Boileroom boss Dominique Frazer on why the industry would struggle without indie venues

Boileroom boss Dominique Frazer on why the industry would struggle without indie venues

Dominique Frazer, director of The Boileroom in Guildford, has spoken to Music Week about the scale of the problems facing independent venues in the UK. 

We gathered a host of names from the sector including Mark Davyd and Sybil Bell for a recent news special about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and Frazer spoke about the moment she realised “income was about to dry up” for her venue.

The Boileroom won the Grassroots Venue award at the Music Week Awards in 2018 and is widely regarded as one of the best on the circuit. Frazer’s team started a Crowdfunder appeal as the UK went into lockdown and has so far raised £23,118.

But while Frazer and her team’s gratitude is clear, she says the crisis could leave behind an irreversible impact. Subscribers can read the full story here, below is an extract from our conversation with Frazer.

What does the reaction tell us about the importance of independent venues? 

“I think we have always known how important indie venues are! We are the lifeblood of your local creative scene, and that mass of creativity from our locality flows and affects music and the arts nationally and internationally. Without these spaces how would our emotional, physical and spiritual selves develop? In fact, the whole music industry would struggle if we weren’t incubating talent in the way that we do.”

How serious is the situation for you?

“As a member of the Music Venues Trust, we have received invaluable advice and guidance on all schemes, grants and loans available to grassroots venues. There are 551 members; all of whom are gravely concerned for the future of their respective venues. With no income coming in during what should have been one of the busiest quarters for live music and with opinions from scientists and Government saying the crisis could continue into early next year, we all have serious and founded fears that this could end grassroots venues altogether.”

We have serious and founded fears that this could end grassroots venues altogether

What are you missing most with the venue closed, how can you keep positive? 

“It’s been a very challenging time for all the team, we miss the people, the crowds – being part of a live gig can be a pretty cathartic experience , it can facilitate all sorts of emotions and really help people getting through their day to day. We miss watching a sea of faces dancing to and engaging with the incredible creatives and artists that grace our stage. We miss being with our crew – our team is our family. The kind words in the comments of our Crowdfunder have really kept us going, the last few weeks have been an emotionally turbulent time for us all. We’ve been chatting to our staff over Whatsapp, sharing playlists, and there’s also talk of an online Karaoke session soon. We’re making plans for the venue relaunch party which is part of our Crowdfunder campaign, when we can all be together again.”

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