In Haunt

The city’s independent music venues are a key part of Manchester’s identity, its cultural vibrancy… places that, even during a time of lockdown, so many can reflect fondly on. These are places where creativity is nurtured, artistic experimentation unfolds, cutting-edge talent emerges and an underground scene booms. Memories made. Communities connected. These venues mean so much to so many… and now they need the support of the public more than ever.

The current (at the time of writing – May 2020) Covid-19 pandemic and measures taken means that music venues have had to temporarily close. Yet a number face the prospect of never opening their doors again, as they struggle to cover lost earnings and a huge loss of trade. In turn, the Music Venue Trust has launched the #SaveOurVenues campaign, involving venues across the country and inviting the public to donate and spread the word. Manchester venues so far include Band on the Wall, Night People & The Twisted Wheel, The Rose & Monkey HotelThe Castle HotelThe Eagle Inn, Gullivers and The Stoller Hall, with more expected to join.

Band On The Wall By JP Brown Pictured above - Band on the Wall. Credit: JP Brown

The venues listed as participating so far highlights the eclectic nature of Manchester’s music scene. Band on the Wall (Crowdfunder link here) is one of the oldest music venues in Manchester, and in this previous article Haunt explored its fascinating history, with entertainment on the site spanning back centuries. It is recognised as one of Manchester’s truly iconic locations, celebrating local and international talent, featuring a range of genres – from gritty guitar gigs to vibrant reggae, jazz and World Music. It has also supported a variety of local and grassroots artists over the years, as well as become a home to the offices of Brighter Sound, a charity and music education organisation that aims to connect young people with creative opportunities.

Meanwhile, The Stoller Hall (Crowdfunder link here), located alongside Chetham’s School of Music, is another stunning venue – winner of a RIBA Award for its architecture and known for its innovative classical concerts. This included Scoring Fear: An Evening of Classical Music and Gothic Horror Film Scores in a unique collaboration between the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies and the BBC Philharmonic as part of the Gothic Manchester Festival 2018. For gutsy gigs and plenty of cutting-edge creativity, Night People & The Twisted Wheel on Princess Street has built on the history of the iconic Twisted Wheel Club with its vibrant programme of alternative artists, exciting grassroots music and clubnights. Haunt Manchester also wrote more about its history in a previous article here. It's 'sister venue' is The Rose & Monkey Hotel, a relatively new venue on Swan Street, close to the Northern Quarter and Ancoats. It's already made a mark, its pub interior complete with charming décor and a usually lively programme of content, including intimate gigs, open mics, poetry evenings and plenty more. (Crowdfunder link for Night People & The Twisted Wheel as well as The Rose & Monkey Hotel here).

Pictured below - the artist Dirty Freud performing at Night People. Credit: Shay Rowan 

Shay Rowan

Meanwhile The Castle Hotel, The Eagle Inn and Gullivers (Crowdfunder link for the three here) are all atmospheric pub venues known for their live music spaces. Outside of lockdown, the Northern quarter’s Gullivers is typically thriving most nights with eclectic gigs in the upstairs ballroom space, complete with its high stage and historic interior. A short distance away, practically on the other side of the street, is The Castle Hotel, a quirky pub with its much-loved snug as well as an intimate back room usually bustling with live music – a much-loved place for grassroots artists, featuring everything from acoustic acts to indie, electronic and industrial bands. The iconic Eagle Inn completes the trio, a brick-red boozer just over the Irwell in Salford, close to the famous Blueprint Studios and covered in more detail by an earlier Haunt Manchester article here. Its hidden-within music venue certainly is striking – the building knocked-through into a former terraced house next door, creating space for a stage and evocatively high ceiling with balcony space. The Eagle provides an intimate setting, the chance to see cutting-edge artists new and established alike. To lose any of these venues would be devastating.

There are other participating venues in Greater Manchester too, including The Snug Coffee House in Atherton and The Met in Bury.

Full details of how people can support participating places is available on the #SaveOurVenues website, and venues can still get involved and sign up online. Here at Haunt Manchester, we want to celebrate the fantastic creative force that independent venues are - these are after all places that have championed culture of all kinds right from the very grassroots –created communities that continue to thrive and have given so much, to so many.

https://saveourvenues.co.uk/#/

By Emily Oldfield 

Photo credits in the image captions 

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