One of the UK’s best-known and best-loved grassroots music venues, Moles in Bath, has closed its doors after 45 years of offering a launchpad for bands including Oasis, Radiohead, Eurythmics, Pulp, The Smiths and The Cure.
The venue has been forced to file for insolvency as the rise in costs and overheads and the impact of the cost of living crisis made it impossible to continue. Moles has permanently closed its doors with immediate effect. All future events are cancelled.
“Making the decision to close Moles was horrendous, but the cost of living crisis has crippled us,” said Tom Maddicott, co-owner of the Bath venue. It is “impossible to continue” given “massively increased costs” on one side, and the impact of the cost of living crisis on customers on the other.
Moles has been a champion of new music since it opened in Bath in 1978, but Maddicott warned that it would not be the last important cultural asset to be lost if action is not taken to protect our grassroots music venues.
“The reality is that live music at grassroots level is no longer economically viable and we will not be the only grassroots music venue forced to close,” he said. “There needs to be a major shake-up of the live industry with the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent. Football gets it with the Premier League investing millions in the grassroots game each year to bring through new players. The music industry needs to do the same before the entire grassroots sector collapses.”
The UK’s grassroots music venues are facing an unprecedented crisis. While the top tier of the live industry has had its best year ever in 2023, more than 120 grassroots venues have closed with a further 84 currently in crisis. Meanwhile, at least seven new arenas are currently planned in cities across the UK.