Moles, one of Bath's most iconic independent music venues, has today announced its closure after 45 years of entertaining gig-goers from near and far.

In a statement posted to social media, the venue cited the "cost of living crisis, huge rent rates and massively increased costs" as the reasons for the "incredibly difficult decision".

The venue has hosted a plethora of now super successful stars, including the likes of Ed Sheeran, Pulp, The Smiths and Mumford and Sons.

Moles has also played a massive role in championing local music, putting on a host of weekly gigs with local talent featuring heavily on the lineup. This is something that has been the ethos of Moles since the beginning. The club even had a hand in creating the artwork for Supergrass' debut album, I Should Coco - A photograph taken in the venue's dressing room is featured on the back of the original release CD casing.

Over the years, the venue has struggled through tough times, including a fire caused by an electrical fault in 2014 and a global pandemic, which caused many hospitality businesses to close, in 2020. Though through it all, the venue and its community continued to fight on.

Another reason cited in the venue's closing statement is that punters are, too, feeling the affects of the cost of living crisis.

It was also mentioned that seven new arenas were being built, and profits for larger venues soaring, despite 120 grassroots music venue closures in the past year.

Back in March, Wera Hobhouse, MP for Bath and Chair of the Music in Education All Party Parliamentary Group, met with members of the Music Venue Trust to discuss the challenges facing grassroots music venues in the city.

The MVT is a UK registered charity which acts to protect, secure, and improve the UK’s grassroots music venue circuit. In Bath, the trust represents seven venues: The Bell Inn, Chapel Arts Centre, Komedia, Moles, The Royal Oak, St Jame Wine Vaults and Walcot House.

Tom Maddicott, the owner of Moles in Bath, spoke with Mrs Hobhouse about the role his venue plays in the city. Moles supports Bath College and local musicians to practise their skills in front of live audiences, while also attracting swathes of visitors by hosting larger acts.

Tom and Wera discussed how the seven grassroots music venues in Bath could have the potential to boost the local economy by encouraging gig-goers to stay in hotels and use local services.

However, they also spoke about how there are significant barriers stopping Bath venues from maximising their potential. Grassroots Music Venues operate, on average, with a 0.2% profit margin. This makes them uniquely vulnerable to external factors such as the cost of living crisis and artist popularity.

Moles also reported that the energy costs for the venue have doubled, and that people are not going out as much as the cost of living crisis continues to pinch.

Under Liberal Democrat proposals, small and medium-sized businesses would be offered government grants covering 80% of the increase in their energy bills for one year, up to a maximum of £50,000.

Unfortunately, this financial olive branch was not one that could come quick enough for Moles.

Following the closure announcement this morning (Tuesday, 5th December), Bath MP Wera Hobhouse commented: "“I am shocked and saddened to learn this news. Moles is truly a huge part of Bath's cultural legacy, having given so many young bands a place to showcase their musical talents, and hosted many who went on to make it big. A world-famous name, and will be much missed.”

Read the full statement on their website.