The Leadmill has launched the brand new ‘Battle For The Soul Of Sheffield’ marketing campaign in a bid to rally help because the venue fights for survival.
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Final yr, the venue’s future got here beneath menace after the house owners of the constructing issued them an eviction discover, sparking an outcry throughout the music business and from gig-goers.
The premises is owned by Electrical Group — who additionally personal London’s Electrical Brixton, Bristol’s SWX and Newcastle’s NX. They purchased the positioning’s freehold in 2017 and beforehand advised music followers that they’d no intention of closing the venue after they finish the present occupiers’ lease in 2023. “The management may change but the song stays the same,” Dominic Madden, CEO and co-founder of Electrical Group, wrote on Twitter.
The administration, nevertheless, then hit again, arguing that they had been being “exterminated by the landlord” earlier than launching a recent enchantment to followers, asking for help after revealing that landlords had been reportedly transferring ahead with eviction plans .
Madden then responded once more, doubling down on claims that they “intend to continue operating the space as a music venue, focussing on a diverse mix of gigs, club nights and comedy events.”
Now, taking to social media and their web site, The Leadmill has launched the ‘Battle For The Soul Of Sheffield’, calling on Sheffield residents and music followers from additional afield to enroll to the most recent marketing campaign to combat eviction.
“This isn’t just about The Leadmill,” stated a spokesperson within the venue’s new message. “Every part that’s made our metropolis what it’s immediately is now at stake.
“This hostile takeover dangers essentially and ceaselessly altering the course of our nice metropolis, our heritage, and our tradition. It might begin with us at The Leadmill, however it goes a lot additional than that.
“This hostile takeover threatens to kickstart a race to the bottom of a corporate barrel, putting at risk over 43 years of cultural heritage, history and community work from across our city, its people and businesses.”
The venue went on: “The battle we are facing is whether, in the years ahead, we have more or less independence; whether London property developers can close local businesses for profit; whether some of the greatest artists of all time can still be discovered and find a platform; whether cinema fans can come together for a showing of their favourite film; whether comedians can keep our city laughing; whether our nightlife can remain fun, safe and secure; whether all the culture, arts, music and heritage that our city has developed over its life can continue to thrive.”
A spokesperson for The Leadmill continued: “If we don’t cease this hostile takeover, the very soul and character of our nice metropolis is in danger.
“This landlord is exploiting a authorized loophole to evict and destroy a extremely regarded, impartial, Sheffield success story, forcing us to stop buying and selling, all for revenue. Nevertheless it’s even worse than that. The venues run by this landlord have a disturbing historical past of violent crime, public dysfunction, sexual assault, overcrowding, understaffing and overlooking racist, sexist, and bodily abuse.
“It couldn’t be clearer. This is not just about The Leadmill. This is a fundamental Battle for the Soul of Sheffield. That’s why we’re asking you to help us win this battle. We need you to sign up and back our campaign.”
Responding to the most recent marketing campaign, Electrical Group co-founder Dominic Madden advised NME: “In 2016, Electrical Group acquired the Leadmill constructing from MCR properties with a real concern for its future and the opportunity of redevelopment. As operators of a number of music venues throughout the UK, it appeared solely pure that we’d step in to guard this iconic area.
“It’s important to note that the current management’s lease expired this year. Contrary to claims of exploiting a legal loophole, the reality is that a commercial lease has come to its natural end.”
The employees at Sheffield’s Leadmill. Credit score: The Leadmill
He continued: “Phil Mills, the present operator of the Leadmill, had a number of alternatives to buy the Freehold of the constructing, together with throughout a public public sale in 2014. Nonetheless, he selected to not pursue this plan of action, and consequently, Electrical Group acquired the Freehold in 2016. Our intention from the start has been to proceed working the venue as a music, arts, and comedy hub, preserving its legacy.
“The applying for a Shadow Premises Licence is a proactive step to safeguard the Leadmill’s future as a music venue for generations to return. This isn’t about shutting down the Leadmill or forcing anybody out of enterprise. As a substitute, it’s about securing its standing as thriving area for artists and group engagement.
Madden added: “Our imaginative and prescient for the Leadmill is all about continuity of programming. We cherish the venue’s historical past and the unimaginable expertise it has nurtured through the years.
Lynn Gunn of PVRIS at Electrical Brixton. CREDIT: Joseph Okpako/WireImage.
“We understand that this current situation must be profoundly difficult for the staff who are facing anxiety and uncertainty during this transitional period. We hope to engage with all staff who are currently involved with the Leadmill at the appropriate time. To reiterate, our intentions have always been rooted in preserving and enriching the cultural fabric of Sheffield. We are excited about the opportunity to continue the Leadmill’s legacy and build upon its rich heritage as a beloved music and arts venue.”
Defending their transfer again in Could, Madden stated: “As we have always maintained, we intend to continue operating the space as a music venue, focussing on a diverse mix of gigs, club nights and comedy events. We’re an independent music venue operator which is committed to music and investing in venues. We have been running licensed venues since 2003 and have never had any issue or license review.”
“Our venues in London, Newcastle and Bristol host hundreds of gigs and events every year for thousands of music fans. Our team has many years of experience running venues, producing theatre and promoting gigs. When we purchased the freehold for the Leadmill in 2017 it was threatened with redevelopment into flats. We didn’t want that to happen, so we stepped in to buy it and save it – something the leaseholder was not prepared to do.”
He added: “The present Leadmill marketing campaign is sadly deceptive folks into considering we need to shut the venue with no regard for its historical past. That’s not the case. In truth, we need to put money into the way forward for the area – albeit one which can mark the beginning of a brand new chapter for a constructing which has many generations of historical past with a wide range of totally different operators because it was first a flour mill.
“We hope to be a great custodian of the venue for the next generation. We recognise the roots of the Leadmill within the community and we are determined to see it succeed and thrive.”
Posting on The Leadmill’s web site, administration wrote that the “general public are able to object to a premises licence application if they are aware of any relevant reasons as to why it should not be granted”.
First opening its doorways in 1980, the venue has hosted early exhibits from Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon and The Killers, and stays a preferred reside music and clubbing spot.
Final yr noticed former Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn go to The Leadmill and encourage others to “get behind it“, echoing the views of Sheffield locals hailing it as “the heart of the city” and the likes of Arctic Monkeys, Jarvis Cocker and Deliver Me The Horizon’s Oli Sykes among the many Sheffield artists to have spoken out in help of the venue.
Jeremy Corbyn joins marketing campaign to save lots of Sheffield’s Leadmill. Credit score: Equipped to NME
Sheffield’s Richard Hawley has additionally been a vocal supporter of The Leadmill – having performed numerous gigs there over the past yr to assist elevate cash and consciousness. His exhibits on the venue again in December noticed him joined on stage by fellow Sheffield artists Jarvis Cocker, and Rebecca Taylor (aka Self Esteem).
Chatting with NME earlier this yr, Hawley stated that the employees who’ve constructed up the venue through the years ought to be allowed to proceed working it beneath the identical identify. “It doesn’t take a genius to work it out – it’s our Cavern or Hacienda,” he stated. “It’s as important as those places. It’s not just a Sheffield thing because it’s on the circuit for bands to play and it’s such a great venue. It’s run so well.”
Hawley continued: “The upsetting factor is that if it was a failing enterprise, I’d perceive that somebody would take it over. What angers me is that it doesn’t shock me that grasping fuckers purchase the land from beneath them. In the event that they threw [the venue staff] out and turned it into flats, it could be an absolute tragedy however barely simpler to simply accept. The truth that what they’ve mainly achieved is purchased the land from beneath them, issued them with an eviction discover, and are going to steal their enterprise. That to me is wildly immoral.
“If I was running a venue, or even a chip shop, I’d think, ‘Hold on a sec, if they get away with it with these, then who’s next?’ It’s just wrong.”