Gorilla and The Deaf Institute, two of Manchester’s most-beloved music venues, have been rescued from administration.
The two sites were saved after venue group Tokyo Industries bought them out, following an announcement earlier this week that they would have to close due the effects of the coronavirus lockdown.
“These are extremely difficult times for all grassroots music venues around the UK,” said Aaron Mellor, the founder of Tokyo Industries.
“It’s vital venues like Gorilla and the Deaf Institute are kept alive, the cultural fabric of our city centres depends on venues like these.”
He added: “Over the weekend, we’ve put together some great ideas with SSD Concerts and Tim Burgess [lead singer of alternative rock band The Charlatans] to help save both venues and their existing operating style in a post-Covid world. We’re not so keen on this ‘new’ normal and want to keep the ‘old’ normal alive for when we all get through this.”
Burgess celebrated the news on Twitter, writing: “I’ve had so many brilliant nights in The @DeafInstitute & @thisisgorilla… Let’s work together to help save as many independent spaces as we can.” He added that “it’s a fight worth taking on”.
Earlier this month, the UK government announced that theatres and music venues can reopen on 1 August, emphasising reopenings should be done in a “Covid-secure way”. The move followed the government’s £1.57bn rescue package for the arts industry.
While the latest announcement was welcomed by some in the arts, many venues will not be able to afford to put on shows at 20-25 per cent capacity, which could be the maximum allowed in adherence with social distancing guidelines.
Mellor confessed the next few months would be “difficult” and said the businesses would not be viable until social distancing rules were removed. He said that, according to guidance from Whitehall, restrictions would be eased by the end of the year.
The Deaf Institute, which was founded in 2008, is a Grade II-listed building that was formerly home to the Manchester Deaf and Dumb Institute.
Gorilla, meanwhile, opened in the railway arches below Manchester’s Oxford Road Station in 2012.