The 100 Club’s Jeff Hortonrecently spoke in parliament about the state of London’s grassroots music scene. The whole discussion can be found online at Parliament TV.
|John from The Midland receives an award|
Is there a future for pubs and live music venues in London? Before we consider any issues about campaigns, we need to consider this fundamental question. The evidence I’ve seen this week confirms what I’ve long believed the situation to be. On Saturday night, at the #SaveLodonMusic/Barnet Eye Xmas Party and annual community awards, we presented The Midland Hotel in Hendon with Barnet Eye pub of the Year and the Campaign to save it with the community campaign of the year.
This morning, Roger Tichborne, founder of The Save London Music Campaign, wrote an email to Danusia Brzeicka (Danusia.Brzezicka@barnet.gov.uk) the Council officer responsible for putting together the case for listing the Midland Hotel as an assett of communty value. We reproduce the letter below. If you have used the venue please email Danusia ASAP and letr her know why you are supporting the application. Please CC in the Save The Midland Campaign (email@example.com). The listing of the venue offers a degree of protection from developers and is a vital tool in the fight to preserve the pub.
If you know of a Grassroots venue that is under threat, please contact us and we will offer advice and support.
Please would you add my support to the case supporting the application for Community Value for the Midland Hotel in Hendon.
It is absolutely essential that this facility is retained for use by the public. There are many community users of the pub, of which I am just one. I am involved in a Campaign called “Save London Music”. This is a London wide campaign working to save grassroots music venues. The Midland Hotel was the site of our launch party in Feb 2015, and has been regularly used to hold music events since. The Campaign will be having its fourth Birthday party at the venue in February 2019. The Campaign has been recognised by BBC Radio London (especially award winning presenter Robert Elms) as a vital element of preserving Londons music scene and Robert recently read out a statement of support for the campaign on his show. In association with Robert, we have documented all of Londons grassroots venues and organised gigs at the majority of them (https://barneteye.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-big-london-venue-project-in.html )
There is no other similar venue in West Hendon. Over the past two years, there have been regular gigs organised by a whole host of Barnet musicians – some of these are documented in this Facebook thread on the Barnet Music page, used by Barnet Musicians – https://www.facebook.com/groups/1045197652201290/permalink/2035103413210704/
I have also used the venue on several occasions to host The Barnet Eye community awards, which recognises local charities and community campaigners. Organisations such as Colindale Foodbank and Barnet Housing Action have been recognised. (https://barneteye.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-saturday-list-109-barnet-eye-annual.html )
As a venue for wedding parties, funerals and other family events the venue is a vital and sadly unique venue. A good friend of mine recently had the wake for both her brother in law and mother at the venue. As a relatively low cost and community pub, it is an option for many who can’t afford more expensive venues.
Finally, the pub has an important role as a meeting place for local people. I am aware that the argument that developers and owners often make is that pubs are under utilised and part of a dying culture. The Midland has seen a decent turnaround over the last few years especially as a result of the live music offering. There is a huge untapped market for such a venue. This has been demonstrated by the transformation in Colindale of The Chandos Arms from a failing pub on its last legs three years ago to a vibrant, profitable business that won the UK Brewing Awards National Community Pub. The Landlord of the Midland is keen to emulate the success of the Chandos but cannot sensibly make the investment necessary to move the pub forward until such time as the future of the pub is secured. He has made small changes, such as bringing in a well used table tennis table and working with me to provide live music, but cannot sensibly invest in his own sound system and changes necessary without a guarantee of the future.
The fact that the planning application to knock down the Midland attracted over 500 objections demonstrated just how strong the local feeling is to preserve the Midland Hotel. Now please give John and the Team the security they need to take the pub forward and ensure that future generations of residents of West Hendon have a great pub, a grassroots music venue for budding musicians, somewhere to celebrate weddings and mourn the passing of those we love and somewhere to organise community events.
Founder of The Save London Music campaign
—- Don’t forget to make a date in your diary for The Save London Music party and Barnet Eye Community awards at Mill Hill Rugby Club on Fri 14th December at Mill Hill Rugby Club at 8pm. We really hope you can come down and say Hi. Admission is Free.
The Save London Music Campaign is saddened to learn of a proposal to redevelop the Midland Hotel, one of the areas best loved pubs. This venue has a close association with our campaign, hosting our original launch party in February 2015 and our annual campaign Birthday party.
The details of the plan are as follows
(for full details click here https://publicaccess.barnet.gov.uk/online-applications/ and put 18/4961/FUL in the search key)
The Save London Music Campaign is delighted to have been informed that our submission has been accepted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport as part of their inquiry into Live Music. Submissions have also been accepted by several other campaigns we have links with (Click here for the full list). We are pleased to see that the Live Music Forum, Association of Independent Festivals and Music Venues Trust have also seen their submissions accepted. It is interesting to see that much of what these three submissions say is the same, if phrased in a different manner, although the Association of Independent Festivals submission has a slightly different tack, as the issue of ticket abuse is tackled.
The Save London Music Campaign has primarily been concerned with preservation of the venues, studios and creative spaces in London. None of these would have a purpose without music promoters. Good promoters have, over the years, defined the shape of the London Music scene. Generally the very best combine a love of music, a passion for a specific genre, a strong focused vision and a good degree of business acumen. One of the very best of these is Sean Flowerdew. Back in 1988 Sean set up the London International Ska Festival. Anyone who loves Ska, Reggae, Calypso and Rhythm and Blues will have in some way had their lives touched by the Ska Festival. Since 1988 the festival have been bringing legends over from Jamaica, showcasing local talent and keeping the genre of music on the map. Many amazing artists, who had years of struggle have seen their careers revived by the efforts of Sean and his team. I recently saw the legendary Jamaican artist Derrick Morgan at the Jazz Cafe. The resurgence in his career was a direct result of the support from the festival. Amazing London bands such as the Potato 5 have also been kept on the map. This year the festival saw legends such as Ken Booth and Desmond Dekker appearing.
By Roger Tichborne, Founder of the Save London Music Campaign.
Summer feels like it has arrived in our little corner of the worlds greatest city. Even better news is that we have a couple of amazing weekends of live music coming up. On the 19th and 20th, we have the amazing North Finchley Festival. There will be nearly 60 bands playing at six venues in North Finchley. We’ve got an eclectic mix of music with just about every genre of music represented.
After a decade and a half of decline, we are finally starting to see the tide turn in the battle to save Londons live music scene. In 2016 the Mayor of London set up a London Music Board and has also appointed a Night Tzar for music (Amy Lame). A recent report by the board has reported that the tide is turning and for the first time in a decade, the number of grassroots venues has remained stable.