The BLUE ROOM
ALLNIGHTCLUBS FEATURE #1 - THE BLUE ROOM live music venue, here is our tribute to one of Blackpool's recently closed pubs...
The BLUE ROOM. One of Blackpool's last iconic local band recognized venues, is closed. The last company came in to run it after original boss Roger became ill, an investor got involved and they wanted to keep it as the blue room to keep the dream alive for bands and musicians alike so it reopened with business as usual. So what happened? Allnightclubs delved into the news and interviewed previous managers, bands and customers to find out...
SO many people in blackpool moaned about the blue room shutting, it was such a great place and they all wanted it back and they were all going to get behind it. It had a great reputation. When the syndicate was open and the tache was around the corner it was everybody's starting point and took good money and created the good place that it was, but recently you can see all pubs and clubs suffering with lack of paying customers and this was no different from any other venue. the syndicate closed, the Tache moved, other nearby venues came and went. The crowd was ok but dwindling. People don't pre drink anymore the way they used to, they pre drink at home. everybody used to be out at 7pm but now they blue room gets left out because it was originally a starter bar, people didn't spend all night there, they tried to make it a place you did, but people don't want to be in one place all night anymore, they want variety. A few years ago there was The Royal Oak in Poulton, The Edge, Jenx, The Tache and West Coast Rock Café all putting bands on every week. It seems as though the live music scene has died now the Blue Room has closed.
The Church Street venue has been a part of Blackpool’s pub and music scene for around 150 years. It was originally known as The Stanley Arms, but became colloquially known as the Blue Room around the time it became popular with students. Former tenant Robert Wynne, took the decision to officially name the venue Blue Room in 2000. As well as being the birthplace of the live music careers of some of Blackpool’s best loved bands and musicians – including Rae Morris and Karima Francis – the Blue Room is also, famously, the birthplace of Blackpool FC. Of course, rumours also abound about other escapades to have gone in the venue. Rumour has it that Jimmy Hendrix was barred in the 60s after playing a show at the ABC also.
The blue room had indie bands, rock bands, they held a punk festival this year (2015) in which the venue was packed to the hilt, and there were many local bands that were willing to help and find an audience in the venue by bringing fans and friends in with them when they played. Other bands sometimes didn't get what the blue room was about and brought nobody which didn't help the takings the venue thrived on to stay alive, but they still persevered and kept putting on local talent as much as possible to showcase live music they believed in and loved. Bands have to understand on the small circuit route, the following is small and they have to compliment what the venue promotes and work together to keep the venue alive and keep the bands name alive. otherwise you turn up as a band to an empty room and if you as a band have done nothing and you complain and it's a bit silly. It's a 2-way street and if you expect to be paid as a band you got to help to improve both sides. Some of the best bands locally played here though.... sentom Bombs, The Dots, Jekyll, CSOD, The Atmospherics, Montagu, The colours, The Empress, and not forgetting SOLID STATES that won the 2015 battle of the bands sponsored competion final and picked up a cool £1000 in ther process.
So why did it close again? Simple. Money. Overheads. Lack of help from brewery etc. The blue room was on a fixed lease tied to the brewery. Having to pay for beer at town centre prices off the brewery structures couldnt help if they had to sell a pint at £3.30 when town centre could afford to sell it at £2. Don't get us wrong, business is business, and bigger venues can afford to soak up the lack of custom by offering cheaper drinks to attract business. But the smaller venues? They still have the same rent and need customers to survive. Andy Daubney, who ran the venue from 2008, said: “It was a very hard decision for us to close, but we just could not financially continue anymore, we have put everything we can in making this work.”Mr Daubney said trading was difficult due to the economic downturn and increasing costs, including rent of £60,000 per annum and expensive brewery prices.He added he had approached Enterprise Inns, owner of the building, for support and had some discussions with the company.He said: “We’ve been juggling it for 18 months until we ran out of money. “It came to a point that it didn’t matter what you put on, because of overheads it was just not realistic or manageable.“We asked for assistance and help financially dating back to October 2012 and in April stressed again how urgently this was needed" Nothing happened. So it closed, and eventually reopened with a new management company.Alex the manager and Clare the manageress ended up fighting hard until it closed again, under the same financial restrictions. Clare said "i genuinely loved the place and enjoyed the venue so much, but once again with lack of financial help, we couldn't afford it. We were all officially gutted."
We spoke to a number of customers too. Dan says "The place was amazing, it felt like home. They had so many good bands on and the diversity was awesome" Stacey said "The music, the atmosphere, the closeness of the music was a great pull for me. The air in the place was unique when the live music was on, wether is was one guy with a guitar, or a full rock band". Sure the beer wasn't subsidized and cheap, but everyone we spoke to had nothing but praise for the venue. Andy played there with his band as a drummer "It reminded me of the commitments movie, the gig at the end, electric atmosphere and a close crowd, some of my best gig memories so far are from there",In fact a couple of the recent bands we spoke to that played there in the last 6 months praised manageress Clare for the effort and smile she ran the place with, and Alex's enthusiasm and commitment.
The one thing we have found out for sure, is that people, and the management, loved and believed in the Blue Room and the live music scene. No one can blame the financial situation of people nowadays, lack of money is everywhere, shops are closing all over the place, pubs too. Now musicians and fans of live music fear the closure will spell the end of the alternative scene and opportunities for live local bands. We can all look back at any great venue we once went to, but this we feel is a loss people don't care enough about more than just empty words written as a status on a facebook page without actually going through the door and buying a beer or two which is what the venue needed to stay alive. However this venue will have a good reputation long after the dust settles. Will there be a part 3 and re-open again? Who knows. Will YOU go in occasionally and buy a beer there or watch a band? If the answer is no, then that's probably the reason it would shut again, so don't go complaining after you didn't help a third time. We at allnightclubs say support your local venues that are small. Passing and having one beer won't break the bank and you might actually enjoy the venues....
The Blue Room is now closed. Long live the Blue Room.
Sources: Bpool Gazette, people who managed and worked in the place, band members that played there and customers who danced in the venue.