Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Music's 'Toilet Circuit' Is Getting Flushed Away

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Music's 'Toilet Circuit' Is Getting Flushed Away

Article excerpt

Byline: Adam Sherwin The Independent

IT IS affectionately known as the ''toilet circuit'', the network of small music venues across Britain from which the next stadium-filler might emerge. But now these noisy backroom clubs could face the threat of closure unless ministers change the law to protect them.

Soaring rents, residents seeking to enforce noise pollution orders, and developers converting neighbouring office blocks into apartments have combined to force struggling venues, which have traditionally spawned stars from Arctic Monkeys to Ed Sheeran, to close their doors.

Noise issues have forced the closure of the Freebutt in Brighton and the 200 Club in Newport, Gwent.

Ed Sheeran backed a successful campaign to rescue the Boileroom in Guildford, Surrey, where he once played. Also under threat are Liverpool music venues The Kazimier and Nation, the home of Cream.

The Buffalo Bar, a sweaty 300-capacity dive in Islington, north London, which gave Foals and The Horrors early breaks, is the latest music venue facing closure. The owners say they have been evicted at short notice by freeholder County Estate Pubs, and its leaseholder, Stonegate Pub Company.

The rock trio The Subways and former shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, the local MP, are protesting against the decision. ''It's been going for years, and some very important bands started there,'' Ms Thornberry said. ''It's been around for 14 years, opening late, and no one has complained to me. I've written to the leaseholders and hopefully they'll come round.''

Developers are being encouraged by planning law amendments to bring disused spaces back into use. They are allowed to build flats on top of an established venue, move the residents in and if one person complains about the noise, that venue could face closure.

More than 30,000 music fans have signed an e-petition urging the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to ensure anyone who buys or rents a property within a set distance of a music venue should sign a waiver giving up the right to complain about noise.

Frank Turner, the folk-punk singer, and ambassador for January's Independent Venue Week, hopes to meet Culture Secretary Sajid Javid to broker a solution. …

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