Make Some Noice

Boris agent of change backing could be sweet music to venues

By Ed Bedington

- Last updated on GMT

Boris agent of change backing could be sweet music to venues

Related tags Nightclub London

It’s a tough business, the pub trade. Margins are tight, competition intense, consumer demands mercurial and challenges rife.

Much like the farming sector a decade or so ago, we talk more and more about how pubs need to diversify if they’re going to survive. Businesses need to evolve, grow their offer and adapt to survive in the 21st century.

Millennial consumer tastes are changing and the pub sector needs to adapt to meet those changing needs.

Drinks offers, food offers and entertainment offers need to be focused in this competitive age so it is good to see some political support, initially in London, for pubs being able to retain the capacity to offer entertainment options.

With no sense of irony, London’s mayor, Boris Johnson has put out the announcement that he’s “thrown his weight” behind a campaign to support London’s grassroots music venues. Small Japanese children will be breathing a sigh of relief there then.

However, jokes aside, the support is welcome. According to the stats, since 2007, London has lost 35% of its venues — a good many of those will have been pubs — pubs that would have proven a fertile breeding ground for musicians not wishing to run the gauntlet of Simon Cowell and the X Factor.

Boris’s support includes backing for the ‘agent of change’ principle, something the Publican’s Morning Advertiser has been championing for some time in our Make Some Noise campaign.

This means that the onus falls on the property owner or developer to mitigate against issues when moving to or developing property next to a pub or other live music venue.

It’s ridiculous for anyone to think that they can move next door to a pub and then object to reasonable noise and disruption — the old caveat of ‘buyer beware’ should stand here without a doubt. A new night-time economy champion is also a welcome addition — the spin-off benefits to the economy from maintaining a healthy night-time trade and grassroots music scene are multifold, and it’s great to see a role being created to push that issue forward.

So it’s very good news that a political heavyweight like Boris should be backing the sector in London. Hopefully, the influence he will bring will see similar support in local authorities throughout the UK.

It’s not going to solve all the problems but, with a bit more political emphasis and attention, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Pubs do offer great opportunities for musicians starting out on a career and, at the same time, live entertainment can add an important string to the bow of publicans looking to expand their businesses, attract increasing customer numbers and widen their offer.

Meanwhile, another way to market your business is to enter awards, and with the deadline for our Publican Awards looming, I’d urge all of you to visit and get your entries polished up and submitted.

Now celebrating 25 years, these awards offer a great opportunity for businesses to demonstrate leadership and excellence and add to the bottom line at the same time. What are you waiting for?

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