​Bath nightclub and music venue Moles is closing down citing cost of living crisis

today06/12/2023 7

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Bath’s beloved nightclub and music venue Moles has been shuttered after more than four decades, citing pressure from the cost of living crisis.

The 220-capacity venue, which has been a staple part of Bath’s live music scene for 45 years and was the springboard for artists including Oasis, Radiohead, and The Smiths, will close with immediate effect.

Since 1978 Moles has hosted a plethora of club nights and gigs, more recently showcasing DJs such as Batu, HAAi, DJ Boring, and Special Request, and has previously housed Boiler Room events.

“Today, we are heartbroken to announce that Moles, in its current form, is closing, effective immediately,” the venue announced on Twitter yesterday, December 5.

Moles went on to add that the grassroots music industry has been “crippled” by the financial pressure of the cost of living crisis, and while this wasn’t the only reason for its closure, was a huge accelerator.

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“Huge rent rates, along with massively increased costs on everything from utilities to stock, are all factors,” they added. “This has been compounded by our customers also feeling the impact of the crisis.”

All future shows at the venue have been cancelled. Moles’ co-owner Tom Maddicot explained that making the decision to close was “horrendous” for everyone involved, adding that grassroots music is no longer “economically viable”.

In 2014, Moles suffered a fire due to an electrical fault, subsequently closing for repairs. “We’ve weathered many things over the years, including a fire and a pandemic in the last 10 years alone,” they said.

Moles also went on to condemn the number of large arena-sized venues opening across the UK while smaller venues are forced to close. Earlier in September, Music Venues Trust predicted that 10% of all grassroots venues in the UK will have closed by the end of 2023.

Read this next: Over 100 independent UK nightclubs have closed in the last 12 months, study shows

The Bath venue was also one of the last remaining venues from the first Oasis tour, and of the estimated 366 grassroots music venues where Ed Sheeran has performed, will now become one of the 150 to have closed over the years.

“There needs to be a major shake-up of the live sector,” Moles says, “With the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent. But venues like Moles are also more than just talent incubators; they are also so important to communities.”

“The importance of these venues can never be overstated. We hope that whoever takes the building over will keep it as a live music venue as without it, Bath will have lost so much.”

Read the full statement from Moles here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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