Boost for city’s vibrant live music scene as ‘progressive York’ backs venue network

She Drew The Gun perform at The Crescent earlier this month. Photograph: The Crescent on Facebook

Music venues across the city will team up as part of a new network – after City of York Council backed a “progressive” plan to support live music.

The initiative will see venues unite to bid for funding, bring different acts to the city and meet the challenges of running a club or pub.

And the network will aim to give venues a voice in decisions that affect them – such as planning applications or local authority consultations.


Clara Cullen from the national Music Venue Trust and Chloë ward from Independent Venue Week spoke at an event at the National Centre for Early Music last week.

Clara said clubs across the country face challenges – including noise complaints from new developments, planning applications near existing venues and business rates.

But she praised the council for unanimously supporting calls to protect York’s venues at a meeting in October.

Positive first step

Natural Antagonist play the Fulford Arms. Photograph: Fulford Arms on Facebook
Clara said: “Business rates are probably – beyond noise complaints – the number one thing that is closing music venues.

“Venues are not making huge amounts of money – what you are doing is benefitting your local community.”


She added:

  • It’s always really great when a council wants to support music venues. It’s quite rare – only a handful are doing that so York is progressive.

    It really sends a signal that we are a city that has got a vibrant music scene.

    This is the start of a process. It’s a really positive and encouraging first step.

    I think people need to realise that if they don’t act, these locations will close, and they can make a difference.

Ambitious plans

Club Salvation on George Hudson Street. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Cllr Jonny Crawshaw called for York to better protect its music venues after plans to turn Club Salvation into a restaurant and holiday flats were approved and an application to turn the building next door to the Crescent Community Venue into apartments was submitted.

The Crescent said the scheme puts the venue at risk – and 217 letters objecting to the application have now been lodged with the council.

The application is yet to be decided and an extension has been granted until 16 January.

Cllr Crawshaw said: “I’ve been really impressed with the quality of discussion and the level of ambition on display at the York Music Venues Network meetings that I have attended.

“It’s great to see promoters, venue managers and owners working collaboratively for the good of the city’s music scene.

“Council giving the York Music Venues Network it’s full support was a significant step but it’s important that we now demonstrate through our actions an ongoing commitment to protecting and supporting the city’s music venues and nightclubs.”