Photograph by: Piotr Ciuchta

In every corner of Britain, independent music venues are more than just a place to showcase small artists. They are places that allow their local communities and creative industries to thrive, places to allow people to discover new and exciting artists and ultimately places that allows artists to build fan bases and allow them to make it big.

However, over the years the decline in independent music venues has been a worrying dilemma that has threatened local music scenes, especially in the UK.

From Sheffield's famous The Boardwalk, which showcased bands like The Clash and the Arctic Monkeys in their early days, to Leeds' Cockpit where the likes of Amy Winehouse and The White Stripes performed, it seems no venue is safe anymore. 

Perhaps one of the biggest closures to really hit home hard was Fabric, one of London's most well known clubs, in 2016. After two drug related deaths in the space of nine weeks, it's license was revoked, with claims that searches for illegal substances were not thorough enough and more should have been done to prevent the buying and taking of these substances in the venue.

For Fabric, however, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. A campaign named #saveourculture resulted in masses of support from the public and well known DJs, and reopened in early 2017.

Aggressive development is also a major threat to independent venues, with a lot of venue sites being sold off for developers to built flats, or noise abatement notice's being issued due to development around certain venues. 

In a report written by The Mayor of London’s Music Venues Taskforce, they concluded even more reasons why smaller music venues are closing such as health and safety concerns, being forced to relocate and a fall in student attendance.

They also draw on the fact that a lot of the time it's not just one issue, but a few that results in the closure.

"For example: additional security personnel at an additional cost to the venue, resulting in less profit per event, bands being less willing to play there, falling attendance, less events, less profit – a downward spiral resulting from a seemingly innocuous and benign licensing condition.

"We found signs of market failure within the music industry. The relationship between the recorded music business, large festivals and arenas and small grassroots music venues needs examining.

"As with all ecosystems, the success of the whole depends upon every part working well. Without a regular supply of new acts, all parts of the music industry will gradually wither."

Despite the looming concerns, some might say that independent venues are thriving more than ever. Independent Venue Week was set up back in 2014 which celebrates small venues and the people who work there, and in 2017 it hosted over 140 shows at various venues around the country.

Perhaps the decline of these independent venues over the years is finally alerting communities to their importance and cultural significance, and hopefully in years to come they can blossom and inspire even more.