Grassroots Hitchin music venue saved from closure after emergency funding granted

PUBLISHED: 11:30 24 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:32 24 August 2020

Jump for joy! Club 85 in Hitchin has received its share of the government's emergency Culture Recovery Fund. Picture: Gary Durham

Jump for joy! Club 85 in Hitchin has received its share of the government's emergency Culture Recovery Fund. Picture: Gary Durham

Gary Durham

A beloved live music venue in the heart of Hitchin has received much-needed emergency funding, which it hopes will ensure its survival following the coronavirus pandemic.

Local music venue, Club 85 in Whinbush Road, will be boosted with £6,845 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Club 85 forms one of 135 grassroots music venues that are set to receive emergency funding to help local venues survive after a devastating period during the coronavirus pandemic.

Venues could apply for emergency grants of up to £80,000 to cover on-going running costs incurred during closure, including rent and utilities.

The accelerated funding has been delivered by Arts Council England in under a month to save grassroots venues facing huge challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Bob Mardon, owner at Club 85, was delighted with the news and hinted at a safe return to shows later in the year.

He said: “Club 85 has been the only dedicated live music venue in this area for over 20 years and is where so many careers in the music industry have started including names like James Bay, Enter Shikari and The Subways as well as many others who are now professional lighting techs, sound engineers, promoters, record company execs and more.”

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“Like all venues across the country, we have been unable to open since March, 20, so to get this lifeline at the moment is a great help.

“This is a small part of the Cultural Recovery Fund that will support venues like us to keep us going for the next couple of months.

“Hopefully our application to the main fund will be successful too and we’ll be able to present a full programme of socially distanced shows starting in October or November.”

Venues could apply for emergency grants of up to £80,000 to cover on-going running costs incurred during closure, including rent and utilities.

£3.36 million was shared between 135 music venues, including Club 85, who successfully applied for emergency support to survive the imminent threat of closure.

The accelerated funding has been delivered by Arts Council England in under a month to save grassroots venues facing huge challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, and Hertsmere MP, said: “Grassroots music venues are where the magic starts and these emergency grants will ensure they survive to create the stars of the future.

“At this difficult time we are here for culture, so I’m delighted Club 85 is being helped. This funding reflects its importance to its community and the musicians it supports.”


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