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Brighton’s live music venues in crisis

Brighton’s live music scene has lost two of its most student-friendly venues in recent months with another looking set to follow. Popular venues in Brighton, such as the Barfly and Pressure Point, have closed and Freebutt is struggling to make money.

With live music getting ever more popular, it seems strange that a certain size of live music venue in Brighton is failing to pull in enough punters. The Barfly was closed for refurbishment a few months ago and its re-opening does not look hopeful. This now seems to be part of a growing trend.

The Freebutt was bought 18 months ago and has suffered continual money loss and often incites noise complaints from neighbours. The company have since refurbished the venue massively to avoid complaints and refresh their image. This has not improved the situation, however, as it has now gone on sale again.

Asked why this is, Andy Rossiter, manager of the Freebutt, cites the credit crunch and the smoking ban as big deterrents for customers who can’t afford as many nights out, and would rather sit at home with a beer and smoke in their own living room. Budget, he claims, is also a big problem- it’s very tight. Smaller venues cannot promote as easily as Oceana and other big profit-making venues in Brighton, which means that a lot of people are unaware of what’s going on.

The Freebutt, he suggested, also suffers from poor management. The offices are based in Southampton and could be blamed for not understanding the Brighton market well enough to compete in it.

Many live music fans feel it is a terrible shame that organic showrooms for new talent and an alternative night out are on their way out, whilst live music on a bigger scale thrives, yet in the current economic climate the challenge is to sink or swim.

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