Let me give you a little background to the campaign launch.
It has become clear to us that the London Music Scene is undergoing a period of severe danger. Everyone associated with Music in London is aware of venue and studio closures. Through my work with Mill Hill Music Complex, which is North West Londons largest independent studio complex, I meet hundreds of musicians every week and we hear more and more stories. Many of our new customers are driving from the four corners of London, because their local studios have shut. They also tell of losing regular gigs down to pub and club closurrs.
Locally we are seeing the devastating effects of this. We sponsor the bi-annual Mill Hill Music Festival. This will take place this June this year. Organising this years festival, we observed that in Mil Hill alone, we’ve lost six major venues where we held events over the last six years.
The Mill Pub,
The Angel & Crown Pub,
St Josephs College,
The Mill Hill Sports Club
The Bell at Mill Hill
Four have been lost for luxury flat development, one has been knocked down to accommodate a new school and one has been converted into an Italian restaurant chain. This is all in one tiny corner of London. If you then look across London as a whole, you see the pattern repeated time and time again. Nothing is being spared in the rush to build flats and cash in on property portfolios. The most recent of a long line of iconic venues to close has been The 12 Bar club in Denmark Street. Just around the corner, the Astoria was lost as part of Crossrail.
Even more worrying is the loss of recording and rehearsal studio space in London. Typically rehearsal and recording studios are in industrial/workshop areas which are being gobbled up and redeveloped. In North West London, we’ve seen a whole host of well respected studios close, not because there was no demand, but because their buildings were more valuable as “development assets” recently we ‘ve lost Downs Sound in http://downssounds.co.uk/ and Station Studios, both in Southgate. This has caused a huge gap in provision in North West London. This is repeated all across London.
You may wonder, what does this all matter? Well the value of creative industries to the UK is immense. This government report details the huge contribution to the UK economy, £8 Million an hour.
Any sane local, regional and national administration would be taking firm action to preserve this sector and to allow it to thrive. What we have seen is the exact opposite. This article by Jimmy Mulvihill of Bally Studios details just how difficult it is to open a new space http://freshonthenet.co.uk/2015/01/deathlondon2/
When Mill Hill Music Complex redeveloped our studios, thousands were spent on acoustic surveys to pacify planners, despite the studios being ¼ a mile away from nearest residential housing and being next to the M1 and Midland Mainline that generate and average background ambient noise of 74db. It didn’t occur to the planners that a studio requires soundproofing to do its job. If there was none, no band could rehearse due to bleed.
So what can be done? Well there are a few things that could make a huge difference.
1) Give tax breaks for companies investing in soundproofing for live music, rehearsal and recording.
2) Designate established music related sites (venues, studios, etc) as protected sites with stringent planning rules around change of use planning applications.
3) Require local authorities to ensure that provision of spaces for music are integral parts of all large scale planning applictions.
4) Offer music related venues & establishments statutory protection from noise related complaints from neighbouring new build developments.
5) Require local authorities to ensure that music venues are not left empty to rot by developers seeking to get around planning laws.
So what can we do?
We are in the process of launching the campaign and are currently contacting various organisations such as Bandspace, London Rehearsal Studios, London Venues, London Bands to agree a common platform and a coordinated campaign. We have launched the Hashtag #SaveLondonMusic and we are asking all interested parties and organisatons to tweet every Friday and Saturday using the #SaveLondonMusic tag and highlight any gigs, events, threatened closures, campaigns to reopen venues etc. We also ask all musicians etc to retweet any tweets with this #Tag. Please do everything you can to support the launch on twitter.
Post details of the campaign on your facebook site. Urge your followers etc to get involved.
Write to your local MP and ask them to get involved in supporting the campaign. Ask them to visit your studios, venue or other music organisation. There is an election in May, so contact opposition parties as well and ask for their support. Use Twitter and Facebook to publicise positive and negative responses.
Email local press and other media, to notify them that you are supporting the campaign.
Anyone interested in joining the campaign, we are officially launching it on Twitter next Friday 27th February.
Please support this cmpaign
Roger Tichborne Save London Music Campaign coordinator.
If you want more details contact Roger Tichborne at Mill Hill Music Complex via email@example.com