Hackney mayor urges public to support grassroots venues at risk of closure

Mayor Philip Glanville at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington with local Stoke Newington Councillor Susan Fajana Thomas...

Mayor Philip Glanville at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington with local Stoke Newington Councillor Susan Fajana Thomas, Harry James (Waiting Room’s music promoter) and Miguel Campbell-Lewis (Waiting Room’s General Manager). Picture: Music Venue Trust - Credit: Music Venue Trust

The mayor of Hackney has urged the public to support the borough’s “vibrant cultural scene” in a visit to one of its closed venues.

Music Venue Trust has classified the The Waiting Room as a red venue meaning is is at risk of closure between now and...

Music Venue Trust has classified the The Waiting Room as a red venue meaning is is at risk of closure between now and March, if it does not receive additional support. Picture: Music Venue Trust - Credit: Music Venue Trus

Speaking last week on a visit to The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington, Mayor Phillip Glanville encouraged locals to give money to crowdfunding campaigns which are helping grassroots venues stay afloat during the pandemic.

READ MORE: Hackney and Islington music venues ‘saved from brink of disaster’ with share of emergency funding

The Waiting Room has been highlighted by the charity Music Venue Trust (MVT) as one of thirty “critically” threatened venues across the UK, having been rejected for funding from the Arts Council’s Culture Recovery Fund in the summer.

Mayor Glanville said: “The Waiting Room is an incredibly diverse space. It’s played host to numerous artists that have now broken through to the mainstream.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Hackney’s music venues face “catastrophe” without targeted government support

“But actually, they are part of the wider music culture in the borough and have been closed since March, and that has meant we’ve not seen the incredible live music performances that makes our borough so special.


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“It’s also had an enormous impact on venue owners, artists and all the people who make live music so special and vibrant here in the borough.

“Hackney is known for its live music and it’s creativity and it’s known for its really diverse venues. Without them, we’re not going to have the vibrant cultural scene that Hackney is known for.”

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Mayor Glanville praised the MVT’s #SaveThe30 campaign for highlighting the plight of endangered venues and encouraged locals to support such venues in any way they can.

The MVT’s Traffic Light system ranks venues’ risk of closure as green, amber, or red.

READ MORE: Grassroots music venues make open plea to government for financial support

Red venues, such as The Waiting Room, are those at risk of closure between now and March 31, if they do not receive additional support.

Harry James, booker at The Waiting Room, said: “To lose The Waiting Room is to lose a vital part of Londons nightlife, entertainment and cultural scene.

“The Waiting Room needs saving not just for the wide spread amount of staff we employ [such as] musicians, artists, DJs, comedians, sound engineers, bar staff, reps, equipment hire companies).

“It also needs saving for the benefit of culture in the city and in a country where one of our biggest exports is culture.”

Campaigners and business owners are hopeful for a new injection of cash from local councils after the government announced Additional Restrictions Grants, which aim to support businesses that missed out on other funding schemes.

However, these funds are not targeted specifically at the arts and entertainment sector, and it how they will be distributed remains at the discretion of the council.

Find out more and support The Waiting room by visiting www.crowdfunder.co.uk/thewaitingroom

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