Bath’s iconic grassroots venue Moles to close after 45 years

“There needs to be a major shake-up of the live sector, with the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent,” says the venue.

Moles in Bath. The photograph shows its black sign with the name Moles in white text outside the venue.

Image: Mike Kemp / Getty

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Bath music venue Moles is sadly closing after 45 years. The 220-capacity grassroots club provided a stage to artists such as Oasis and Ed Sheeran during their early careers.

Moles opened in 1978 on New Year’s Eve, and went on to form a vital part of the blossoming careers of many musicians who went on to make it big. These include Manic Street Preachers, Blur, Pulp, The Cure, Wolf Alice and more.

The venue announced the news in a post on social media shared earlier today (5 December). Its statement reads: “Today, we are heartbroken to announce that Moles, in its current form, is closing, effective immediately. It’s an incredibly difficult decision for our team, the staff, the local community, and the artists who, over the years, have created such an incredible history of music.

“We’ve weathered many things over the years, including a fire and a pandemic in the last 10 years alone, but this cost of living crisis has crippled the grassroots music sector. Although that is not the only problem, it has accentuated it. Huge rent rates, along with massively increased costs on everything from utilities to stock, are all factors.”

It continues, “This has been compounded by our customers also feeling the impact of the crisis. We are not the only grassroots music venue to close in the past year. Over 120 other venues have closed as well, which is over 15 percent of the sector. Places that mean as much to others as Moles means to us.”

The venue also reinstates that the live sector at arena level is having a “bumper year” with record profits. “There needs to be a major shake-up of the live sector, with the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent,” it argues. “This is something that Music Venue Trust has been saying for years; maybe now the industry will listen.

Moles was one of the last venues remaining from the first Oasis tour. It also formed part of the estimated 366 grassroots venues played by Sheeran before he made it big. 150 of those have now closed. “This decimation of the sector has to stop now. Unless bands have these stages to play, where will they hone their talents and become these huge artists that fill these arenas and stadiums around the world?”

It later adds, “Thank you to everyone who has ever worked here; we achieved a lot, and it couldn’t have been done without them. And all the bands and DJs that have played, and all of you who came down, bought a ticket, and danced and sang, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Today, we are heartbroken, but the good memories will last forever, and for that, we will always be grateful.”

Read the full statement below:

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