Two north music venues are aiming to raise more than £85,000 to help safeguard their survival as pubs face closure across the country.
Thousands of grassroots music venues have been feeling the strain as a significant downturn in trade left revenue at an all-time low.
Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents hundreds of UK grassroots music venues, is now focussing on securing the future of 30 popular music vendors at risk of closure without financial support.
The charities runs #SaveOurVenues – and Hootananny’s in Inverness is among the ‘red light’ premises fighting for survival.
Restrictions on live performances and gatherings saw revenue dropped by more than 70%, forcing the owners to stop trading for three weeks in October.
Now reopened, the Church Street bar is now only trading on Saturdays to make the most of the bustling weekend trade.
However, as they face a monthly bill of £10,000 to keep the lights on, the independent family-run venue say they are facing the uphill challenge of “trying to survive.”
The owners have now launched a crowdfunding appeal in a desperate effort to raise £50,000 to meet overhead costs.
Events programmer Steven Robertson said losing venues such as Hootananny’s would mark the “death of music culture.”
He said: “It is very much a use it or lose it scenario.
“Who knows what’s happening with the Ironworks and the Market Bar’s gone on sale, which is a well-known music place in town.
“That really does in my opinion leave Gellions and Hootananny’s, especially when it comes to the Scottish culture, as the two main places operating live music in the centre of town so if we lose those places, that pretty much means the death of music culture in the town.
“We are one of 30 venues in the UK that are in exactly the same boat that could close imminently.
“We have been blown away and grateful for the communities support and we hope we can keep that going.”
The city’s oldest venue, The Gellions, has also appealed for the public’s support to raise £35,000 to help keep them afloat following months of virtually no income.
Trading since 1841, the 200-year-old licensed premises on Bridge Street traditionally features more than 600 live Scottish performances each year, encapsulating the culture and traditions of live music in the Highlands.
However, with capacity reduced to just 25% and trading hours restricted, the bar is facing intense pressure.
In a statement they said: “Gellions supports the livelihood of dozens of staff, along with contractors such as security staff and technicians, musicians, and many more, and we need your help.
“As of yet there have been no further announcements of Grassroots Music Venue grants to cover November to March, so at this point we’re forced to look at all funding options from every source possible, and therefore we’re now asking for your support.”
Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said: “What the #saveourvenues campaign has achieved during the last 8 months is truly remarkable.
“If people want these local venues to still be there when this is over there is a very clear call to action: choose a venue, get donating, get writing, get calling, get organised. Save them all. Reopen Every Venue Safely.”
Their funding pleas come as hundreds of Highlanders joined a campaign to save the city’s Market Bar after the owners put it on the market.
The Church Street bar has been highly regarded as the stepping stone for several highly acclaimed Scottish artists including the Proclaimers and Amy MacDonald who have grace the stage of the small city music venue.
After 45 years of non-stop live performances, proud owners Isobel and Ian Shepherd have taken the decision to sell it for an asking price of £695,000.