Our Growing Silence

Produced and Directed by Billy Abbott.

Bristol Live Music Census reported that live music generated £123 million for the local Bristol economy in 2015, yet 50% of venues felt threatened by development, noise or planning issues. In Plymouth popular music venues including the Cooperage, White Rabbit, and The Voodoo Lounge/Mambos have recently closed.

Featuring actor Art Malik, this short film highlights the socio-cultural value of community-based Grassroots Music Venues. Musicians including Grant Nicholas (lead singer and guitarist of the rock band Feeder), Ry X, Wildwood Kin, Darren Johns (Crazy Arm/Warshy) and Haunt the Woods talk passionately about the important role that Grassroots Venues hold for them as musicians.

Art Malik, Actor

Art Malik, Actor
“Music unites us all. Without it, and without the ability to express our creativity, our culture suffers and our communities stop thriving. This is what’s at stake in the South West; we are slowly losing our local and independent music venues.”


Our Growing Silence focuses on the Random Arms and Energy Room, Maker, located on the geographically isolated Rame Peninsula in South-East Cornwall. It shows how this venue fostered a vibrant music scene and discusses the struggle to keep the venue open. This much-loved venue, together with the popular Maker Festival, provided a platform for aspiring local musicians and nationally acclaimed artists.

Maker Music and Arts CIC tried to negotiate with property developers to keep their community-based venue open. They were given a date of 1st January 2018 to leave, but hoped the property developers would appreciate the value of the well-documented music culture at Maker and support it’s continuation as part of their proposed arts-based property development plan. This didn’t happen and one year on the much-loved venue remains empty and derelict.

One Year On

Our Growing Silence, released on February 13th 2019 at the Exchange, Bristol at a roundtable event that includes Mark Davyd (CEO Music Venue Trust), Sarah Gosling (BBC Introducing Devon and Cornwall), Oli James (Tour and Artist Manager/Plymouth Music Collective), Matt Otridge (Owner/Director of Exchange), Pete Dunstone (Director, Maker Music and Arts), Tom Ogilvie (bass player, Land of the Giants) and Billy Abbott (Independent Film Maker).

Music Venue Trust is seeking support for an innovative Pipeline Investment Fund that aims to provide a sustainable future for this sector of the music industry. Our Growing Silence will be launched from the Music Venue Trust’s digital platforms to highlight the much-needed lifeline that the Pipeline Investment Fund could bring to music-based communities, Grassroots Venues and emergent artists.

We couldn’t save our venue, but the Pipeline Investment Fund could help to save yours’.

Mark Davyd, CEO Music Venue Trust

Mark Davyd, CEO Music Venue Trust
“Grassroots Music Venues like the Random Arms and Energy Room sit at the very heart of our communities, cultural spaces that provide a meeting point for artists and audiences but also so much more. The loss of any single space can be devastating for that community, the loss of dozens of these spaces across the UK is a national crisis that cannot be allowed to continue.

Our Growing Silence, produced and directed by Billy Abbott, documents the value that Grassroots Music Venues have as innovation hubs for musicians, as places where communities thrive and of how small independent venues are at risk of closure.”