Over 80% of nightclubs and live music locations could face extinction before the end of February if they do not receive government support, a nighttime community organisation has warned.
The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says that hardship caused by 11 months of closures has meant this month could be “the last stand” for many late-night venues – and is calling for sector-specific support for the worst-hit businesses.
A recent survey of over 100 nightclubs has revealed that 88% are over two months in rent arrears, whilst 86% have been forced to make redundancies.
According to NTIA, the data also showed that 43% of nightclubs had received no grant support at any point during the pandemic.
Company CEO Michael Kill has called the situation a “tragedy for UK culture” – expressing concern that planning legislation may see in-debt buildings being claimed back by landlords and turned into housing.
Kill stated: “Throughout this pandemic and the restrictive measures levied against the sector, it is clear that these businesses are being systematically eradicated from society.”
“The current proposed changes in planning reform under permitted development rights is a huge threat to the sector as this has the potential to allow for the demolition and rebuilding of ‘vacant and redundant’ light industrial buildings as homes.
“Given that over 88% of nightclub businesses are over two quarters of rent in arrears, we are poised for a windfall of landlords at the end of March when the Forfeiture Moratoria comes to end, reclaiming their property and utilising this mechanism to convert many of our much loved cultural spaces and social environments into housing.”
The NTIA is now calling on the government to deliver a tailored financial package and clear roadmap for reopening.
Former Hacienda resident Graeme Park labelled the government’s response to the crisis “highly frustrating and disappointing”.
The DJ stated: “The cultural significance of this vibrant and varied sector has given employment to many for decades and now faces an uncertain future.
“We need the government to enter into meaningful discussion to help support a sector that is recognised around the world for its creativity before it’s too late.”
Manchester musician DJ Paulette claims the arts and events sector has been “unable to operate to any effective level” since March 2020.
“Whilst rents and taxes continue to cripple businesses, this situation is reaching critical mass,” she added.
“A watertight rescue package is needed in order to support and restore the sector and to help it to return to world-beating form.”
A £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund was created in 2020 by the government to help keep venues alive – but several nightclubs have continued to suffer hardship.
In November, iconic Manchester nightclub 42s launched a fundraiser due to “little financial assistance from the government beyond the furlough scheme”, generating more than £21,000 in the process.
Sounds From The Other City festival in Salford also announced it would be suspending its 2021 edition and running a campaign to raise money from fans in the hope of making next year’s event possible.
So far, music fans are doing their bit to keep live music and clubbing alive. But government assistance may be necessary to secure the future of many venues in the nighttime industry.
Manchester Pride Festival reveals 2023 line-up, including Pabllo Vittar, Jake Shears and Natasha Bedingfield
Manchester Pride Festival has just revealed its 2023 line-up, promising the most diverse and representative bill of performers to date across the city’s world-famous Gay Village.
The beloved LGBTQ+ celebration will be back in the city over the August bank holiday weekend, shining a spotlight on local and international queer talent.
The Gay Village Party will have a line-up that’s 96% queer, with 54% of performers women, 51% people of colour, and more than 42% from trans and non-binary communities.
Headlining will be Brazilian drag sensation Pabllo Vittar, international pop star (and former Scissor Sisters vocalist) Jake Shears, and RuPaul’s Drag Race UK winner Danny Beard.
They’ll be joined by pop performances from Natasha Bedingfield, and Lisa Scott-Lee from STEPS.
The line-up has been co-created with Manchester’s queer communities, and will span four days and multiple venues and stages.
Manchester Pride Festival will once again host takeovers, including the Queer Asian Takeover, Trans Filth & Joy, Black Pride MCR and the Queer Women’s Takeover.
The main performances will take place on three stages; the Village stage, the Mancunity stage, and the Alan Turing stage.
Takeovers this year include the Queer Asian Takeover, Trans Filth & Joy, Black Pride MCR and the Queer Women’s Takeover.
Back to that line-up then, and Pabllo Vittar is the most-followed drag queen in the world, with a social following of 34.8m and 4m monthly listeners on Spotify.
Meanwhile Jake Shears has dominated the charts while part of the Scissor Sisters with hits including Filthy/Gorgeous and I Don’t Feel Like Dancing. He’s now pursuing a solo career with a new album due to be released later this year.
Local drag star Danny Beard is also back on the line-up hosting Danny Beard and Friends for the fifth consecutive year.
Also returning to Manchester Pride Festival is multidimensional cultural icon Cheddar Gorgeous, who placed as runner-up in last year’s RuPaul’s Drag Race UK (beaten only by Danny Beard).
They’ll be joined by season four Drag Race UK stars Black Peppa and Dakota Schiffer.
The festival’s first Queer Asian Takeover will celebrate queer brown joy, headlined by international DJ Gok Wan, who will be joined on stage by local talent including The Bitten Peach, a gender-diverse, pan-Asian collective showcasing joy and excellence, Gracie T, who runs a South Asian creative collective and platform for unrepresented artists, and House of Spice, an LGBTQ+ South Asian and Middle Eastern performance house.
Trans led and curated event Trans Filth & Joy, hosted by Milk Presents and Trans Creative, returns for 2023 where party-goers can expect to be entertained by a night packed with DJs, drag, burlesque, cabaret, activism and music. Headlining Trans Filth & Joy is British drag queen BIMINI, who is best known for competing on the second series of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, and has since been awarded ‘Drag Hero’ by Gay Times magazine.
Black Pride MCR will take festival goers on a musical journey, celebrating the black roots of house music, disco, funky house, vocal and tribal, all brought together by exceptional DJs and iconic dancers.
Fat Pride also returns, celebrating big bodies with an evening of dancing, partying, showing off and feeling good.
The Cabaret Stage will again host The Enby Show, described as an ‘electric, unique and vibrant’ gender-bending variety show that ‘bins the binary and crashes the cis-tem’.
This stage will also host Pecs Drag Kings, a female/non-binary theatre and cabaret company who’ve been creating critically acclaimed shows for the LGBTQ+ community since 2013.
Festival goers can also expect exciting and diverse performances from Queeriosity Cabaret, Cutie-POC Cabaret, and Disabled Queer Joy Cabaret.
Other events announced as part of the Pride celebrations include Youth Pride MCR and Family Pride MCR, where young people and families will be able to join in the celebrations with a series of performances and events, such as Ginny Lemon’s Dog Show, an unmissable doggy extravaganza, and Disney Classics performed by The Untold Orchestra.
Other performers include Kelly Llorenna from N-Trance (Set You Free), Jodie Harsh, Misty Chance and Friends, Lucky Roy Singh, Queen Bayard, La Discothèque Orchestra, Manchester Residents Blasha and Allatt (Meat Free/Frixxxion), Kim Lana, Mix-Stress and Friends, SWAGGA, Monopoly Phonic, Kele Le Roc, and Tom Aspaul.
Mark Fletcher, CEO of Manchester Pride, said: “We have worked closely with our communities to offer a line-up that is for the community, by the community. As a world leading city and an organisation that is spearheading the global Pride movement, our aim is to provide a platform which elevates and showcases local queer performers alongside renowned international LGBTQ+ talent, with a little support from our allies. This is Manchester and this is how our communities want us to celebrate our Pride.
“We are so proud to announce that our line-up consists of 96% queer performers, 54% female performers, 51% people of colour, and over 42% trans and non-binary performers.”
Manchester Pride Festival, in partnership with Booking.com, takes place over four days in Manchester city centre on August bank holiday weekend (25 – 28 August) and is made up of several fringe events.
The events of Manchester Pride Festival 2023 are free to attend with the exception of the Gay Village Party, tickets for which can be purchased through Ticketmaster now. £2.50 from every ticket will be donated to the Manchester Pride Community Fund, with the money going directly to LGBTQ+ causes and projects in Greater Manchester through the distribution of grants.
The Manchester Pride Festival 2023 Gay Village Party line-up in full
Pabllo Vittar | Jake Shears
Natasha Bedingfield | Danny Beard | Jodie Harsh | Gok Wan | BIMINI |
Lisa Scott-Lee | Cheddar Gorgeous | Black Peppa | Jonbers Blonde | Monki | Gracie T | Angie Brown | La Discotheque Orchestra | Kelly Llorenna (N-Trance) | Dakota Schiffer | Ginny Lemon’s Dog Show | Blasha and Allatt (Meat Free/Frixxxion)
Kim Lana | Mix-Stress and Friends | The Bitten Peach | House of Spice | The Enby Show | Queeriosity Cabaret | The Noirtones | Queer Women’s Takeover | SWAGGA | Black Pride MCR | Danny Beard and Friends | Fat Pride | Cutie-POC Cabaret | Queer Asian Takeover | Disabled Queer Joy Cabaret | Trans Filth and Joy | Misty Chance and Friends | Your Manchester | Monopoly Phonic | Kele Le Roc performing Basement Jaxx ‘Romeo’ | Val The Brown Queen and Blaq Ivory presents | The Runway by Banksie | DJ Stacy Bee | Tom Aspaul | Violet Blonde | Lucky Roy Singh | Jsky | Reeta Loi | Queen Bayard | Barb | Lady Bushra | Misty Chance | The BollyWitch | Lill | Banskie | Joanna Cuddle | Sam Buttery | Ivy Profemme | Leila Rafoui | Joe Spencer | The Niallist | Minara ‘El Waters | Club Clam | What She Said | Vanilla Girls | FATCAMP | Pecs Drag Kings | The Fat Britney | | Ghetto Fabulous | Donna Trump | DJ Nkay | DJ KL | Carrot | Flick | Queens in Kicks | Frequency 3 | DJ Klitbait | Cyro | Club Zindagi | Belinda Scandal | Disney Classics with The Untold Orchestra | DJ Billy Andrew | DJ Callum Parr | Duniya Dhoom | Shanika Sunrise | Immy Terial | Jason Patel | Rikki Beadle-Blair |
16-year-old Manc busker, Alex Spencer, bags record deal with the same label that launched The Lathums
16-year-old busker Alex Spencer’s career has gone from strength to strength in the past couple of years. Now, after starting out singing on the rainy streets of Manchester, he has managed to bag himself a record deal.
You absolutely love to see it.
Young Alex from Droylsden has been entertaining passersby on Market Street and people all around Greater Manchester for some time now, and after years of graft that only a true music-loving Manc could muster, the local lad is taking the next step in his promising career.
Having made the step up from being one of many talented Manc buskers to playing plenty of proper gigs and even serenading the likes of the City squad, he has now been signed by record label Modern Sky and is set to release his first official single this April.
Since stepping out of his home with a borrowed guitar under his arm as a young boy, Alex Spencer has gone from covering classics by 10CC, Arctic Monkeys and Sam Fender, to playing at the likes of New Century, Band on the Wall, Manchester Academy 3 and even in front of 20,000 at the AO Arena.
After securing an Arena slot as part of Young Voices’ ones to look out for in 2022 and even getting some airplay on Radio X, the teenager was spotted by the very same record company that launched The Lathums, Jamie Webster, Brooke Combe and even The Coral back in the day.
Now, Alex is focusing on writing songs of his own and has recently finished five for his upcoming EP, one of those being his lead single, ‘A Night To Waste’, with all of them set to be released via Modern Sky.
This, however, isn’t the first time we’ve come across Alex; The Manc Audio has had the pleasure of chatting and watching him busk on a number of occasions. This was the most recent.
We’re beyond chuffed to see how far he’s come in such a short space of time and can’t wait to see him go far — which, of course, he definitely will.
Speaking ahead of the release of his debut record, Alex said: “It’s about the life of a teenager who wants to live their life a little and get out of the same old boring suburb. It’s about enjoying a good time with your friends and reminding you that none of us have a night to waste.
“It’s the same for so many people my age, especially after all the setbacks we’ve had over the past few years with lockdowns stopping us in our tracks.”
‘A Night To Waste’ drops on 25 April 2023; we were fortunate enough to get a sneak peek and, believe us, you’re in for a treat. This boy’s going to be big, so be sure to keep up to date with what he’s got coming next.