Putting the fun back into live music!
The Woodman, Colchester Road, Halstead, Essex. A bit of a drive and a very late return home, but it was worth it! But the joy we experienced at the wonderful evening we had there last night (Friday 15 August 2014), was tempered by the sadness that the venue is closing down.
If you read our previous news item, we said it is being sold. The fact is that the building is being sold from under the feet of the management and staff, who have made the pub into a very successful live music venue. It will become a Co-Op store, with flats upstairs. The company that owns the building has sold it for a large amount of money. Planning permission for the change of use has been obtained, but the pub manager only found out when a resident in the street, a customer at the pub, brought over a notification from the council sent to local residents about the change of use.
Given that it was being sold, we expected to find a below-average pub, with hardly any customers, a failure. Instead we found a lively, packed pub of people who come from miles around because they like live music. In fact we were told that the numbers were down on the usual because we were clashing with the V2 event in Chelmsford.
There’s no point in getting nostalgic, fewer people drink in the UK, and there is less demand for pubs. But this is different. A successful venue that promotes live music. It goes to show that the people who own buildings can turn a successful venue into a failure with a stroke of the pen.
Meanwhile we’ve had a gig for 17th August, at the Miley in Rochford, cancelled. We’ve not been told officially, but we suspect that they’re having neighbour problems. Another thing that stands in the way of live music.