Last independent live music venue in Blackburn set to close

Lancashire Telegraph: The Live Lounge The Live Lounge

BLACKBURN town centre’s last independent live music venue has announced that it is to close down.

The manager has confirmed that the Live Lounge nightclub will call last orders for the final time in 12 weeks.

It has seen performances from the likes of Cast’s John Power and Ocean Colour Scene’s Steve Craddock in the last 12 months, while also providing a place for local talent to play and thrive.

The announcement which was made on its website, raises further concern about Blackburn’s struggling night time economy.

Telegraph columnist and Blackburn businesswoman, Margo Grimshaw said: “It is a bit sad, really. In Blackburn’s heyday we had seven or eight live music venues. What has happened to our vibrant town?

“People don’t come to Blackburn now because you need a good run of pubs for people to want to go out.

“Blackburn is more or less closed by 9pm on a Saturday night now.”

Musician and music producer, David Robinson from Mill Hill, said: “This will have a huge negative impact on the local music and nightlife scene.

“We’ve suffered in Blackburn since the closure of the Cellar Bar in 2008, which used to promote gigs and live events, and the Live Lounge was the last place left in Blackburn for live music.”

“There’s hardly any pubs left and it’s very rare that they put live bands on these days.”

“The music scene just isn’t going to exist in Blackburn any more.”

Councillor Maureen Bateson, executive member for regeneration said: “Improving the local economy is one of our key priorities and we are committed to working with town centre businesses to do all we can to boost both the day and night time economies.

“We are aware of the challenges the town centre faces, especially in this economic climate and we are always looking at new ways to promote Blackburn as place to visit, shop and enjoy live entertainment. ”

Comments (19)

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9:24pm Thu 25 Jul 13

Darwen Malc says...

Went down town last Saturday around half nine at night, Blackburn Times (FJ Nichols) were closing up, only 8 in Corrigans, Baroque closed, O'Neills half empty, as was Postal Order and Last Orders, Live lounge looked busy(ish) but that's probably cos everyone was on the outdoor tables, and Charles Napier all but dead.
Maureen Bateson can wish for all she wants but she cant get away from the fact that Blackburn is no longer the place for a night out, and probably never ever will be.
Its Bolton for me next time.
Went down town last Saturday around half nine at night, Blackburn Times (FJ Nichols) were closing up, only 8 in Corrigans, Baroque closed, O'Neills half empty, as was Postal Order and Last Orders, Live lounge looked busy(ish) but that's probably cos everyone was on the outdoor tables, and Charles Napier all but dead. Maureen Bateson can wish for all she wants but she cant get away from the fact that Blackburn is no longer the place for a night out, and probably never ever will be. Its Bolton for me next time. Darwen Malc

10:59pm Thu 25 Jul 13

fireonthemountain says...

Blackburn town centre is dark , dismal and dangerous .

You walk in fear , amidst a sea of druggies , alkies , beggers and prozzies.

I'm told it's even worse at night .
Blackburn town centre is dark , dismal and dangerous . You walk in fear , amidst a sea of druggies , alkies , beggers and prozzies. I'm told it's even worse at night . fireonthemountain

11:09pm Thu 25 Jul 13

Reality50 says...

Good live music venues sadly are dying out everywhere it seems but so are decent live bands. The smoking ban,high beer and spirits prices,poor public transport facilities at night plus a change in peoples entertainment culture has hit the pub and club trade hard. My town of Bolton has lost some cracking live venues although at least our pub area of Bradshawgate-and Wigan's King Street-are just about surviving. Blackburn was a decent night out 20-30 years ago and remember a few good nights at Peppermint Place!. Without going down the racial route,it has to be said that Blackburn has almost 30pc Asian population and pubs and live venues are not really their scene so any pub or venue is restricted to clientele. I fear for the future of Blackburn and all the old cotton mill towns tbh. They all are decaying and badly need new life in them and there's a serious lack of hope or investment. Sad times.
Good live music venues sadly are dying out everywhere it seems but so are decent live bands. The smoking ban,high beer and spirits prices,poor public transport facilities at night plus a change in peoples entertainment culture has hit the pub and club trade hard. My town of Bolton has lost some cracking live venues although at least our pub area of Bradshawgate-and Wigan's King Street-are just about surviving. Blackburn was a decent night out 20-30 years ago and remember a few good nights at Peppermint Place!. Without going down the racial route,it has to be said that Blackburn has almost 30pc Asian population and pubs and live venues are not really their scene so any pub or venue is restricted to clientele. I fear for the future of Blackburn and all the old cotton mill towns tbh. They all are decaying and badly need new life in them and there's a serious lack of hope or investment. Sad times. Reality50

11:09pm Thu 25 Jul 13

Reality50 says...

Good live music venues sadly are dying out everywhere it seems but so are decent live bands. The smoking ban,high beer and spirits prices,poor public transport facilities at night plus a change in peoples entertainment culture has hit the pub and club trade hard. My town of Bolton has lost some cracking live venues although at least our pub area of Bradshawgate-and Wigan's King Street-are just about surviving. Blackburn was a decent night out 20-30 years ago and remember a few good nights at Peppermint Place!. Without going down the racial route,it has to be said that Blackburn has almost 30pc Asian population and pubs and live venues are not really their scene so any pub or venue is restricted to clientele. I fear for the future of Blackburn and all the old cotton mill towns tbh. They all are decaying and badly need new life in them and there's a serious lack of hope or investment. Sad times.
Good live music venues sadly are dying out everywhere it seems but so are decent live bands. The smoking ban,high beer and spirits prices,poor public transport facilities at night plus a change in peoples entertainment culture has hit the pub and club trade hard. My town of Bolton has lost some cracking live venues although at least our pub area of Bradshawgate-and Wigan's King Street-are just about surviving. Blackburn was a decent night out 20-30 years ago and remember a few good nights at Peppermint Place!. Without going down the racial route,it has to be said that Blackburn has almost 30pc Asian population and pubs and live venues are not really their scene so any pub or venue is restricted to clientele. I fear for the future of Blackburn and all the old cotton mill towns tbh. They all are decaying and badly need new life in them and there's a serious lack of hope or investment. Sad times. Reality50

12:13am Fri 26 Jul 13

2 for 5p says...

Blackburn centre is a pathetic night out. Beer prices are cheaper than the out of town ratty local pubs.
Therefore all the dregs of the town congregate there, and put people like me, who are decent off from going.
Last year I went into fj Nichols/ times bar, no thanks talk about toilet people. Phew. :-)
Blackburn centre is a pathetic night out. Beer prices are cheaper than the out of town ratty local pubs. Therefore all the dregs of the town congregate there, and put people like me, who are decent off from going. Last year I went into fj Nichols/ times bar, no thanks talk about toilet people. Phew. :-) 2 for 5p

5:40am Fri 26 Jul 13

Lurid67 says...

Hardly surprising really when you look at all the alkies waiting for the pubs to open at 9am FFS. Who are these people who can afford to sup from 9-5?

We get crime reduction stats rammed down our throats by the cops/council etc when truth is people do not report a lot of crime due to the pathetic response from said authorities.

Blackburn TC is dangerous at night and IMO a lot of this is due to the alkies and the violent nature of the worlds scum noone but Straw and his cronies dumped on us for votes.

Sad when a lot of people shun their own town for recreation/shopping and leisure for nearby safer towns.
Hardly surprising really when you look at all the alkies waiting for the pubs to open at 9am FFS. Who are these people who can afford to sup from 9-5? We get crime reduction stats rammed down our throats by the cops/council etc when truth is people do not report a lot of crime due to the pathetic response from said authorities. Blackburn TC is dangerous at night and IMO a lot of this is due to the alkies and the violent nature of the worlds scum noone but Straw and his cronies dumped on us for votes. Sad when a lot of people shun their own town for recreation/shopping and leisure for nearby safer towns. Lurid67

7:15am Fri 26 Jul 13

woolywords says...

The sad fact of the matter is that Thwaites, the majority owner of pubs in the town, has for the last few years been quietly sinking, like the RMS Titanic after striking that iceberg. It has wrung every possible penny it can out of the landlords who 'made a go' of some places, by being the place to go and be seen. Hiking rents up on the more vibrant and profitable pubs to the point where the managers threw up their hands in defeat and walked away from the trade entirely. Even Margo Grimshaw, that pillar of our night life, would struggle in the climate of today, with over priced, abysmal quality of drinks and food on offer, to make any decent return on her investment.
Whilst the brewers trot out excuses of weather and the smoking ban, the sad fact of the matter is that they set in motion the demise of the pub, years ago, when they put pubs in the hands of lack-lustre managers instead of people with a stake in the pub and a genuine wish to make a living. They didn't care whether they sold one pint or ten thousand, they still got paid at the end of each month. Any chance of making any money in a pub long since became impossible, once the bean counters got their way, by demanding a quick return via much higher rents instead of taking the long view. They just had to make a year on year profit and to Hell with the consequences of their actions.
Remember, when they moaned and wailed at how prices had to rise because of VAT? Even though they managed to sneak in an wholly unnecessary large price rise on the back of it. The truth was there for all to see in their profits in the years after the introduction of that tax. What can't speak, can't lie.
The one question that the brewers cannot seem to answer is, how is that you can ship beer in a can, hundreds of miles to a supermarket distribution centre, for it to be shipped back to the same town, then be sold for a £1 per pint, yet cannot ship gallons of it, in a reusable cask, across the town and sell it for the same price, or dare I say it, even less?
Another question is, why didn't you invest in a few micro-breweries, to create a little competition in taste, to entice people to visit different pubs?
The sad fact of the matter is, now the cash cow, that was a profitable business, is all milked out and you have no other way of making any money, apart from selling up pubs in an haphazard way, with covenants to ensure that nobody else has a viable chance of catering to those whom you have squeezed dry.
All is not lost though, there is a glimmer of hope for you, if you want to make a little money to survive the coming economic storm of interest rate rises.
Open up the visitors centre as a pub, selling just lagers and beers, no spirits or food, priced at just 50p over the cost price. Even go so far as to get in stock your rivals drinks, so that you are making a profit on their popularity, without losing a single customer. It may seem like an insane idea to you but the bus station is going to open soon and people that dare to venture into town, will need a place to meet up. Why not capitalise on that?
I dare you to think out of the box, or should I say coffin, that you have created and make an effort to win back the lost trade. Your loyal customer is still out there, just waiting for you to make the right move. Don't squander this last chance of redeeming yourself in their eyes.
The sad fact of the matter is that Thwaites, the majority owner of pubs in the town, has for the last few years been quietly sinking, like the RMS Titanic after striking that iceberg. It has wrung every possible penny it can out of the landlords who 'made a go' of some places, by being the place to go and be seen. Hiking rents up on the more vibrant and profitable pubs to the point where the managers threw up their hands in defeat and walked away from the trade entirely. Even Margo Grimshaw, that pillar of our night life, would struggle in the climate of today, with over priced, abysmal quality of drinks and food on offer, to make any decent return on her investment. Whilst the brewers trot out excuses of weather and the smoking ban, the sad fact of the matter is that they set in motion the demise of the pub, years ago, when they put pubs in the hands of lack-lustre managers instead of people with a stake in the pub and a genuine wish to make a living. They didn't care whether they sold one pint or ten thousand, they still got paid at the end of each month. Any chance of making any money in a pub long since became impossible, once the bean counters got their way, by demanding a quick return via much higher rents instead of taking the long view. They just had to make a year on year profit and to Hell with the consequences of their actions. Remember, when they moaned and wailed at how prices had to rise because of VAT? Even though they managed to sneak in an wholly unnecessary large price rise on the back of it. The truth was there for all to see in their profits in the years after the introduction of that tax. What can't speak, can't lie. The one question that the brewers cannot seem to answer is, how is that you can ship beer in a can, hundreds of miles to a supermarket distribution centre, for it to be shipped back to the same town, then be sold for a £1 per pint, yet cannot ship gallons of it, in a reusable cask, across the town and sell it for the same price, or dare I say it, even less? Another question is, why didn't you invest in a few micro-breweries, to create a little competition in taste, to entice people to visit different pubs? The sad fact of the matter is, now the cash cow, that was a profitable business, is all milked out and you have no other way of making any money, apart from selling up pubs in an haphazard way, with covenants to ensure that nobody else has a viable chance of catering to those whom you have squeezed dry. All is not lost though, there is a glimmer of hope for you, if you want to make a little money to survive the coming economic storm of interest rate rises. Open up the visitors centre as a pub, selling just lagers and beers, no spirits or food, priced at just 50p over the cost price. Even go so far as to get in stock your rivals drinks, so that you are making a profit on their popularity, without losing a single customer. It may seem like an insane idea to you but the bus station is going to open soon and people that dare to venture into town, will need a place to meet up. Why not capitalise on that? I dare you to think out of the box, or should I say coffin, that you have created and make an effort to win back the lost trade. Your loyal customer is still out there, just waiting for you to make the right move. Don't squander this last chance of redeeming yourself in their eyes. woolywords

7:17am Fri 26 Jul 13

Pyewacket2 says...

Its a better night out in Darwen, last time I was there a couple of months ago, had a good time.
Its a better night out in Darwen, last time I was there a couple of months ago, had a good time. Pyewacket2

7:56am Fri 26 Jul 13

hasslem hasslem says...

Reality50 wrote:
Good live music venues sadly are dying out everywhere it seems but so are decent live bands. The smoking ban,high beer and spirits prices,poor public transport facilities at night plus a change in peoples entertainment culture has hit the pub and club trade hard. My town of Bolton has lost some cracking live venues although at least our pub area of Bradshawgate-and Wigan's King Street-are just about surviving. Blackburn was a decent night out 20-30 years ago and remember a few good nights at Peppermint Place!. Without going down the racial route,it has to be said that Blackburn has almost 30pc Asian population and pubs and live venues are not really their scene so any pub or venue is restricted to clientele. I fear for the future of Blackburn and all the old cotton mill towns tbh. They all are decaying and badly need new life in them and there's a serious lack of hope or investment. Sad times.
nowt to do with racial stats - blackburn is an awful night out period. if there is a 30% asian population (which there is) there is still 70% white.

the atmosphere is awful on a nightime in the town - i had the misfortune to venture in last year with some pals (i was duty driver) and it was dead. eventually left around 9.30 and driving round KGH some clowns (proper adults, not kids) started kicking my car and hurling abuse.

christ knows what has happened - bolton has a large asian population but it is jumping. blood n sand even burnley has a better night out than blackburn.

and heaven forfend - if you go out in darwen on a friday/sat night - plenty of busy pubs and live music going on - comes to summat when little old darwen is a better night out than blackburn.

how did this all happen - blackburn used to be a belting night out with numerous crawls depending on your preference. such a shame - can't see it recovering in a long time.
[quote][p][bold]Reality50[/bold] wrote: Good live music venues sadly are dying out everywhere it seems but so are decent live bands. The smoking ban,high beer and spirits prices,poor public transport facilities at night plus a change in peoples entertainment culture has hit the pub and club trade hard. My town of Bolton has lost some cracking live venues although at least our pub area of Bradshawgate-and Wigan's King Street-are just about surviving. Blackburn was a decent night out 20-30 years ago and remember a few good nights at Peppermint Place!. Without going down the racial route,it has to be said that Blackburn has almost 30pc Asian population and pubs and live venues are not really their scene so any pub or venue is restricted to clientele. I fear for the future of Blackburn and all the old cotton mill towns tbh. They all are decaying and badly need new life in them and there's a serious lack of hope or investment. Sad times.[/p][/quote]nowt to do with racial stats - blackburn is an awful night out period. if there is a 30% asian population (which there is) there is still 70% white. the atmosphere is awful on a nightime in the town - i had the misfortune to venture in last year with some pals (i was duty driver) and it was dead. eventually left around 9.30 and driving round KGH some clowns (proper adults, not kids) started kicking my car and hurling abuse. christ knows what has happened - bolton has a large asian population but it is jumping. blood n sand even burnley has a better night out than blackburn. and heaven forfend - if you go out in darwen on a friday/sat night - plenty of busy pubs and live music going on - comes to summat when little old darwen is a better night out than blackburn. how did this all happen - blackburn used to be a belting night out with numerous crawls depending on your preference. such a shame - can't see it recovering in a long time. hasslem hasslem

9:42am Fri 26 Jul 13

willie eckerslike says...

I see another nail is going to be hammered into the burnley and Accrington markets coffin, with the news that a large open air sunday market is going to be held in clitheroe EVERY WEEK, all year round, I have said for months on this forum that burnley market MUST open sundays, or it will be totally empty very soon.
I see another nail is going to be hammered into the burnley and Accrington markets coffin, with the news that a large open air sunday market is going to be held in clitheroe EVERY WEEK, all year round, I have said for months on this forum that burnley market MUST open sundays, or it will be totally empty very soon. willie eckerslike

10:01am Fri 26 Jul 13

Birtrumthegreat says...

You'll find that pubs are ticking over on the outskirts of town, but not in the town centre. Beer pricing and rates are a contributing factor, but it seems like people are staying within their own racially segregated areas too. As the Asian areas expand, you see more pubs closing like most of Revidge, Lammack and Roe Lee.
You'll find that pubs are ticking over on the outskirts of town, but not in the town centre. Beer pricing and rates are a contributing factor, but it seems like people are staying within their own racially segregated areas too. As the Asian areas expand, you see more pubs closing like most of Revidge, Lammack and Roe Lee. Birtrumthegreat

10:06am Fri 26 Jul 13

shytalk says...

Racial segregation has certainly had an effect. as has the fact that breweries tend to prefer to sell to supermarkets as it's more cost effective than selling to pubs with all the associated overheads.
Like everything, places are changing and not always for the better. Blackburn is no exception.
Racial segregation has certainly had an effect. as has the fact that breweries tend to prefer to sell to supermarkets as it's more cost effective than selling to pubs with all the associated overheads. Like everything, places are changing and not always for the better. Blackburn is no exception. shytalk

11:40am Fri 26 Jul 13

O'Malley says...

What a shame. Blackburn used to be a brilliant night out.
What a shame. Blackburn used to be a brilliant night out. O'Malley

12:26pm Fri 26 Jul 13

KL74 says...

I recall reading, a couple of years ago, that plans for new wine bars and clubs in Blackburn had been knocked back by the council. If my memory serves me correctly, the plan was for where the current bus station is. It was knocked back because Blackburn council don't want a drinking culture.

In my opinion the bus station would be perfect for such a plan. Close to both the train and new bus station.

If we had 'nice' places to drink and eat then it would attract a better group of people to Blackburn.

Let the local people have a say in what we want in our town centre.
I recall reading, a couple of years ago, that plans for new wine bars and clubs in Blackburn had been knocked back by the council. If my memory serves me correctly, the plan was for where the current bus station is. It was knocked back because Blackburn council don't want a drinking culture. In my opinion the bus station would be perfect for such a plan. Close to both the train and new bus station. If we had 'nice' places to drink and eat then it would attract a better group of people to Blackburn. Let the local people have a say in what we want in our town centre. KL74

3:31pm Fri 26 Jul 13

Reality50 says...

What Blackburn needs to do is emulate Bolton and Wigan and have one street where almost all the pubs /bars are a la Bradshawgate/King Street.The bottom line is that peoples habits have changed and more people now drink at home due to the smoking ban and excessive food and beer prices in pubs not to mention the increase in pub violence. As i said earlier,with only 70% of the town being white and that percentage dropping year on year,breweries will not see Blackburn as a town in which to invest.You may see an increase in shisha bars however.
What Blackburn needs to do is emulate Bolton and Wigan and have one street where almost all the pubs /bars are a la Bradshawgate/King Street.The bottom line is that peoples habits have changed and more people now drink at home due to the smoking ban and excessive food and beer prices in pubs not to mention the increase in pub violence. As i said earlier,with only 70% of the town being white and that percentage dropping year on year,breweries will not see Blackburn as a town in which to invest.You may see an increase in shisha bars however. Reality50

8:13am Sat 27 Jul 13

bluewindow says...

No wonder Blackburn is going down hill when in 45min you can be in Manchester for £10 return
No wonder Blackburn is going down hill when in 45min you can be in Manchester for £10 return bluewindow

9:49am Sat 27 Jul 13

Excluded again says...

I was out in Darwen last night. The town centre was busy and all the bars I went into were busy. Especially the Crown which had a live band on. Darwen is under the same Council as Blackburn and, joking aside, Darwen pub goers are not that different from Blackburn pub goers.

None of the bars I went into were managed by Thwaites and I think that is telling. Thwaites have caught the pubco disease and manage their estate like the worst of the pubcos. Bland pubs designed by accountants with managers moved if they are successful or just moved. In Darwen almost all the pubs that have closed are Thwaites pubs while new pubs have opened successfully in the town centre.

Blackburn town centre is dominated by Thwaites pubs and I think this is a large part of the answer. Until Thwiates start putting as much originality and taste into their pubs as they do into their beers, Blackburn will struggle. How a company that can produce different beers for different markets and palettes can't work out that the same might be true for its pubs is beyond me.
I was out in Darwen last night. The town centre was busy and all the bars I went into were busy. Especially the Crown which had a live band on. Darwen is under the same Council as Blackburn and, joking aside, Darwen pub goers are not that different from Blackburn pub goers. None of the bars I went into were managed by Thwaites and I think that is telling. Thwaites have caught the pubco disease and manage their estate like the worst of the pubcos. Bland pubs designed by accountants with managers moved if they are successful or just moved. In Darwen almost all the pubs that have closed are Thwaites pubs while new pubs have opened successfully in the town centre. Blackburn town centre is dominated by Thwaites pubs and I think this is a large part of the answer. Until Thwiates start putting as much originality and taste into their pubs as they do into their beers, Blackburn will struggle. How a company that can produce different beers for different markets and palettes can't work out that the same might be true for its pubs is beyond me. Excluded again

1:01pm Sat 27 Jul 13

phil kernot says...

You wil never see a rich man in the pubs just blaggers , **** heads, shoplifters and beggars ( not the homeless type , just on the tap for a drink , at least if thay all shut down taxpayers money won't be going behind thee bar lol
You wil never see a rich man in the pubs just blaggers , **** heads, shoplifters and beggars ( not the homeless type , just on the tap for a drink , at least if thay all shut down taxpayers money won't be going behind thee bar lol phil kernot

8:23pm Sat 27 Jul 13

2 for 5p says...

phil kernot wrote:
You wil never see a rich man in the pubs just blaggers , **** heads, shoplifters and beggars ( not the homeless type , just on the tap for a drink , at least if thay all shut down taxpayers money won't be going behind thee bar lol
Seconded
[quote][p][bold]phil kernot[/bold] wrote: You wil never see a rich man in the pubs just blaggers , **** heads, shoplifters and beggars ( not the homeless type , just on the tap for a drink , at least if thay all shut down taxpayers money won't be going behind thee bar lol[/p][/quote]Seconded 2 for 5p

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