‘Why we won’t be opening on 4 July’ – Cash-strapped York venue explains difficult decision

The Crescent. Photograph: YorkMix
26 Jun 2020 @ 7.16 pm
| Entertainment

One of York’s best-loved venues won’t be opening on 4 July – because to do so would risk bankruptcy.

The Crescent Community Venue is best known for staging live music and comedy events. Even on 4 July it isn’t allowed to stage any gigs.

However it could open purely as a pub to bring some money in. But owners Ed and Bob Leyland say that won’t be happening.

Explaining their decision, they said the business mortgage, utilities and other bills were renegotiated to cheaper rates or deferred on the basis of the Crescent being closed.

“Opening to very limited income but facing the full weight of these bills will quickly bankrupt us. It is cheaper to stay closed than open with extremely limited income,” they said.

Bailout needed now

Inside the Crescent. Photograph: The Crescent York on Facebook

Bob and Ed said they agree with the decision not to allow live performances yet.

But they criticised Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden for announcing a ‘roadmap to reopening’ without any timetable, or details on funding.

“Without an imminent government bailout, venues and theatres across the country will close at an alarming rate,” they said. “Many have rents they cannot afford to pay that are due at the end of this month.”

The Crescent was one of 500 grassroots businesses to back the Music Venue Trust’s open letter calling for £50 million to hibernate music venues till October, plus a reduction in VAT on cultural tickets.

“If they act now, they can prevent mass closures and redundancies across the sector.”

They thanked everyone who helped the Crescent reach its crowdfunding target of £15,000.

And they revealed they have been “hard at work fixing up the venue”. “We’ve even managed to blag the old AC units out of Fibbers, and are currently installing them.”

Hugely popular… the Crescent. Photograph: YorkMix

They added: “Overall, safety of our customers, staff and community is paramount. It does not seem clear to us that the guidelines put in place adequately achieve this yet.

“As such, for now we will remain closed until further notice as we see how the situation develops. This is not an easy decision to make, but as a team we are in agreement that it’s the best route forward for now.”