Half Moon Music Venue Saved

as threatened venue gets last minute reprieve

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One of London's oldest and most famous live music venues, The Half Moon in Putney, which was due to close its doors on the 31st January has been saved. The historic venue which has seen performances over the years by The Rolling Stones, U2 and Kasabian was due to become a gastro-pub. But after an extensive campaign and massive public uproar plus huge support from the press as well as the venue's local MP, landlords Young's reconsidered their plans and have now announced that they intend to keep the premises open as a live music venue.

The Half Moon, which has been hosting live music nearly every night since 1963 got into difficulty over the last year as the recession coupled with rising rates and alcohol duty took their toll. In November the tenants received notice of the closure and a new business model was to be introduced. A ‘Save The Half Moon' campaign and petition was launched which attracted hundreds of signatures and a Facebook group of nearly 6,500 members.

The venue's web forum received messages of support from people all over the world, including Ocean Colour Scene's Simon Fowler, Eddie Reader, X Factor's Jamie Archer and Howard Marks. The Musician's Union also got involved, noting that the UK's emerging talent rely heavily on local music venues as a career platform.

Unable to ignore the strength of public feeling towards the closure of The Half Moon and the determination of its staff to keep it open, Young's offered a last minute reprieve - including a package to help the tenants get through these unprecedented economic times. In return The Half Moon have agreed to introduce food, and have employed a new promotions team who plan to revitalise the venue and its booking policy.

Harry Hill who lent his voice to support the venue said:
"Its great to be involved in helping to bring a little attention to the plight of the half moon, a great institution and a little corner of music history - although anyone that's heard me sing would normally expect it to close down a venue"

Carrie Davies, bookings manager at The Half Moon from 1998 – 2006 has returned and is now a partner in the business. The venue's former marketing and technical guru Stevie Wyatt is also back after 3 years freelancing as a consultant, and promoter of the reputable weekly Halfmoon Unplugged, Redvers Bailey will also be taking a more permanent role. Together the team aim to expand on the Half Moon's programme of up & coming newly signed and unsigned acts, reducing the amount of cover bands.

“Incredibly relieved” was the reaction of The Half Moon's tenant, James Harris who went on to say “The support from the public and the industry has been overwhelming. This was never just about jobs, but about a part of our music heritage. We still face tough times ahead, but at least we can move forward now, and my staff and myself are thrilled and excited”.

On hearing the news that the venue had been saved, local MP Justine Greening said:
"Its fantastic news for our local community - we all wanted to keep such a great pub and music venue.  Hopefully the Halfmoon can now go from strength to strength."

January 8, 2010