A live music venue in Peterborough has been saved with a lifeline grant from the Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund.
The Met Lounge on Bridge Street in Peterborough is one of 135 grassroots music venues awarded much needed cash from the emergency funding package.
The long running popular local music venue which has hosted the likes of Ed Sheeran, The Darkness, Example and Snow Patrol before they hit the big time, as well as hundreds of local acts, will receive a grant to help it survive and support jobs in the area.
£3.36 million will be shared between 135 music venues including The Met Lounge which successfully applied for emergency support to survive from the imminent risk of collapse in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
In response to the demand for help from some of the hardest hit in the sector, an additional £1.1 million was accelerated by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to help as many venues as quickly as possible.
Met Lounge owner Steve Jason, said: “At 6 hours notice on the 20th March we were faced with no door or bar income and no timeline when to expect things to return to normal.
“It’s certainly been a challenging 5 months since we were forced to close in March.
“Our resources have certainly been very stretched. We’re pleased to have been recognised as one of the most important national grass roots venues by the Government and are thankful for this grant which will certainly help immediate payment needs.”
Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, recognised the importance of venues such as The Met Lounge and said:
“Grassroots music venues are where the magic starts and these emergency grants from our £1.57bn fund will ensure these music venues survive to create the stars of the future.
“At this difficult time we are here for culture, so I am delighted that The Met Lounge Peterborough is being helped with government grants as part of our £1.57 billion cultural recovery fund. This funding award reflects its importance to its community, the musicians it supports, and to the UK’s ongoing success in making the music the world wants to listen to.”
The accelerated funding has been delivered by Arts Council England in under a month to save grassroots venues facing huge challenges as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Venues could apply for emergency grants to cover on-going running costs incurred during closure, including rent and utilities.
The Met Lounge has been open since 1999 in the city centre and has promoted over 1000 shows at the club since then.
Owner Steve Jason says they’re now working on plans to start introducing live shows back in the venue.
“We’ve brought now ‘household name bands’ such as The Darkness, Ed Sheeran, Biffy Clyro, The Kooks , Enter Shikari, Snow Patrol, Frank Turner, The Pigeon Detectives, Jack Savoretti and Example to The Met before they became big names but we also give local bands chance to play and that’s why it’s important that venues like ourselves continue to survive.
“We still believe that an indie/rock/metal band from Peterborough will make it through to the big time. We’ve been close a couple of times over the years and when they do and they’re selling out arenas across the UK then we’ll be proud to say ‘We saw them when they played to 50 people at The Met!
“Every big band was a small band once! We certainly intend on still being around when things get back to normal.”
Indoor performances can now restart with socially distanced audiences, so music venues are able to reopen safely, alongside other culture venues and heritage sites.
Music venues are also eligible to apply for a share of £500 million in grants being delivered to cultural organisations by Arts Council England, which is accepting applications until September 4.