16 July 2020 18:36
Manchester music lovers are tonight lamenting the loss of two of the city's most popular music venues. The Deaf Institute and Gorilla are to shut for good as a result of the coronavirus lockdown and continued restrictions on the live music sector, owners Mission Mars confirmed this afternoon. Music industry figures and gig-goers have been sharing their memories as they mourn the closures. The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess said he was sad to hear the news. "I've played and watched gigs in both and they were the lifeblood of Manchester's vital network of venues," he tweeted.
"It's awful news but seems inevitable that so many more independent venues will be lost." (Image: Jason Lock Photography) Hits Radio presenter Hattie Pearson, who hosted the popular Girls on Film club night at the venue, said she was 'sobbing' at the news. She said she had 'so many magical memories' there - 'even if it did have dodgy air con and creepy Dolly Parton wallpaper'. Manchester band The Blinders said the two venues had hosted some of the best nights of their lives. "Both were real marker stones and gave us a little reminder we were on the right track," they tweeted. "We need these venues and these spaces. We're all poorer without them." M.E.N and CityLife readers have also been sharing their sadness at the news on Facebook. Hugh Dannatt wrote: "Absolutely gutted. Easily among the best venues in Manchester, and decent cafes/bars to boot. Jordan Smith said: "I absolutely loved The Deaf Institute. Always found the staff extremely friendly and the food absolutely amazing. Was a fun venue for a gig as well. Big shame this." (Image: Colin Horne) Sue Sumner posted: "Absolutely gutted. These were fantastic venues for live music. Gorilla's wonderful Sunday lunches.Great staff. So sad. The Government needs to be doing more to help." John Pemberton wrote: "Real shame. Have attended both of these venues in the past. This is a real kick in the teeth for up and coming bands etc trying to make a name for themselves." Scott Matthews added: "These are still great venues that hosted many a rammed gig.. hopefully another operator can come in with the funds and carry them on as there will still be a need for venues like this in the near future.. would be such a waste a damage to the scene if they was to change what the space is used for or never re-open." The Music Venues Trust, which supports grassroots venues throughout the UK, said it was devastated to learn of the loss of the 'iconic' venues. A spokeswoman said Mission Mars had 'regrettably' not reached out to them for help and urged any other venues at risk to get in touch. "We would emphasise again that any grassroots music venue operator considering closure should please contact Music Venue Trust first so that we can explore all options to prevent closure and support the location of alternative operators where that is an option," she said. "We have been warning for months that the situation faced by grassroots music venues was unsustainable and would result in the closure of spaces people love and artists need unless there was concerted, strategic action. "That action now needs to be accelerated to prevent hundreds of other venues from being lost right across the country." "We understand that the future of all these spaces as grassroots music venues may be salvageable, and we strongly Manchester City Council to bring together all stakeholders in the city to see what can be done to secure the premises, locate alternative operators and prevent these vital spaces being permanently lost." Music venues are still not permitted to stage live performances. Only outdoor, socially-distanced gigs have been given the go-ahead so far, and there's been no indication yet of when indoor shows may be able to resume. The Government announced a £1.57 billion package of support for the live music, arts, culture and heritage sector earlier this month, but it has not yet been made clear how this will be distributed. We'd love to hear more of your memories of The Deaf Institute and Gorilla. You can share them in the comments below, tweet us @CityLifeManc or join in the conversation on Facebook.