You may have heard stories in the news lately about the alarming rate that small local music venues are being forced to close down. This sadly is down to a variety of different reasons. It is true that the poor state of the economy means that gig goers have less to send on attending performances, but there is more to the story than this.
Another big factor which is contributing to the demise of small independently owned venues is the rise in popularity of huge arenas such as the First Direct Area in Leeds and Sheffield Arena. Tickets for gigs at these larger venues can be very expensive but this does not seem to put people off, and often major artists will sell out straight away online. This can cause frustration and anger when tickets reappear on secondary ticket sites within hours for a hugely exaggerated price.
Also, the increase in popularity of music festivals is playing a role in hurting smaller venues. There are now a huge number of festivals each year, and when people are forking out for weekend tickets, it goes without saying that they will have less to spend at there local venues.
So exactly why should this matter, and why are these smaller venues such an important part of the music industry in the UK?
The fact us that if we did not have smaller venues such as Fibbers in York, The Forum in Tunbridge Wells and King Tuts in Glasgow, where would upcoming bands get a chance to craft their skill in front of a smaller audience? Not every band can go down the route of appearing on X Factor and going straight into a massive arena tour a few months later. And thank God for that!
It was at the legendary King Tuts that Oasis first came to the attention of Alan Mcgee who promptly signed them up to his Creation Records label and the rest, as they say, is history. Venues such as The Duchesss Of York in Leeds which is sadly no more played host to big names like Nirvarna, before they came to the attention of the rest of the country.
Special gigs like these go down in history and are an essential part of breaking a band to a wider audience. How many time have you heard people talk about the legendary Sex Pistols gig in Salford which was attended by a tiny audience which included people who then went on to form Joy Division, The Smiths and The Fall.
The point is that we need to look after these smaller venues and not take them for granted as much as we do. Next time you are planning a night out to watch some live music, why not see what is on at you local venue before heading to the nearest area? You will save money, you will be supporting a local independent business and you never know, you might just witness the birth of the next Oasis.