New Wirral Music Venue Receives Big Loan To Support Its Future Success
A bold new venue that will be bringing live music to a wirral city on a regular basis has received a large loan to help it grow.
Future Yard on Argyle Street in Birkenhead started early last year but got off to an incredibly difficult start due to the pandemic.
The venue was supposed to start gigs in April 2020 but couldn’t. 12 months later, Covid restrictions are still hampering his plans.
However, Future Yard has received a £ 292,500 loan from the Nesta Arts & Culture Impact Fund which could go a long way in developing a successful Argyle Street venue.
Five arts and cultural organizations in the UK have received loans through the charity, which is supported by public and private funding from organizations such as Arts Council England, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Bank of America, Big Society Capital and the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.
Craig Pennington, Co-Founder of Future Yard, said, “We want to provide a dynamic new space for people to come together, enjoy some of the best new music in the world, support emerging artists and provide new opportunities for local young people.
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“This support from Arts & Culture Finance enabled us to buy our building on Argyle Street and bring it into community ownership. This has ensured Future Yard CIC (Community Interest Company) consistency and enables us to achieve a long-term, sustainable impact. “
Future Yard started as a festival in Birkenhead in 2019.
Thanks to the success of the event on the bank holiday weekend in August, the idea arose to create a separate venue for live music in Wirral.
Speaking to ECHO, Christopher Torpey, Director of Communications at Future Yard said: “Our original plan was to open in April 2020 with a series of shows that we have called a ‘pop-up venue’.
“But these plans were all canceled due to Covid, and we’ve rescheduled ever since.
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“In the meantime we have made a lot of progress on the other sides of Future Yard as an artist center and training center.”
This is an important focus for Future Yard. The venue isn’t just about making money from gigs, it’s about supporting the creative industry in Wirral.
Mr. Torpey said, “We have built five studios in our basement that will be the focus of our artist membership and mentoring program, which will start in July.
“We were able to guide a small group of young people through our first Sound Check training program, which gives people aged 16 to 24 from the local area the opportunity to learn all the skills and roles that go into making live music a reality.
“We have also made a lot of progress on our promise to be the UK’s first climate-neutral grassroots music venue, which we are working towards – and the key to our mission is – as we move forward.”
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So far, Future Yard has only been able to host one show with a live audience due to Covid restrictions.
That was in September 2020 with local artists She Drew The Gun, a socially distant show for 60 people.
Since then, the venue has innovated, offering eight live streaming shows.
However, with the outdoor restaurants reopening on Monday under the rule of six, Mr. Torpey sees a bright future for what could become an important cultural asset in Birkenhead.
He said, “We are currently working on finalizing our new outdoor garden, which will open on Thursday April 15th, with live, distant shows during this time.
“From July 1st we will be fully open in our new café / bar and garden and have live shows with full capacity on site. We’ve spent the last few months developing this live program and it’s looking really good for the rest of the year.
“There’s still a lot to be done, but with the busy touring season approaching this fall, we’re hoping to have at least three shows a week in the live room, but a few weeks will be even busier.”
All of this, of course, requires keeping the virus under control and keeping the government roadmap on track, but it’s very encouraging news for a city like Birkenhead where many feel that culture has been neglected for far too long.
Francesca Sanderson, Nesta’s director of arts and culture programs and investments, said: “The arts and culture sector is one of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. As our funding has grown, we welcome more applicants, especially at this difficult time.
“With the evidence that impact investment can help organizations build resilience, this funding model will be more important than ever. It is time more companies in the industry saw how they could benefit. “
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