Bideford music venue warns it may close without financial support during Covid-19 pandemic

The Palladium Club in Bideford has been closed since March.

The Palladium Club in Bideford has been closed since March. - Credit: Matt Smart

A Bideford music venue may close for good if it does not receive support from the Government.

The Palladium Club has been hit hard by the coronavirus lockdown, and has been closed since March.

In an open letter to Torridge District Council, owner Ben Nigh warned it may not be able to reopen unless adequate funding is provided.

The letter said the club in Lower Gunstone is an ‘integral part’ of the culture and arts sector in Bideford in the same way that other local arts venues which have been able to benefit from by Government funding are.

It said: “As the only grassroots venue in a 60-mile radius, we have provided a platform for not only major touring artists who would otherwise not perform locally, but also an important encouragement for young local musicians.

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“Because of the educational and developmental ethos of the club, young musicians are able to perform on the same bill as professional artists or headline their own show.

“The Palladium Club has also been able to provide affordable rehearsal facilities and has provided one night a week for a free-of-charge ‘jam’ night which allows anyone to play a short set individually, or join in with others they would not usually have the opportunity to play with, and learn from.”

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Performers at the Palladium Club vary from up-and-coming local and outside talent to international acts from the likes of South Africa, the USA, Australia and Europe, as well as all parts of the UK.

The letter continued: “Often there are people in the audience who have travelled hours to see their favourite performers and many of these will, of course, use overnight accommodation and facilities.

“Touring artists say that The Palladium Club is one of a very few surviving venues of its type in the entire country. Many of them say it is the only one.”

Through lockdown the club hosted virtual gigs and sold t-shirts as ways of generating income.

The club also teamed up with the Big Sheep for Baa-lladium, a series of socially distanced open-air gigs which included performances from Frank Turner, Seth Lakeman, Mark Chadwick, East 17 and Gareth Gates.

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