Search The Line of Best Fit
Search The Line of Best Fit
Tom Maddicott outside moles

Moles, legendary music venue in Bath, permanently closes after 45 years

05 December 2023, 13:07 | Written by Tyler Damara Kelly

One of the best-known grassroots music venues in the UK, Moles in Bath, has filed for insolvency stating that the rise in costs and overheads and the impact of the cost-of-living crisis have made it impossible to continue.

Since opening its doors in 1978, Moles has earned legendary status hosting and championing live music from acts on both a global and local scale. Countless festival and stadium headliners including Ed Sheeran, The Killers, Fat Boy Slim, Oasis, Blur, Radiohead, The Smiths and Idles have played at the 220-capacity venue during the early stages of their careers.

Announcing the news Tom Maddicott, co-owner of Moles, said “Making the decision to close Moles was horrendous, but the cost-of-living crisis has crippled us. Massively increased costs of stock, utilities and rent compounded by our customers also feeling the impact of the crisis has made it impossible to continue. It’s obviously an incredibly difficult decision to have to take, for our team, the staff, the local community, and the artists that over the years have created such an incredible history of music. But the reality is that live music at grassroots level is no longer economically viable and we will not be the only grassroots music venue forced to close. There needs to be a major shake-up of the live industry with the big players supporting the grassroots where it all begins to secure that pipeline of talent. Football gets it with the Premier League investing millions in the grassroots game each year to bring through new players. The music industry needs to do the same before the entire grassroots sector collapses.”

Grassroots Music Venues are widely acknowledged as the ‘research and development’ department of the music industry. Whilst the top tier of the live industry has had a remarkably successful year, promoting hundreds of additional large-scale events at significantly increased ticket prices featuring artists originally nurtured by the grassroots sector, over 120 grassroots venues (15%) have closed with a further 84 currently in crisis. Meanwhile, at least seven new arenas are currently planned in cities across the UK.

Mark Davyd, CEO and Founder of Music Venue Trust, said “Today is a very sad day for our sector. Grassroots Music Venues like Moles – one of the best loved and most efficiently run venues in the country for almost 45 years - have done everything they can to keep afloat, investing every penny they can into trying to fulfil their commitment to live music. Venues like these all over the country are going out of business, whilst helping nurture the artists that will go on to generate millions for the broader music industry.

"We have today written to the government and to opposition parties to insist that, in the event that the music industry will not act voluntarily, a compulsory levy on every ticket sold for every live music event above 5,000 capacity that takes place in the UK must be introduced by legislation to prevent the devastation of the sector," he adds.

Music Venue Trust is a registered charity, created in January 2014 to protect, secure and improve the UK live music network by securing the long-term future of iconic grassroots music venues.

Share article

Get the Best Fit take on the week in music direct to your inbox every Friday

Read next