Bath Voice News: campaign to save Moles – the top grassroots music venue – gathers momentum

By John Wimperis, Local Democracy Reporter: A petition to save a legendary grassroots music venue in Bath has been gaining about a thousand signatures a day.
Moles — which hosted early gigs from bands such as Pulp and the Smiths — announced it was filing for insolvency and closing its doors with immediate effect on December 5. Co-owner Tom Maddicott said: “Making the decision to close Moles was horrendous, but the cost-of-living crisis has crippled us.”
But in the days since then a petition calling on the local authority to save the venue has attracted over 4,000 signatures so far.
Petition organiser Jasmine Ritchie called Moles an “irreplaceable part of Bath’s cultural landscape.” The petition states: “We must act now to ensure that Moles continues to be a beacon for music lovers in Bath and beyond. 120 grassroots music venues have closed their doors since this year alone- 15% of the industry.
“We are calling on the local authority and stakeholders to recognize the cultural significance of Moles and take necessary steps towards its preservation. By doing so, we can ensure that future generations will also get the chance to enjoy this iconic venue.”
More than a hundred people left comments on the petition with memories of the venue. Anita Craig wrote: “I was born in Bath and spent many happy nights enjoying the live music scene at Moles. Small venues like Moles are the birthplace of new talent and make an important contribution to the local economy. It’s tragic that they are being priced out.”
Tamara Hanson commented: “Moles is a historical venue which helped launch the musical careers of many. These types of venues are a dying breed and need to continue.
“Music brings people together. I went to Moles on a few visits to Bath with people I met because of a band who played there a long long time ago — Tears For Fears.”
The iconic band was formed in Bath in 1981 and co-frontman of the group Curt Smith is among those who have backed the call to save the venue. He shared the petition link on social media site X (formerly Twitter) telling followers: “You know what to do.”
Bath and North East Somerset Council has not yet said what they could do to save the venue. But Paul Roper, the council cabinet member for economic and cultural sustainable development, said: “Moles has a special place in the heart for so many of us, Bathonians and visitors to the city alike.
“Bath has a thriving night-time economy with something for everyone but there’s no doubt that this has come as a real blow to live and grassroots music.”
Moles opened on George Street, Bath, on New Year’s Eve in 1977 reported the BBC. Founder Philip Andrews signed a lease for just £2,000 – then had to renovate the entire venue, which had been derelict for five years.

The petition is at

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