Campaigners highlight 'heartbreaking' impact of Covid-19 on Portsmouth's creative industries

CAMPAIGNERS raising awareness for the plight of live music venues fear Portsmouth has much to lose if the government doesn’t step in.

Wednesday, 21st October 2020, 4:23 pm

A group of cyclists, all working for music venues or events companies, travelled around the UK on what was dubbed the Survival Tour.

In each city they visited, they shared photographs of popular music venues, which have been shut in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Their concern is that without further government support, many of these well-loved venues won't be reopening at all.

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Steve Reynolds and Mike Trasmundi of Loud Sound outside the Village Hotel in Portsmouth. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Harry Ford, 31 from London, claimed Portsmouth might not look the same when we reach the other end of the pandemic.

He said: ‘Seeing so many venues that are vital to the worlds of theatre and music, all closed because of coronavirus, has been very emotional for us.

‘All these places in Portsmouth are struggling – people are being made redundant and money from the government is barely paying the bills for them.

The Survival Tour team outside the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea. Picture: Supplied

‘We really wanted to highlight that on our tour because what’s happening to the industry is genuinely heartbreaking.’

Starting in Newcastle, the five riders visited 138 venues across the country, wrapping up in London earlier this week.

The gruelling bike ride was completed in association with the #WeMakeEvents initiative, which is raising money for performers and other members of the arts industry.

It comes amid the government’s recent push of a retraining scheme, with adverts targeting those in the arts who have been affected by the Covid-19 restrictions.

Steve Reynolds, who headed the Survival Tour initiative, said: ‘Having worked in the entertainment and events business for so many years we all felt we had to do something, both to raise awareness to the public, who rarely see us behind the scenes, and inform the government of the impending collapse of this sector, one that has grown year-on-year and is regarded as the best in the world.

‘Most of our friends and colleagues work in this industry, we know their families and they are suffering.

‘In fact, it’s like a big extended family, and we couldn’t stand by and let it just disappear without trying to help.’

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