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BRUCE DICKINSON Laments Britain’s Small Venue Crisis: “It’s Absolutely Shocking”


Iron Maiden‘s frontman Bruce Dickinson recently spoke out about the alarming state of small venues in the UK, describing the situation as “absolutely shocking.” According to the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), nearly 29 pubs are shutting down every week due to various factors including soaring energy costs, staffing issues, dwindling disposable income, and changing consumer behaviors.

During an interview with the Daily Express, Dickinson expressed his concern over the vanishing sense of community in British pubs. He criticized the trend of pubs being transformed into soulless “drinking factories,” devoid of the warmth and character that once defined these social hubs. Dickinson emphasized the importance of small venues, lamenting the fact that once they disappear, they are rarely replaced.

“Pubs are being closed down in a way that’s ignorant. Pubs are either being closed altogether or are being ripped out so that they become a drinking factory, instead of anywhere with a sense of community. They become soulless so that there’s no love or character there anymore.”

“The state of small venues in Britain is absolutely shocking. Once venues go, they’re seldom replaced. When I started, the shows were super cheap. Then, bands would earn their money from their records’ royalties. They don’t now, and live music is the essence of everyone’s existence. We’ve got to the stage where it costs £100 to see even a low-level show.”

Reflecting on the challenges faced by emerging hard rock and heavy metal musicians, Dickinson highlighted the financial struggles exacerbated by the current music industry landscape. With artists receiving minimal compensation from music streaming platforms and live performances becoming increasingly costly for fans, he questioned the sustainability of the prevailing system.

“Artists get paid basically nothing from music streaming, yet the streaming companies still can’t make any money — so nobody is making any money. How this rotten old system still exists, I’ve no idea. It defies gravity.”

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