If you follow the news about venues like Exchange, you’ll discover that they’re closing at a rate of knots. As the 2017 UK Live Music Census found, 'the smaller end of the live music sector is a vital part of the live music ecology, but live music is facing challenges, particularly at the smaller end'. They’re threatened by a variety of challenges. They’re often in inner-city areas which are gentrifying fast, in buildings owned by developers who’d rather have them turned into flats
In Bristol alone at least four live music venues have shut since Exchange opened, whilst another three consider themselves under threat.
The census also found out what anyone who loves live music has known all along: that live music means something. Live music offers possibilities: of transcendence, social bonding, inspiration, unique experiences. It can form a fundamental part of people’s identities, and become woven into our life stories. It relaxes us, surprises us, lifts our mood, takes us places. We can lose ourselves in it. We can find ourselves in it. Live music gives us freedom. And it’s different every time.