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