Blackpool music venue’s struggle after missing out on Covid grant

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The Abingdon Street bar’s application to receive the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) grant was marked as unsuccessful in April

Both Blackpool Constituency MP’s are making representations to The Arts Council England on behalf of The Galleon Bar regarding missing out on the much needed Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) grant.
Both Blackpool Constituency MP’s are making representations to The Arts Council England on behalf of The Galleon Bar regarding missing out on the much needed Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) grant. (Image: The Galleon Bar)

Blackpool MPs have thrown their support behind a popular music venue that is fighting for its survival.

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP and Blackpool South MP Scott Benton are making representations to The Arts Council England on behalf of The Galleon Bar regarding missing out on the much needed Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) grant.

The live music venue on Abingdon Street made a bid to get a much-needed £60,000 out of the government’s £400 million fund however the application was marked unsuccessful in April due to being “over-subscribed”.

Owner and professional musician Stephen Pierre, along with staff and musicians at the venue, have created the ‘Save the Galleon’ campaign after feeling the decision-making process didn’t acknowledge or recognise its disadvantaged trading position.

The interior of the Galleon bar is decorated with instruments and memorabilia donated my supporters within the music industry
The interior of the Galleon bar is decorated with instruments and memorabilia donated my supporters within the music industry

A Facebook post from The Galleon bar said: “This unfair decision was not made by Blackpool Council.

“Blackpool Council have shown their support for The Galleon Bar and administered the local restrictions grants as instructed by central government without delay.

“In stark comparison, the neighbouring grass music roots venue , Bootleg Social (Topping Street) received £121,000 CRF funding from The Arts Council .

“How can this decision possibly be fair if the CRF fund was stated as over subscribed? Considering the scrutiny of public funds , transparency and fair play in society.”

The first Galleon bar was established in 1954 and has since proved itself as a longstanding community asset that has benefited the Blackpool and The Fylde Coast for decades.

Many musicians of all ages have appreciated the grassroots music venue with no other of its kind sponsoring and presenting jazz and blues festivals in Blackpool.

It has also help raise the cultural profile of the town by holding free public events staged on a not for profit basis.

The interior of the bar is adorned with instruments and memorabilia donated by supporters within the music industry.

Music legend and pianist Jools Holland once paid a visit to the Galleon in 2015 and said it was “the best decorated music bar in Europe.”

Blackpool South MP Scott Benton said: “The current situation is that several Blackpool businesses have been granted funding by the Arts Council including the likes of Blackpool’s Grand Theatre, along with others around the UK.

“I was aware that The Galleon live music venue had put in an application and was disappointed to learn that it had got rejected.

“I have therefore decided to make representations to The Arts Council England on behalf of the Galleon for it to take another look at the application.”

The Galleon Bar is encouraging people to send their support to the Arts Council England.

The Galleon bar in Blackpool has been established since 1954
The Galleon bar in Blackpool has been established since 1954

A spokesperson for the Arts Council England said: “While the Culture Recovery Fund is the biggest one-off investment in culture in the nation’s history, the crisis is unprecedented and we regret that not every organisation can be helped at this time. Rightly, the criteria to be awarded a grant are rigorous, but we have been able to support every applicant that met all the criteria.

“We understand that organisations that were unsuccessful will be disappointed and we have published resources both for organisations and individuals, which include alternative sources of support.

“We remain committed to doing all we can to care for the people and organisations that make up this country’s amazing cultural ecology, who do so much to serve communities in towns, villages, and cities across the country.”

LancsLive has approached Blackpool Council for comment.