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Bath live music venue Moles to close after 45 years

One of the best-known live music venues in the UK, Moles, is to close after 45 years.

The owners announced today (Tuesday) that they were filing for insolvency, and closing effective immediately.

The subterranean venue, on Bath’s George Street, blamed the cost of living crisis, rent and rate increases, and the spiralling costs of stock and utilities for the collapse.

The venue noted that 120 other music venues have closed this year – over 15 per cent of the sector.

The 220-capacity venue was an important grassroots venue for bands on their way to stardom. The Smiths, Radiohead, Oasis, Eurythmics, Bastille, Mumford & Sons, and Ed Sheeran all played there.

“We were one of the last venues remaining from the first Oasis tour,” said “heartbroken” owners Phil Andrews and Tom Maddicott in a statement.

“Of the estimated 366 grassroots venues Ed Sheeran played before making it big, 150 have closed.

“This decimation of the sector has to stop now. Unless bands have these stages to play, where will they hone their talents and become these huge artists that fill these arenas and stadiums around the world?”

The closure has renewed calls for arenas to give back to small venues that nurture UK talent – a call backed by the Live Music Trust.

Moles said: “The live sector at arena level and above is having a bumper year with record profits.

“While all these venues have closed, seven new arenas are being built that will generate hundreds of millions a year.

“There needs to be a major shake-up of the live sector, with the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent.”

Moles suffered a devastating electrical fire in 2014. Following a complete refurbishment the venue reopened in 2015, but was forced to close again in 2020 when Covid hit the UK.

In 2018 the arena-filling DJ Fatboy Slim played a three-hour set to celebrate the venue’s 40th anniversary.

Music Venue Trust unveils plan to save Bath’s beloved Moles

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