One of Yorkshire's smallest and most remote venues says coronavirus 'feels much the same' as foot and mouth crisis

One of the smallest - and remotest - venues in Yorkshire has likened the impact of the pandemic to the devastating foot and mouth crisis.

With room for just 100 people, the intimate atmosphere of the Band Room in the North York Moors valley of Farndale has traditionally been its selling point.

However, even if all current social distancing restrictions are relaxed at the end of June, it is likely to be some months before the historic venue reopens.

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Promoter Nigel Burnham said: “I don’t want to take any risks. This is a small place and the thought of inviting people here to watch a gig when there is even the slightest chance they might be carrying the virus doesn’t seem right.

Nigel Burnham, promoter at The Band Room

“I remember what it was like during the foot and mouth outbreak (of 2001), and the feeling is much the same then as it is now. Back then people were terrified of doing anything that might make the crisis worse, and the pandemic has put us on that same footing.”

Built in the 1920s to host performances by the Farndale Silver Band, before coronavirus the venue hosted regular folk, blues and world music gigs. Despite its pared back approach to live entertainment, it was once described as “the greatest small venue on earth”.

Mr Burnham, who first visited Farndale, known to many for its annual display of daffodils, on family holidays in the 1960s, added: “At the Band Room, the facilities aren’t high end, you even have to bring your own beer, but the compensation is the wood panelling means the acoustics are fabulous, honestly you can’t beat them.

“Socially distanced gigs just wouldn’t work, the margins are just too small and we can’t expect artists to play for a quarter of what they would normally charge.

“For the moment, I am holding off booking any acts until I can absolutely guarantee that the night will go ahead. There has always been something quite magical about watching music here.

“It is a very special place - anyone who has been here will tell you that. I am sure we will be back again, but we just can’t say when.”