Music venue Bush Hall needs to raise £42,000 in four months or close down

Adele has played at the famous venue (Getty Images)
Adele has played at the famous venue (Getty Images)

A west London music venue that has hosted acts from REM to Amy Winehouse, Adele and Alicia Keys will close in four months unless it can raise £42,000.

Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush opened its doors in 2001 but the owners say post-pandemic they face an “incredibly challenging” situation.

They said: “The marketplace and audience perspective has dramatically changed, compounded by the cost of living crisis with declining per head spend, spiralling utility and insurance costs and the end of the fixed rate mortgage.

“This leaves us with devastatingly low margins across the sector. We are now sitting in the red month on month.”

REM singer Michael Stipe (Getty Images)
REM singer Michael Stipe (Getty Images)

They said “the immediate, urgent financial situation” means their bank is forcing them to sell to repay their mortgage “which they are not willing to renew”.

Other acts to have played the former Edwardian dance hall include Florence & The Machine, Toots & the Maytals, The Killers and Nick Cave.

The venue, which can hold 400 people standing, usually puts on around 140 gigs a year but saw a 24.5% decrease in bookings last year.

If it closes it will also be the end for the non-profit music school, Music House for Children, which they also run.

Smaller grassroots venues are struggling across the country - across the UK as a whole last year, two venues closed down every single week.

Dame Caroline Dinenage, who chairs the DCMS Select Committee, has ordered a “full review” of grassroots music venues with round table events where the industry can have its say, and witnesses are expected to start giving evidence to MPs in spring before a full report is prepared but industry figures say action is needed sooner rather than later.

Alicia Keys (Getty Images)
Alicia Keys (Getty Images)

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) have demanded a levy on arena ticket sales that can be passed back down the chain to smaller venues.

The idea is gaining political traction with cross-party support from figures including Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine and Conservative MP Damien Green, who said a levy would “help the small venues produce the superstars of tomorrow”.

Creative Industries Minister Julia Lopez said the government was “supporting talks between different parts of that industry” to try to find a solution.

MVT CEO Mark Davyd said: “Everywhere across the UK we are seeing venue operators struggling to keep live music alive in our towns and cities.

“Bush Hall is the latest iconic space forced to reach out to the public to try and prevent closure, and we hope their campaign to save this very special venue succeeds.

“The live music industry cannot sit on the sidelines watching the grassroots sector lurch from one crowdfunding campaign to another, essential venues closing and whole communities losing the ability to experience live music.

“We need real, concerted action from all stakeholders in the future of UK music and we need it right now.”

- Read more about the crowdfunder here