On Thursday the 7th of December, Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, called for a parliamentary debate on supporting small and grassroots music venues across the UK following the closure of beloved grassroots music venue Moles.

Mrs Hobhouse noted that Moles had been an "incubator for many new talents and gave many household names their first chance on stage." She continued to press the government to hold a specific debate on the importance of small and grassroots music venues nationwide.

The MP warned that without grassroots venues, there will be no music industry. She highlighted figures showing over 120 small music venues in the UK were forced to close last year alone due to unmanageable cost pressures. 

In response, Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt expressed regret at the closure and agreed on the importance of rebuilding the sector after the difficulties of the pandemic. 

Wera Hobhouse is the Chair of the Music in Education APPG, and met with the Music Venues Trust earlier this year to discuss the mounting pressures across the sector, as she learned that 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. 

Wera Hobhouse, Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, commented:

“As someone who is deeply passionate about the transformative power of music, I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to support grassroots music venues in Bath.

“It is devastating to see Moles, which provided an essential platform for emerging local artists and musicians to hone their craft and showcase their talent, forced to close.

“Parliamentarians must come together and show their support for these all-important community hubs. This must be in the form of action - not just warm words. Without local small venues, our cities will lose out on so much joy.” 

Moles' Founder and Co-owner, Philip Andrews, said:

“Last year we lost 125 grass roots venues. Bands like Oasis, The Smiths, Tears For Fears, Supergrass, The Eurythmics, Radiohead and others too numerous to mention all passed through Moles Club on their way to international fame.

“But now the cumulative effect of PRS, VAT and rates charges plus all the other legislation put grass roots music live venues under extreme threat and without government action there will be no live music industry in the future.

“It’s too late for Moles but for the sake of other small venues and the bands of the future, that action cannot come soon enough.”