Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar to Close

It is with huge sadness that we have heard today that Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton will close on 31 December 2018.

Sticky Mike’s is a Brighton institution, one of the most vibrant, community based, grassroots spaces in the whole country. Thousands of bands have passed through there, thousands of music fans know it as their home.

It’s also a perfect summary of where many venue operators/owners find themselves. Rent, rates, costs too high, profit margins non-existent, a new development coming at them which inevitably means noise challenges, a decaying infrastructure it’s too expensive to maintain, licensing conditions which cut into business… it’s a mess and not of their own making. Frankly, the team at Sticky Mike’s should get a medal for keeping it going this long. Every venue team you know is fighting these battles. We should erect statues to the lot of them.

The only solution to these problems is a dramatic and urgent change in the attitude from local authorities, government, the music industry and the cultural sector. Music Venue Trust has been saying this for five years now – there’s no financial reward in running a GMV, and any additional external pressure in terms of poor trading conditions, bad licensing, or simply a landlord that doesn’t care about the venue, make the choice to close inevitable.

 

The loss of Sticky Mike’s should be a wake up call to Brighton & Hove City Council. To UK Music and the bpi. To Arts Council England. To the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

All too often each of these venue closures has been treated as a single problem rather than part of a larger picture. The whole Grassroots Music Venue circuit is at a crossroads on these issues and fine words butter no parsnips. It’s no good everyone putting out supportive messages if the same basic economic model the government, music industry and cultural sector insists upon remains in place making it economically impractical and unsustainable to run a GMV.

Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar could have been saved for the price of just 2 days (TWO DAYS) worth of the grant given to the Royal Opera House every year. Think about that….. Two. Days. The average level of subsidy these venues get in Europe is 35% of gross turnover. The average level of subsidy UK venues get is 0%. Nothing. Last year, these venues faced an average Business Rates increase of 38%.

 

To all the team at Sticky Mike’s, past and present: Thank you. You created an incredible space that meant something positive to so many people.

We’re sorry that in the end, you couldn’t fight on and we couldn’t help you. Only the government, the music industry and the cultural sector can do that.

It’s time for everyone to listen and act.

2018-10-03T11:14:46+00:00October 3rd, 2018|

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