Music to Manchester’s Ears After Gorilla and The Deaf Institute Are Saved From Closure

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There was a welcome change of pace for Manchester’s music industry this week, after news emerged that both the Gorilla and The Deaf Institute venues will be saved from closure.

Mission Mars, the organisation that runs Gorilla and The Deaf Institute, announced their closures last Thursday.

Even big names in the music industry, such as The Charlatan’s Tim Burgess lamented the potential closure, calling them ‘”the lifeblood of Manchester’s vital network of venues.”

A week later, the sites have now been bought by Tokyo Industries (TI), after joining forces with Burgess and SSD Concerts in a bid to deliver “some great ideas” and “save both venues.”

TI founder Aaron Mellor believes the “cultural fabric of our city centres” depends on the preservation of grassroots music venues.

Mellor said: “Over the weekend, we have put together some great ideas with SSD Concerts and Tim Burgess 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.”

The decision to unite comes naturally for SSD Concerts’ CEO, Steve Davis.

Mr Davies said: “Ever since I first promoted a Charlatans acoustic show at The Deaf Institute ten years ago, I have had a real love for the venue so it will be an honour to work on the next chapter in their stories.

“Gorilla is one of my favourite places to watch gigs in the whole of the north west’s amazing music scene.”

Now that the deal has been struck, the legal process is ‘well underway’ to save both venues.

In the words of Mission Mar’s executive, Roy Ellis, the decision to save both venues was ‘great news’ for the “music-loving people of Manchester”.

“The bad news announcement last week regarding the closure plans galvanised an unprecedented level of interest from passionate operators from across the region and even beyond.

“I’m extremely grateful that we’ve been able to find a new and appropriate new home for these amazing venues and people.”

There is no doubt there will be many challenges for grassroots organisations across the UK as we gradually come out of lockdown – and time will soon reveal the full impact.

Nevertheless, the latest decision to save two of Manchester’s cherished venues may well show a glimmer of hope for an industry that has struggled during the pandemic.

Words by April Ryan

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