The Leadmill, Sheffield: Yorkshire music enthusiasts, local residents and cultural advocates unite to save the popular music landmark as a rally is set to take place outside Sheffield Town Hall this month

Yorkshire locals, music lovers and cultural advocates will unite this month in a bid to save Sheffield’s popular music venue The Leadmill.

The Leadmill is the longest running live music venue and nightclub in Sheffield and was first opened in 1980 in a former flour mill, which was originally a Community Centre. It initially hosted plays, education and training workshops and live music.

Over the last 43 years the landmark has hosted live music, comedy nights, theatre productions, record fairs, cabaret, drag shows and talks.

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Some of its early gigs included performances by Jimi Hendrix and Small Faces as part of the Esquire, which was a 1960s club.

The Leadmill.The Leadmill.
The Leadmill.

King Charles III, then Prince Charles, visited the Leadmill in 1988 and described it as “a building well restored”.

In the 1960s, the Leadmill became the Sheffield venue of Gatecrasher before launching its own house night RISE where Sheffield’s-own Arctic Monkeys sold out in 2005, faster than any other band.

More recently in 2017, the venue underwent various renovations including installing a new dance floor and a new mezzanine floor in the back right corner of the main room.

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However, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Leadmill was temporarily closed and auctioned off memorabilia, including signed items to raise money to pay staff their salaries and to secure its future.

During the period of closure, the venue launched a crowdfunding campaign #SaveOurVenues, which aimed to ensure no music venues closed during the pandemic.

The campaign was supported by online gigs such as Billy Bragg’s online concert that raised more than £15,000 for the fund.

In March 2022, the Leadmill announced that it had been served with an eviction notice by landlords Electric Group instructing them to relinquish the business to them in March 2023.

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Electric Group made public their intention to continue the site as a refurbished music venue, however, Leadmill management claimed that it owned the brand and that any new venue on the site could not use the Leadmill name.

The news drew attention from a variety of bands and musicians including Billy Bragg, Kaiser Chiefs, Reverend and the Makers and Manic Street Preachers. A joint letter from Sheffield’s five Labour MPs to former Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries asking for an urgent discussion on how to save the venue.

Now the Battle for the Soul of Sheffield will take to the streets on Monday, September 18, 2023 with a major rally to Save The Leadmill.

The campaign to stop the takeover of The Leadmill will unite music lovers, local residents, and cultural advocates in a show of solidarity.

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The rally will take place at 9am outside Sheffield Town Hall and the public hearing, which will decide the future of The Leadmill, will start at 10am.

The Leadmill will be running a drop-in session to make placards and signs for the rally, the details of which will be posted on the campaign website.

A spokesperson for the Leadmill said: “We’re a team of passionate people who love providing events for Sheffield, and we’re trying to keep The Leadmill running as the venue you know and love whilst also running this campaign.

“We’re working to Save The Leadmill, protect our city’s heritage, and defend our culture, but on 18th September, the decision about this hostile takeover will go to a public hearing, and we need you there — we must show the strength of support for our campaign.

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“Every grassroots supporter counts, so we’re asking you to come to our rally on Monday 18th September at 9:00am outside Sheffield Town Hall. We know it’s a working day, but if you can come even for just one hour, we would be so grateful. Bring your friends, family and signs!

“Tell us you’re coming and get updates by signing up to our campaign.

“We have been overwhelmed by your support so far, but it will take the full strength of this campaign to secure victory and win the Battle for the Soul of Sheffield, so please mark the date, sign up online and bring a friend with you!”

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