Rachael Farrington, the woman behind the Chester Live Music Venue campaign, outlines why Chester needs a purpose-built music venue. Please make sure you sign Rachael’s petition.
Hi, my name is Rachael Farrington, I’m 17 and I’ve started a campaign to get a music venue in Chester.
Chester is a city very close to my heart, my maternal family all live there meaning I’m in the city at least once a week, it’s the closest shopping destination to me and it’s got fantastic rail links to major cities such as Liverpool and Manchester.
Chester is missing something though, a music venue. Okay so Chester has theatres and outdoor performance areas but none of the facilities in Chester are really suitable for a few hundred screaming fans to ‘mosh out’ to their favourite band.
Due to it being the summer holidays I was looking for some events that might be worth getting tickets for to fill in my 6 week break from college. I found plenty of decent bands performing in Crewe, Shrewsbury and Manchester but very little going on in Chester for music fans. Of course Chester Rocks has been a huge success and has proved that big name artists have an audience waiting for them in Chester, but this is only once a year!
I asked my mother, who seems to be full of knowledge about the place she spent her childhood running around, about what music venues there were in Chester, she named a few of the theaters such as The Forum Theatre, where I spent many winters evenings as a young child watching pantomimes, and it seems they specialise in productions from theatre groups rather than concerts, and as far as I know all the theatres in Chester have a similar target market and performance type to the Forum Theatre.
There are of course a vast amount of pubs and bars that have fantastic live music performances but nothing really on such a scale that encourages big name artists to perform there. I started a discussion on LinkedIn about this subject which got some really interesting points, John Arnold pointed out “If Chester’s own Russ Abbott was on a comedy tour where in Chester would he play? When there’s a groundswell for the Mansun reunion tour, again where would you put them in their home city ?”
As a result of this, we’re forced to travel to Manchester to see groups perform thus pumping money into Manchester’s economy and not our beloved Chester’s. The nearest venue my favourite band, Two Door Cinema Club, have played at is Manchester Academy (it costs me £20 to get there which is more than the concert ticket itself!). Manchester has some fantastic small-scale venues which would be a fantastic precedent to Chester if it decided to take on such a project, such as:
- Manchester Academy; a concert venue which is also used by the Manchester University Students Union. The 2,300 capacity venue has seen artists such as Amy Winehouse, The Fratellis, Jessie J, Iggy Pop and hundreds of other big names!
- Manchester O2 Apollo; a 3,500 capacity venue which is branded by O2, giving their customers perks such as early entry and a special O2 lounge.
I started a petition to raise this issue with the council. Chester West and Chester Council replied to my saying that due to strict budgets they’re unable to help at this time, much what I was expecting really, but they did say that they would support us non-financially if we were able to find an investor.
So I’m hoping to do just that. I’m hoping to encourage a company to come and set up a venue similar to the 02 Apollo but I need your support!