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Photograph: Ben Smithson

One of the UK’s most important music venues could be forced to close

Musicians including Elbow’s Guy Garvey are rallying to save Manchester’s Night & Day

Written by
Ellie Muir

The UK is losing loads of its most treasured music venues right now. And that sucks. But sadly, it’s no surprise that one in five nightlife venues have closed down since the pandemic: they face a cocktail of challenges like soaring rent, rising energy bills and noise complaints. Basically, nightlife and music venues are getting pushed out left, right and centre.

Unfortunately for music lovers in the North of England, Manchester’s famous Night & Day is now facing closure. The venue has been a cultural hub for more than 30 years, hosting acts like Elbow, Ed Sheeran, Arctic Monkeys and My Chemical Romance.

Issues began when a resident moved into a new apartment (inside a converted warehouse development) next-door to the venue during lockdown when businesses in the Northern Quarter were shut down and therefore quiet. When the venue reopened and began trading as usual, a noise complaint was made by a resident, according to a press release issued by the venue.

Jennifer Smithson, the venue’s owner, said: ‘What is particularly galling is that the planning department knew about the potential for noise disturbance from Night & Day when it issued the planning consent to turn the warehouse next door into residential flats.’

Smithson claimed that no acoustic report was prepared by the developer before turning the building into a new block of flats. The owner now either has to comply with the requirements of the abatement notice which would effectively ruin Night & Day’s business and trade as a nightlife venue or risk three days in court, which could mean closure and the end of the venue altogether.

Elbow singer Guy Garvey said: ‘This a shameful disgrace and we are furious. Manchester’s music and arts are things we all share and are rightfully proud of.

‘Night & Day has taken hundreds of Manchester artists from bedrooms and garages to the world stage. The vibrant scene started by Night & Day triggered enormous redevelopment in what we now call the Northern Quarter and making all this happen is a constant bill-to-bill balancing act. That this cornerstone of our city’s culture is under attack again is bewildering.’

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), a trade body which represents the industry, has released new figures which show the number of nightclubs in the UK has dropped significantly. In March 2020, the total number of nightclubs was recorded as 1,418. The number has now dropped to 1,130.

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.

Guy Garvey added: ‘The message to the council is drop this and focus on making it the last time it happens to any music venue in our city. This is the council’s problem. Please pour your energy into supporting this campaign to save Night & Day and in due course the national legislation to prevent this from happening to any historic venue that has been nicknamed Jan’s Law [Jan Oldenburg is the late founder of Night & Day].’

The court hearing will take place at the end of November. If you want to support Night & Day, you can sign the petition here

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