Islington’s indie music venues ‘may have to close or abandon new acts’ after business rates hike – report

Nambucca, in Holloway Road has supported up and coming acts including The Libertines and Laura Marli

Nambucca, in Holloway Road has supported up and coming acts including The Libertines and Laura Marling. Picture: Google Street View - Credit: Archant

Grassroots music venues across Islington could be forced to close or ditch their support for up and coming acts thanks to huge hikes in business rates, a new report claims.

Creative consultants Nordicity have carried out research into the impact the government’s “re-evalauation” of rates will have on indie music spots across the capital, which support 14,000 emerging acts every year.

Islington has 13, and together they are now paying an extra £101,000 a year on average. Experts say even if they can keep their head above the water, they could have to raise prices or turn to commercial bookings to generate more income.

Giles Horne is the manager of Nambucca in Holloway Road. The 300-capacity venue is famed for playing a central role in the indie boom of the early 2000s led by The Libertines, who played there regularly. Maximo Park and Florence and the Machine also played early gigs there, while it later provided a platform for the “nu-folk” scene, with Frank Turner, Marcus Mumford and Laura Marling often seen on stage.

Giles said the only way for venues like his to survive was to keep improving. “Running a grassroots venue is incredibly tough anyway, without these hikes,” he said. “It’s not about being selective – we have tried to build a reputation for hosting good music seven nights a week. We just have to keep what we’re doing, and do it better.”

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In the last 10 years London has lost 35 per cent of its indie venues, and the report claims 21 of the 94 remaining ones could close.

Sadiq Khan has published a “rescue plan” calling on the government to offer them rates relief.

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