5 ways to support small venues post Covid restrictions

In 2020, NME wrote an excellent article on how you can do your bit to help save the future of live music in the midst of the pandemic lockdowns.

Two and a half years on, all restrictions have been lifted, Covid is still very much out there and we have been catapulted into a cost of living crisis, dashing all hopes of a post-pandemic surge in gig goers.

According to an article in Time Out, The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), a trade body which represents the industry, has released new figures from the Night Time Industries Association last year show the number of nightclubs in the UK has dropped by around a fifth since the start of the pandemic – and with the end of any government help and the lower audiences due to the cost of living crisis, this is likely to get worse.

This means that around a fifth of UK nightlife venues have shut down since the start of the pandemic. The number is even worse in some regions, with the Midlands seeing a closure of 30 per cent of clubs.

So, what can you do now to ensure that your local live music venues are still here for you this time next year?

1. Get thee to a gig!

Well, it’s obvious, but the first thing is to go to a gig! Even pre-pandemic, running a live music venue was an act of faith in a very up-and-down market. Football fixtures, bad weather or even something popular on TV can turn a normally sure thing booking into a night that makes a loss. Live music is like nothing else on earth – a chance to really immerse yourself in sound and words, interact directly with the artist and meet likeminded people.

A lot of us are still feeling a level of anxiety about Covid (and rightly so, it is still very much out there) and many are suffering from levels of social anxiety after so long in lockdown. Small venues can be a great way to dip your toe back in the water of going to live events.

The best way to hear about all of our upcoming gigs is to join our mailing list – social media is too sketchy! Speaking of – here’s another way to help…

2. Interact on social media

Facebook et al have become ever more tricksy when it comes to getting posts seen. We have regular comments and messages from people who see posts about our gigs three days after they’ve happened – which is infuriating for us and for our potential gig goers! If you see a post from your local live music venue, like it and give it a share.

3. Tell your friends

Humans are social creatures and we rely on recommendations from friends to encourage us to do new things. If you book tickets for a gig, take 10 seconds to post on your socials that you’ll be going to the gig and encourage others to meet you there. Who knows, it might be a good way to reconnect with one of those folks you haven’t seen since before you-know-what aka March 2020!

4. Post when you’re there

Remind people of the joy of live gigs by uploading a photo of the band, or a selfie of you enjoying the show. Again, humans do what they see other humans doing – and the culture of supporting live music in person has been eroded by the lockdowns, so do your part to build it back up again.

5. Find and support campaigns to make live music more sustainable long term

Support the Music Venue’s Trust ‘Own Our Venues‘ campaign. A long term plan to buy the Freeholds of key music venues to secure their future from the vagaries of the commercial property market.

We can’t write this post without acknowledging that many disabled and chronically ill people are still in a lockdown state most of the time. For this reason, we still livestream most of our events and have tickets on a pay-as-you-feel basis – our livestreams are also free to all of our Patreon supporters.

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About janifranck

Artist, activist, founding director of The Art House in Southampton.
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