Restrictions and licences killing music scene promoter says

A promoter has criticised council regulations, the smoking ban and the recession for killing off the area’s music scene after a major club closed its doors.

Charlie Frame, a Hitchin music promoter and DJ, said the closure last month of Remix nightclub in the town was a result of the pressures venues are facing.

“The recession, the smoking ban - it’s been so hard getting anyone to come out and attend club and gig nights these last couple of years,” he said.

“I think people generally prefer to go and spend their spare change in beer gardens where there’s no door price and they can smoke freely. Plus the council is clamping down so hard on venue owners, with sound restrictions and licenses coming out of their ears.

“It’s just no fun trying to promote and run a Home Counties venue in 2010, which is heartbreaking really.”

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He added that the issue was having a knock on effect on the community: “I don’t know about the future of music or how people who don’t live in a city are supposed to get passionate about it outside of the internet. No more music shops and a dearth of venues means no more community spirit, which just isn’t going to encourage young people to start bands or get into music in the first place.”

Band booker for Rhythms of the World and music promoter Steve Smithers said the Remix business model was always going to be ambitious for a town the size of Hitchin.

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“It was a hard sell. They needed a big audience on a regular basis. It was a very good thing in Hitchin and helped drive the local music scene, but financially it was always going to be challenge of making things work in a small town.”

He added that the problem was exacerbated by a lull in the music scene: “It goes in circles, and it feels like it is waiting for the next thing to come along at the moment.”

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