of music and culture in primary schools with underfunded arts budgets. The effect of this - according to a report by Warwick university - is that between 2003 and 2013 there has been a 50% drop in GCSE numbers for design and technology and other practices related subjects. The number of arts teachers has also dropped 11 percent since 2010.
The aftermath of England leaving the European market - a.k.a. Brexit - will most definitely have an impact on the music scene.
Firstly, this may have the effect of raising ticket prices for internationally performing artists which, in turn, will affect people from buying. And it's not like artists aren't already getting the short end of the stick.
Secondly, the fluctuating value of the pound could also affect the profits for the international promoters, meaning less for artists and rising costs for attendees.
Lastly, the venues themselves with rising operating costs and smaller margins, venue owners are going to have to get creative to stay afloat.
With venues closing and the havoc of Brexit on music scenes, what are your views on what may happen to the music industry? Leave us a comment below or join the conversation on social media.
Written by: Danny Wallin
Edited by: Alex Dudley