Bristol Venue Closure Update


Thekla is currently battling for survival. Image by Colin Park

Some of Bristol’s grass root music venues are facing closure due to the development of luxury housing, here’s an update

The Surrey Vaults is the latest venue to fall victim to noise complaints from its neighbours. The popular venue located close to the city centre was once surrounded by office blocks, but those have since been turned into expensive apartments.

Those residence have logged multiple complaints to Bristol Council, and two weekends ago the venue closed its doors for the final time. It isn’t clear whether The Surrey Vaults had its licence revoked, or if the owners voluntarily closed due to increased pressure from its neighbours. The closure has seen 15 people lose their jobs just weeks before Christmas.

Responding to the complaints, manager Julian Smith said: “Our licence permitted us to serve alcohol until 2am but we stopped at 1am and we also stopped live music at 11pm, even though we could have gone on until midnight.”

Adding: “We also installed more sound proofing upstairs after the first complaints were made to ensure no noise escaped.”

Bristol live music venue Thekla is hosting an event to raise awareness of issues facing venues. Taking place on December 6, the event is being curated by Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). It will include a Q&A session involving police, residence, local planning authorities and legislators.

Thekla is currently battling for its own survival after plans to redevelop the docks, including plans for luxury apartments.

The Jam Jar is another Bristol venue facing closure due to noise complaints. It is run by volunteers and is appealing to the public to help it raise £20,000 for sound proofing and to renew its late-night licence. The future of The Brunswick Club is also hanging by a thread.

Resident Elizabeth Prichard said: “We live close to the Jam Jar. We lived here before the venue opened. It was quiet here. I am 65, and not rich. We’ve been regularly kept awake until 3am or later for the last 3-4 years!”

DJ Eats Everything has called the situation “devastating and ridiculous,” and is encouraging club goers to keep fighting. Bristol played an instrumental part in forming the foundations for his successful career. The DJ got his break in the mid-nineties after winning a competition in the city at a venue that has since closed.

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