Popular Bristol music venue The Exchange has won it’s fight for survival, after raising £250,000 with their Save the Exchange campaign.
Save the Exchange offers investors the opportunity to buy shares in the venue, making it Bristol’s first community-owned live music venue.
The campaign received a boost on Wednesday, when it received a £10,000 investment from fellow Bristol venue, The Fleece.
“It’s vital that all the local grassroots music venues stick together, because they’re dropping like flies around the country at the moment” said Chris Sharp, owner of The Fleece.
“The Exchange were really supportive with our Save the Fleece campaign a couple of years ago when we had a big problem with developers, so it was the least we could do really.
“We deliberately timed it so we put our investment in about a week before the deadline because we wanted it to set that extra boost of publicity.”
The support of The Fleece saw The Exchange reach their goal with six days to spare.
“Since we put the £10,000 in another £20,000 has come in in the last 24 hours, so it’s worked perfectly.”
ICYMI we have hit our minimum target! However our Community ownership campaign isn’t over! With more investors comes more enthusiasm & ideas – also if we reach £300k we will aim to create a second stage for up & coming bands / diy promoters. Get involves https://t.co/SirZlVOmF2 pic.twitter.com/1KaWP9D2zc
— Exchange Bristol (@exchangebristol) October 25, 2018
We believe local venues should stick together and support each other when times are hard so The Fleece has just invested £10,000 into the @exchangebristol share offer. There are still about 7% of the shares left if anyone wants to get involved:https://t.co/YKSZgjkNJQ
— The Fleece (@FleeceBristol) October 24, 2018
The Exchange will keep the campaign donation page live until October 31st in an effort to raise £300,000. This will go towards building a new DIY space that will further support local bands and artists.
The venue will be community-owned as of January 2019.
Bristol music venues have faced a number of challenges in the last few years. Many, including The Fleece, feared closure due to noise complaints from newly developed flats in the city centre.
In January it was ruled the Agent of Change principle would be written into the National Planning Policy Framework. This makes housing developers responsible for noise complaints and protects live venues.
The support from other venues across Bristol has been invaluable in The Louisiana and Thekla’s fights to remain open.
“We’re friends, we’re not enemies” said Laure Noverraz, band booker at The Louisiana. “We all work towards one goal. That’s supporting grass roots music venues and music in general.”
“Small music venues are a kind of community. It’s the same thing as going to a museum or an art gallery. Going to grass roots venues means you can discover so many great bands before they get famous.”