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The Chameleon in Nottingham announces it’ll be closing next month: “The time has cometh”

The Chameleon in Nottingham will be closing its doors at the end of March.

The venue’s owners John Rothera and Lauren Insley revealed the venue was under threat in November after their landlord decided to sell the building. They also said that they had accrued “rather considerable debts” due to COVID, and that the recent cost-of-living crisis had not helped the situation.

In a new statement posted to Facebook, they confirmed that the building had now been sold. Although they had considered moving to a new premises, they said the business “isn’t viable in its current location”, especially with rising costs, and their last day of operation will be Saturday, March 30.

“Unfortunately, the time has cometh. The building has been sold (pending all the legal stuff obvs). The sale is expected to be complete within 60 days which brings us to the end of March. We’ve made the decision to call that our final date,” they wrote.

“There has been small talk of sticking around but quite honestly, the business isn’t viable in its current location and with costs of literally everything rising constantly, we can’t justify carrying on and just amassing more debt.

What up folks! Unfortunately, the time has cometh. The building has been sold (pending all the legal stuff obvs). The…

Posted by The Chameleon on Monday, February 12, 2024

“In the meantime, please come down, support the bands, skull some pints, shot some tequilas and have a really nice time with us! We’ve got some pretty mega debts to cover over the coming weeks so will need all the help we can get!

“Sooooo, one last epic rager on sat 30th of march. It will have to be ticket only and we’ll expect every last drop of booze to be supped! 🫡 More updates soon!!”

In response to the news, Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd told NME: “The extraordinary strain being put on individual venue operators to try to keep live music alive in our communities is completely unsustainable. If we do not have an industry wide solution to get these venues the financial support they need then closures like The Chameleon are absolutely inevitable.

“There’s too many people in our industry looking in the other direction and hoping this problem will just go away. Music Venue Trust has literally put the solution right there on the table in front of everyone and everyone knows what it is. Every week we don’t get it done is another week with more venue closures in it.”

The solution Davyd refers to would involve a £1 levy being introduced on tickets for large-scale music events, which would then be reinvested into grassroots venues. Some critics have argued that it is unfair to the consumer to make already costly tickets more expensive, but Enter Shikari have proven that it can be done with their own scheme coming at no extra cost to fans on their 2024 arena tour.

Last month, a report was published showing the “disaster” that struck the UK’s grassroots music venues in 2023.

Among the key findings into their “most challenging year”, it has been reported that last year saw 125 UK venues abandon live music and that over half of them had shut entirely – including the legendary Moles in Bath. Some of the more pressing constraints were reported as soaring energy prices, landlords increasing rate amounts, supply costs, business rates, licensing issues, noise complaints and the continuing shockwaves of COVID-19.

“This is a disaster: 16 per cent of the grassroots music venues in this country closed in the last 12 months,” Davyd said at the launch of the report in the House of Commons. “It’s just not good enough. I stood here 12 months ago, and I’m sorry to be Mystic Meg about this, but I said, ‘If the big companies in this industry don’t get their act together, then hundreds of venues will close’. And guess what? They didn’t get their act together and hundreds of venues have closed. So, I’m afraid you are now going to have to answer for this.”

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