The future for a unique community-owned music venue in Tyneside is looking more secure as a result of a grant from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
The Globe in Newcastle – owned and run by the Jazz Co-op – has been awarded £80,000 to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
The £1.57bn fund has been used to support a wide range of cultural organisations across the country. The Globe was one of just 13 music organisations to benefit in the North East.
Despite strict local regulations the Globe is putting on gigs three nights a week that are simultaneously enjoyed by small audiences in the venue and by hundreds more at home via livestream.
“Hybrid audiences are the way forward for live music,” said Dave Parker, co-chair of the cooperative that owns the Globe. “We are demonstrating that a mixed audience of customers at our Covid-aware venue and those at home watching online is actually better than either approach alone.
“According to our customers, the live audience’s responses in the venue and the live chat from those viewing online actually enhance the overall experience for both.”
The Globe has been developing and improving its livestreaming since May. It has streamed from musicians’ homes during lockdown, then from the empty venue and most recently with an audience in the building. The Globe has been refurbished and redecorated, and new sound, light and video equipment has been installed by a team of volunteers.
Now it has a full programme of live concerts embracing rock, classical, folk and jazz arranged until Christmas.
Each gig will have a limited paying audience seated and served at tables in a Covid-controlled environment. However, it will also be professionally streamed online to guests at home who also pay for the experience.
Mr Parker said: “We aim to get the best of both worlds. The audience seated in the venue gets to see the musicians in an intimate but safe environment, while those who live too far away or who would prefer not to travel receive as close to the live gig experience as can be achieved.
“As a community-owned music venue and we must do all we can to protect the physical and mental health of our community. Providing live music certainly helps mental health during difficult times.
“Getting this grant is a huge relief, especially after all the effort so many people have put in to keep the Globe going. When we closed in March we consulted widely with our members and supporters to develop a vision for a post-pandemic future. This formed the basis of our grant application. I specifically want to thank the Music Venues Trust for their lobbying on behalf of grassroots music venues and Co-operatives UK who argued successfully that co-ops should be eligible for the funding.”
Colin Bowman of Cullercoats who has been watching Globe gigs online said: “It’s so good to watch a quality act in a proper ‘venue’ setting. I really forget I am not actually there in the Globe. The sound and vision is so good and the choice of acts is brilliant.
“I’m ‘there’ chatting with my music loving mates and if the beer in my fridge isn’t up to scratch, then that’s my own fault!”